State of the Race: The latest on campaign fundraising by the numbers (Aug. 15)

Update: The initial version of this story and calculations also included 24-hour reports, which are required to be filed by candidates in the run-up to the primary election for any contributions that are more than $250. We got some complaints that this doesn’t paint an accurate picture of current fundraising efforts because it omits any fundraising below that level. For the time, we’ve removed all transactions listed on 24-hour reports from the chart and revisited all the numbers mentioned in the takeaways.

The latest campaign finance reports were due Tuesday, covering fundraising between July 20 through Tuesday.

Candidates raised $711,060 during that time period, bringing the overall candidate fundraising for the 2018 elections to a grand total of $5.2 million. Candidates have so far spent about half of that money and the remaining half is ready to be spent.

Navigating the reports and making comparisons is one of the time-honored traditions of Alaska politicos, and we hope this post will make that a bit easier. At the end of this post, The Midnight Sun has compiled an exhaustive breakdown of all 157 candidates with financial information in the Alaska Public Offices Commission’s database. That post includes not only total fundraising and spending, but also contributions candidates have made to their own campaign, contributions by PAC groups and the total number of individuals who are backing each candidate.

If you find any errors or have any questions, reach me at matt@midnightsunak.com.

Takeaways from the governor’s race:

Mike Dunleavy leads the field for the latest fundraising period, netting $42,598.00 during that time. Democrat Mark Begich came in second with $41,245.79 and Walker followed in third with $40,982.81. Mead Treadwell lagged behind the three front-runners with $22,807.00 raised during that period.

Overall, Walker is still well ahead of the competition with a grand total of $536,610.73 raised through the entire campaign season. He also has significantly more cash on hand than his opponents with an enormous $317,706.34 still in the bank for the remainder of the race. Considering that Begich was a late entrant to the race, his cash on hand is $62,769.36. Begich’s total fundraising is $174,619.48.

Meanwhile, Dunleavy and Treadwell (who are the only front-runner candidates with a contested primary next week) hardly have any cash in the bank. Dunleavy has $20,653.86 remaining of a total of $293,830.05 raised and Treadwell has $5,716.07 remaining out of $130,667.89 raised.

Begich has received the smallest individual contributions at an average of $185 from 756 individuals. Both Dunleavy and Walker have relatively similar average contributions at an average of $252 from 1,159 individuals for Dunleavy, and 2,092 at an average of $243 for Walker. Treadwell’s 396 individual contributors have given an average of $322.

The primary takeaways:

  • Dan Saddler has more cash on hand ($14,014) than Lora Reinbold ($9,328.91) in their primary race for the Eagle River senate seat. Reinbold has raised overall more money, but that’s largely thanks to $32,958 in checks she’s written her own campaign. When you take into account money from the candidates, Saddler’s actually raised more from individuals with $35,895.00 from 155 people. Reinbold’s raised $22,412.85 from 103 individuals.
  • Chris Birch way out ahead of his now-charged Republican primary opponent Bekah Halat with $54,650.00 to her $9,855.11. Also, according to our analysis of the numbers Halat has given her campaign $4,763.20 ($4,000 of which was made in two $2,000 cash transfers) while her family was also collecting food stamps.
  • It’s close between Rep. George Rauscher and former Rep. Jim Colver in the Republican primary for House District 9. Rauscher heads into the final week with $10,954.39 on hand to Colver’s $6,613.00. Constitution candidate-turned-Republican Pamela Goode has $7,131.28 in the bank. Goode is the only one in the primary to have written herself a significant check at $8,466.31 contributed to her own campaign.
  • Gabrielle LeDoux should have her primary on lock if money is any indicator. She’s raised a whopping $106,898.40 in total compared to a running total of $2,770.00 by primary opponent Aaron Weaver. LeDoux is near the top of the list when it comes to contributions from PACs with $38,750 in contributions according to our count. Still, she’s not been resting when it comes to contributions from individuals, either, and that figure is at $63,921.00.
  • Out in Eagle River, the union-endorsed Kelly Merrick and Nancy Dahlstrom both lead the Republican fields in terms of fundraising for their respective seats. Merrick has raised a total of $47,953.06 with $38,703.06 of that coming from 172 individuals and $9,250 coming from groups. Dahlstrom has raised $18,828.63 with $5,000 coming from her own pocketbook, $5,250 coming from groups and $8,578 coming from individuals.
  • Charisse Millett is in a tough primary battle with Josh Revak. They’ve both raised similar numbers overall at $26,960.00 for Millett and $24,655.14 for Revak. Quite a bit of Millett’s money comes from groups, though, putting Revak’s contributions from individuals far higher. He’s raised $24,175.00 from 104 individuals while she’s raised $14,460.00 through individual contributions. That’s not to mention the impact of a $30,000 independent expenditure spend backing Revak. When it comes to cash on hand, Millet’s in trouble. According to her financial report, she’s in the hole by more than $500. Revak, meanwhile, has $12,800 on hand.
  • His own pocketbook has put Clif Groh on top of the fundraising field for the very blue House District 20. He’s given his own campaign $47,603.00 (but taken no group money) on his way to raising a whopping $75,492.31. His contributions from individuals is nearly tied with Elias Rojas at about $27,000 apiece. Zack Fields is the front-runner when it comes to contributions by individuals at $31,893 from 222 people at an average give of $143.67.
  • It’s been pretty competitive in the Republican primary for the south Anchorage House District 26 seat (currently held by Birch) between Albert Fogle ($28,223.08), Joe Riggs ($33,616.30) and Laddie Shaw ($25,489.69). Riggs is out in front thanks to $15,532.30 in contributions he’s given his own campaign.
  • In Juneau, Sarah Hannan is far out ahead of the competition in the Democratic primary for the seat. She’s raised $33,949.68 mostly from individual contributions. If she wins, she’ll face a daunting challenge in the general election where independent Chris Dimond has raised $60,060.33 and currently has $28,794.87 on hand.

Other notes:

  • Democratic Rep. Scott Kawasaki has finally caught up with Republican Sen. Pete Kelly in terms of fundraising. Kawasaki has raised a grand total of $128,551.51 to Kelly’s $124,174.31 thanks in large part to a very strong reporting period. He’s raised $38,058.38 since July 20 while Kelly sat back and raised just $4,700.00 (Kelly’s had another $4,000 come in during 24-hour reports, so the lopsided fundraising may have been a motivator). Both have attracted significant special interest money. Kawasaki’s netted $54,250.00 according to our count and Kelly has received $33,500.00. Kawasaki has more than twice as many individual contributions than Kelly with 608 at an average of $113.98 to Kelly’s 264 at an average of $343.46. Neither have spent significantly and will each go into the general election with some significant cash. Kawasaki has $116,053.56 on hand to Kelly’s $98,355.44.
  • Money continues to pour into Republican Jim Sackett’s race for the quite-liberal House District 4. His total is $50,428.93 to well-liked Democrat Grier Hopkins’ $43,742.11. Hopkins had a stronger 7-day report by about $3,000. The spending and cash on-hand figures paint a different picture, though. Hopkins has been more frugal in his race with a total spend of $11,137.00 that leaves $32,332.00 in the bank. Sackett has spend a lot more at $26,897.38 with $18,961.39 left in the bank.
  • One of the most lopsided races has to go to Democratic Rep. Ivy Spohnholz who’s raised $66,048.09 to Republican challenger Stanley Wright’s $2,115.00.
  • Democratic candidate Liz Snyder has a real war chest going into the general election, where she’ll likely face off against Rep. Lance Pruitt (we say likely because he has a primary challenger). Snyder has raised $34,786.57 from 305 individuals an average of $114.05 and received $6,500.00 in group contributions to total $41,286.57. Meanwhile, Pruitt’s campaign has been much more reliant on big-ticket givers with an average individual contribution of $314.2 from just 60 donors. He’s also drawn about $12,500 in group contributions by our count. His total is $31,317.27.

All the numbers

We’ve grabbed every contribution and expense from the Alaska Public Offices Commission and broken the numbers down into a more easy-to-navigate format below. The numbers in our report are automatically generated from APOC’s transaction database pulled on Aug. 15, 2018 (which means it includes some 24-hour reports).

Candidate money is any money that we could flag as given by a candidate and includes non-monetary contributions. PAC money is any contribution not by the candidate that’s above the individual limit of $500 and any contributions that were listed without a first name (which seems to be the general way of reporting these types of contributions). Individual money is any money not flagged under candidate or PAC money, which is broken down into an average by filtering all contributions down the number of unique contributors by name.

Unfortunately this all results in a spreadsheet that is wider than this website allows to be shown without scrolling. You can scroll left and right to reveal additional fields (by using the bar at the bottom or swiping or using your arrow keys), or visit the full post online.

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