The fundraising reports for 2019 aren’t due until the middle of February, but that’s not stopping Anchorage Democratic candidate Liz Snyder from celebrating the results of a remarkably strong year.
Snyder raised more than $80,000 last year—a massive haul for a House campaign and an unprecedented amount for fundraising in a non-election year—from more than 500 individual contributors, according to a campaign announcement this morning.
Snyder has filed to run for House District 27, which is currently represented by Dunleavy-friendly Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt. Snyder ran against Pruitt in 2018 and came within 200 votes of unseating him. During that election, Snyder’s final fundraising figure was $82,435.
Since then, in his role as House Minority leader, Pruitt has become closely aligned with Gov. Mike Dunleavy—helping uphold the governor’s widely unpopular vetoes and playing a key role in fracturing the Legislature during the ill-fated Wasilla special session all while his wife worked a communications contract with the administration worth more than $15,000 a month.
Snyder’s campaign is capitalizing on that connection.
“As I watched Pruitt refuse to do his duty as a State Legislator and work with other elected officials across the state to do what’s best for Alaska, I knew it was time to get to work,” said Liz Snyder. “Hundreds of Alaskans across the state agreed, and the support we’ve received has encouraged me to work even harder. Alaskans want a Representative with the experience, drive, and integrity to move our state in a better direction.”
Snyder announced that she would be running again in 2020 shortly after Dunleavy delivered his vetoes and has been actively fundraising and campaigning throughout 2019. Snyder reported raising $35,000 in one fundraiser.
Pruitt has yet to file with the Division of Elections and there’s been rumors that he may not seek re-election, either opting to run for a different seat or potentially pursue the Anchorage mayor’s office in 2021.
“Right now I am focused on best representing my district and leading my caucus through a successful session and will make a decision about how I can best serve Alaskans at a later date,” he told the paper.
Most House races don’t come close to passing the $80,000 mark during the entirety of the race, let alone in the first year of fundraising. Only eight of the 84 House candidates in 2018 raised more than $80,000 heading into the general election day: Rep. Bart LeBon ($104,238), Kathryn Dodge ($118,317), Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux ($138,754), Rep. Ivy Spohnholz ($91,649), Rep. Matt Claman ($109,053), now-former Rep. Paul Seaton ($89,507), now-former Rep. Jason Grenn ($81,608), Rep. Andi Story ($91,294) and Jerry Nankervis ($94,547).
Fundraising limits are also tied to the calendar year, so Snyder will be able to revisit her 2019 donors in 2020.
Why it matters
Snyder represents the Alaska Democratic Party’s best hope at flipping a legislative seat this year. Not only was the 2018 election close, but Pruitt has veered further to the right since then. His smug selfie with an anti-veto protestor isn’t likely to help, either.
If Pruitt ends up seeking re-election, the race will likely serve as a proxy battle for the governor’s popularity and that’s not to mention the recall campaign that is a battle over the governor’s popularity.