We know you are thirsty for donation details, so here are some quick hits on things we noticed:
Where Is The Black Gold? — There appears to be far less money flowing into candidate coffers from the oil industry this year. As an example, Armstrong Oil execs gave over $17K to candidates and the Republican Party two years ago. This cycle, they aren’t reported as giving a dime to any current candidates or the Republican Party.
Bob vs. Party — Rep. Bob Herron (D-Bethel) outraised his opponent Zach Fansler $15,000 to $9,400. What is way more telling is the sources of their money. Every cent of Herron’s money came from Herron himself. He didn’t report a single donation from a supporter. Fansler raised two-thirds of his money, about $6,000, directly from the Alaska Democratic Party. That means funding wise, this race is literally Herron vs. the Democratic Party.
The Big Race — The match-up between Sen. Cathy Giessel (R-Anchorage) and AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami looks like it will be as big and bad as we hoped. Giessel has over $129K already in the bank and Beltrami raised over $52K in just a month and a half. Once the primary is over, look for this race to heat up and quickly become the loud, ugly, and unavoidable race of the season.
Colver vs. Rauscher — The hot Republican primary race is Rep. Jim Colver (R-Palmer) vs. conservative challenger George Rauscher. The two appear to be equally matched financially. Both raised about $31K. Colver’s number includes $5K of his own money and plenty of union PAC donations. Rauscher’s report included $8,500 from Republican Party contributions and, interestingly for a candidate running as an “I’ll cut government spending conservative”, he took $1,000 from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Alaska (ABC). They are well known as one of the most aggressive groups for pushing for increased state spending in the capital budget.
The Other PFD Issue — The PFD Voter Registration initiative isn’t the PFD related issue anyone is talking about, but it will deeply impact Alaska elections. Their effort pulled in a healthy $57K this period, including a notable donation of $10K from BP Exploration – Alaska.
Talerico All By Himself — On paper Rep. Dave Talerico (R-Healy) has a primary challenger and two general election opponents. These APOC reports say otherwise. His primary challenger, Ryan Smith didn’t raise a penny, the Democrat Jason Land took in just $271, and the Independent Justin Pratt doesn’t appear to have even filed a report.
Wait What? — Downtown Anchorage Democrat Ed Wesley listed a donation from Jerry Ward. If that is former State Senator Jerry Ward, well, that is…….noteworthy.
Self Funding — Several candidates threw plenty of their own cash in. Hillside candidate Ross Bieling put in over $95K, but only raised $1,600 from 6 donors, including Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Kodiak/Anchorage). By that standard, Rep. Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage) kicked in a comparatively paltry $35K for his Senate campaign. As we have already noted Rep. Bob Herron put in $15K to hold his seat and Downtown Anchorage Senate candidate Ed Wesley put in $9,500 for his race. Many other candidates, too many to list, put $5K or less into their campaigns.
Silly Democrats — Democrat Shirley Cote looks to have an uphill battle in her conservative hillside race against whichever Republican primary combatant–Jennifer Johnston or Ross Bieling–makes it to the general. It would appear someone in the Democratic high command believes she can do it. She received $5K in support from The House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) and a couple thousand more from union PACs .
Gordon vs. Drummond — Speaking of quixotic campaigns. Republican Mike Gordon continues to do all he can to unseat Rep. Harriet Drummond (D-Spenard) from her heavily Democrat leaning district. He raised a healthy $41K this period. That puts him well ahead of Drummond’s $16K raised. The two are closer in cash on hand. Gordon has $42K in the bank compared to Drummond’s $27K.
Crum vs. Hughes — It looks like Rep. Shelley Hughes’ (R-Palmer) effort to move from the House to the Senate has turned into a real race. Stuck in Juneau for regular and endless special sessions, she was only able to raise a little over $14K, $5K of which came from her own pocket. Her most serious opponent, Adam Crum, posted a very respectable $32K, also putting in $5K of his own cash. Hughes will no doubt kick up the fundraising now that she is free, but Crum’s numbers show he is a real threat.
We should also note that the third candidate in this GOP Primary, Steve St. Clair raised $4,200.
Lynn vs. Birch — Incumbent Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Anchorage) is being outraised by challenger Chris Birch. Birch brought in $30K this period bringing his total to $46K for the entire campaign. Lynn only took in $8,600, $7K of which came from union PACs. He has only raised $25K for the campaign. The near complete funding of Lynn’s campaign by unions will no doubt create a juicy opening for Birch to attack Lynn on with Republican primary voters.
Wesley vs. Begich — This Downtown Anchorage Senate primary between Democrats Tom Begich and Ed Wesley may offer the most impressive set of fundraising reports for any one race.
Given his experience and lineage, one would expect Begich to be a skilled fundraiser, and his report shows he is, having raised $54K in just over a month. Mr. Wesley wasn’t bad either, though, bringing in $33K in the same period, though $9500 of that was his.
What stands out about both reports is that they were each able to raise such substantial amounts without taking large chunks from PACs. Both were almost exclusively funded by large bases of individual donors.
Coghill vs. Hopkins — This Fairbanks Senate match-up between incumbent Sen. John Coghill (R-Fairbanks) and former Fairbanks North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins looks like it will be a close one. Hopkins raised $43K. That is pretty darn good. Coghill raised less this period, $22K, but because of active fundraising before the legislative session began, he finishes with $45K cash on hand.
Neither campaign has substantially tapped their PAC money potential yet, so there is plenty of dough still to flow into this race.
We’ll be folding the latest APOC 30-day reports into our race evaluations going forward and will have several articles in the next week on various elements of the reports of from individual candidates and groups.