Every election cycle candidates and groups are required to file donation and expenditure disclosures 30 days prior to the election so the public gets to see where their campaign cash is coming from and where it is going.
Candidates don’t have to file anything for the period from the beginning of the year until 30 days prior to the primary election, so this is the first chance we have gauge the campaign activity, viability, and sources of support for many of the campaigns.
The 30-day filing period ended on July 15, but campaigns and groups have until July 18 (Monday) to file their reports. Most wait until the last minute to file, but some already have.
Here are a few things we can already glean from those early filers.
Both political parties target their own incumbents
The Alaska Republican Party has made a big deal of their effort to beat incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Colver in the primary. Their efforts have gone so far that Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock cautioned central committee members last month that a Colver victory would cause the political community to view the Alaska GOP as “a toothless tiger.”
To avoid that, the party appears to be going all out to help Colver’s primary challenger, George Rauscher. Of Rauscher’s $31, 642.25 in donations, $8,500 came from Republican Party committees. When you back out the approximately $4,000 Rauscher has put into the campaign himself, we find a third of Rauscher’s campaign money has come from the Republican Party.
The Alaska GOP isn’t alone in hunting their own. The Alaska Democratic Party’s (ADP) 30-day report shows they are putting money behind efforts to defeat in the primary Democrat incumbents Rep. Ben Nageak of Barrow and Rep. Bob Herron or Bethel. The ADP gave $6,000 each to their challengers Dean Westlake and Zach Fansler, respectively. Those two haven’t filed their reports yet, so we don’t know how much of their campaign that support constitutes, but we’ll keep an eye on that as more disclosures come in.
Don’t feel bad for Colver, he’s getting his
Speaking of Rep. Jim Colver, while the Alaska GOP isn’t showing him any love, it isn’t like he is without support. According to APOC filings he has already been the beneficiary of almost $3,700 in ad buys by the pro-union independent expenditure group Working Families For Alaska and at least $7,000 from labor PACs including Golden Heart PAC, Employees Political Information Committee, Public Safety Employees Association, and Anchorage Central Labor Council PAC.
Colver hasn’t filed his report yet, and since we don’t know what other PACs might have made a contribution, it is impossible to know how much more in the way of labor support Colver might have received.
What we can say at this point is the amount of support he is receiving from labor is greater than the support his opponent, George Rauscher is getting from the Alaska GOP.
Dentists in the game
When you hear about special interests spreading money around Alaska politics you typically expect the words “union”, “oil”, or “alcohol” to pop up. But don’t count out those Machiavellian dentists. They have money and want to play too.
This cycle Dentists of Alaska PAC has already doled out donations of $250 or more to 25 incumbents from both political parties. Most notable are their $1,000 donations to Rep. Steve Thompson, Rep. Lance Pruitt, Rep. Cathy Munoz, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux and lesser donations to Rep. Charisse Millett, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, Rep. Chris Tuck, Rep. Bob Herron, and Rep. Paul Seaton. Those are all potential power players in different house leadership organizations that could emerge after the elections.
Natasha money bags
State Senate candidate Natasha Von Imhof continues to impress with her fundraising efforts. Last year she raised just over $80,000. So far this year she has hauled in another $61,000. That is a grand total of over $140,000. That blows away any other candidate who has filed their report.