Campaign financial reports required to be filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) 30 days prior to Anchorage’s election day tell two stories: which campaigns are for real and which political party is most energized.
The 30-day reports, which had to be filed by midnight last night, are a good barometer of which campaigns are contenders and which are pretenders because these are the first fundraising reports after the municipal candidate filing deadline on February 10. The reports represent the first donation period when the donor class, political parties and interest groups, and political activists were able to select which campaigns they wanted to get behind while knowing exactly what the ballot on April 4 will look like.
With that in mind, several campaigns showed fundraising during the reporting period disappointing enough to make me wonder how legit their campaigns really are. Those include Chris Cox ($275) and David Dunsmore ($1,810) in the Downtown district, Marcus Sanders ($720) in Midtown, and David Nees ($1,200) in West Anchorage.
Surprisingly, John Brassell, running against former Assemblyman and state Senator and fellow conservative Fred Dyson and Democrat Gretchen Wehmhoff for the Chugiak/Eagle River assembly seat raised just $1,625. Dyson raised almost four times as much at $6,405.75 — thought $2,000 of that came from Dyson himself — and Wehmhoff outdid Brassell by almost $1,000, coming in at $2,609.99.
Overall, Anchorage’s political left appears to be much more active in its financial support of candidates. During the 30-day reporting period, the top four Assembly fundraisers were all left-leaning candidates: Felix Rivera ($18,435) in Midtown, Chris Constant ($15,547.29) Downtown, incumbent East Anchorage Assemblyman Pete Petersen at $10,595, and South Anchorage candidate Suzanne LaFrance came in at $9,919.99.
Two conservative candidates showed enough fundraising to indicate they plan on running real campaigns: Don Jones ($8,325.28 — $5,500 of which is his own money) in East Anchorage and Albert Fogle in South Anchorage ($7,345.50).
Longtime fixture in local conservative politics Don Smith, who is running for the Midtown Assembly seat, came in at just $3,290. That has to be a disappointing number for someone as well known and experienced in fundraising as Smith.
Overall, lefties are either running far more organized and aggressive fundraising operations or their base is just far more energized right now. My guess is the truth is a blend of both, but if the fundraising is an indication of which base is more engaged in the election, then April 4 could be a very bad day for conservatives hoping to make headway toward retaking control of local government.