I have to rant!
When the Arizona Clean Elections initiative was presented to the Arizona voters (I was old enough to vote then) I voted against it. At the time, it seemed somehow wrong that the state would pay for the campaigns of political candidates. I don't remember the exact year.
I have become aware of people who use the clean elections fund and claim that it's a good thing because it levels the playing field next to candidates who "have money behind them."
Below is a page I tore out of the latest Clean Elections publication. It is not a rare thing to see a PARTICIPATING candidate who doesn't even try.
Now, in our own district there are candidates who at least posted a picture and a statement of political position. Granted, for some of those candidates, this publication is the first I have heard of them. Here's the deal. These "candidates" don't have to run a serious campaign. They need to come up with some excuses for how they spent their money; but they still get the money. This year each of these state legislature candidates gets $14,319 just for running (and "participating"). Sounds like a pretty good every-two-years hobby.
There's something wrong with paying people to pretend to run for office.
A candidate needs to have a popular enough message to get people to fork over some cash to get that candidate elected. The candidate needs to be able to organize his/her own fundraisers. These "participating" candidates don't need to (and aren't even permitted to) raise their own money.