Independent expenditure groups are nearing $8 million spent on Alaska’s state elections, according to reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
That figure lags behind the amount of money spent by this time in the 2014 election by $6.5 million, when a whopping $14.5 million was already spent. Much of that spending, $13.6 million, was spent on the battle over the oil tax referendum.
The biggest target for independent expenditure groups in this election is the Stand for Salmon initiative, which has drawn about $6.4 million in spending ($1.6 million in support and $4.75 against). Unlike the oil referendum, which appeared on the primary ballot, the salmon initiative will appear on the general election ballot so there’s plenty of time for more spending.
Though initiative spending is down compared to the state’s last gubernatorial election year, spending by independent expenditure groups backing individual candidates is way up compared to 2014.
At this point in the race, a grand total of $64,601 was spent on candidate race with a vast majority of that ($48,883.02) spent on opposing the re-election of Gov. Sean Parnell. Like 2018, most of the independent expenditure money that would go to backing a non-Republican candidate for governor has sat idle while the candidates narrow the field.
But that hasn’t slowed the roll on the Republican side of the ticket, where more than $750,000 spent by the confusingly named independent expenditure Dunleavy for Alaska (Dunleavy’s personal campaign is Alaskans for Dunleavy) backing Republican front-runner Mike Dunleavy. That group has largely been funded by Dunleavy’s wealthy brother, Frances Dunleavy ($305,000), and Bob Penney ($250,000).
Outside the money being spent on the governor’s race, independent expenditure money has been limited and narrowly targeted in the state primary races. Here’s the top three targets:
Jim Colver – $22,300.00 by Working Families of Alaska
At the top of the independent expenditure targets for legislative races is former Rep. Jim Colver, who lost his primary election in 2016 to Rep. George Rauscher. Colver’s a relative moderate who during the 2014-2015 legislative session teamed up other moderate Republicans in the Musk Ox Coalition (a term that Colver came up with) in a move that put him on the outs with the conservative party leadership in his district that ultimately endorsed Rauscher.
Now Colver is looking for another shot in the geographically massive district and is facing what appear to be improved chances thanks to a three-way primary featuring Rauscher and the far-right Pamela Goode. Rauscher and Colver were separated by just 122 votes in the 2016 primary. Goode ran in 2016 for the seat as a Constitution Party candidate and got 2,816 votes in the general election against Rauscher.
Josh Revak- $15,242.59 by Let’s Back Revak
Josh Revak is a newcomer to the political scene in his primary challenge against Rep. Charisse Millett. Unlike most of the other legislative candidates targeted by independent expenditure money in the primary, this seat doesn’t appear to carry big implications for the balance of power in the House as there’s no indication that Revak would be caucusing with anyone other than Republicans if elected.
His support by the third-party group, Let’s Back Revak, has been by most accounts more to do with lodge owner Mel Gillis’ dislike of incumbent Republican Rep. Charisse Millett. Gillis has bankrolled the group to the tune of $30,000.
Jason Grenn – $14,000 by Working Families of Alaska
Independent Rep. Jason Grenn was one of a number of progressive victories from 2016 that the union-backed Working Families of Alaska is seeking to defend in 2018. Grenn, along with a handful of other victories in 2016, allowed the formation of the bipartisan coalition in the House. This year, he’ll be facing both a Republican and a Democrat in the general election.
In addition to Grenn and Colver, the Working Families of Alaska is supporting sitting Reps. Dan Ortiz ($11,500), Louise Stutes ($8,000) and Gabrielle LeDoux ($3,000). It’s also put $10,000 behind Nancy Dahlstrom, who’s running in the Republican primary for House District 13 in Eagle River.
|Issue||Total||Supports||Opposes||Who Supports||Who Opposes|
|17FSH2||$6,421,000.63||$1,665,488.39||$4,755,512.24||2018 Stand for Salmon, Sitka Conservation Society, Yes for Salmon, Trout Unlimited – Alaska Program, New Venture Fund||Doyon, Limited, 2018 Stand for Alaska–Vote No on One|
|2018 – Michael J. Dunleavy||$768,494.56||$768,477.85||$16.71||2018 – Dunleavy for Alaska||2018 – Alaskans Against Dunleavy, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii|
|Alaskans for Integrity||$641,228.07||$641,228.07||$0.00||2017 – Alaskans for Integrity, 2018 – Alaskans for Integrity|
|2018 – Mead Treadwell||$37,271.50||$37,271.50||$0.00||2018 – Mead Treadwell For Alaska’s Future|
|2018 – Jim Colver||$22,300.00||$22,300.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska, 2018 – Putting Alaskans First Committee|
|2018 – Scott Hawkins||$20,771.08||$20,771.08||$0.00||2018 – Alaskans for Scott Hawkins|
|2018 – Joshua C. Revak||$15,242.59||$15,242.59||$0.00||2018 – Let’s Back Revak|
|2018 – JASON GRENN||$14,000.00||$14,000.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska|
|2018 – Daniel H Ortiz (Dan)||$11,500.00||$11,500.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska|
|2018 – Nancy Anne Dahlstrom||$10,000.00||$10,000.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska|
|2018 – Louise B Stutes||$8,000.00||$8,000.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska|
|2018 – Gabrielle R LeDoux||$3,000.00||$3,000.00||$0.00||2018 – Working Families of Alaska|
|2018 – Kevin Gerald Meyer||$608.32||$608.32||$0.00||2018 – ALASKANS FOR KEVIN MEYER|
|2018 – Mark Fish||$500.00||$500.00||$0.00||2018 – Mat-Su Libertarians|
|2018 – Peter Gene Kelly||$330.00||$330.00||$0.00||2018 – Alaska Free Market Coalition|
|2018 – Mia Costello||$330.00||$330.00||$0.00||2018 – Alaska Free Market Coalition|
|2018 – Peter A. Micciche||$330.00||$330.00||$0.00||2018 – Alaska Free Market Coalition|
|2018 – Mark Begich||$300.78||$300.78||$0.00||Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii|
|2018 – William Weatherby||$30.00||$30.00||$0.00||2018 – Alaska Republican Party|
|2018 – Bill Walker||$16.71||$0.00||$16.71||Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii|