Democrat Ethan Berkowitz has more campaign money to spend than incumbent Republican Congressman Don Young going into the final weeks of the campaign. But Young isn't burning what campaign cash he does have on lawyers anymore, leaving any investigation-related expenses to his legal defense fund.
In Alaska's U.S. Senate race, Democrat Mark Begich had some Hollywood help as he out-raised Republican Sen. Ted Stevens more than two-and-a-half to one in the most recent reporting period. Begich brought in $1.3 million between Aug. 7 and Sept. 30.
But Stevens still has a bigger overall campaign war chest left to spend in the final sprint before the election on Nov. 4.
Begich had hefty out-of-state support. His 4,700 donors in August and September included actors Danny DeVito, Will Forte and Sam Waterston, as well as actresses Calista Flockhart, Elisabeth Shue, Justine Bateman and Sally Field.
The U.S. House race between Young and Berkowitz is on a tighter budget, although Berkowitz did get donations from Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson.
The campaign finance reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission show Young, Alaska's lone member of the U.S. House since 1973, reported $275,000 in campaign cash in the bank. Berkowitz far out-raised Young, $521,270 to $131,486, during August and September
Berkowitz reported $383,842 campaign cash on hand, after ads and other expenses.
"We're thrilled with this," said Berkowitz campaign spokesman David Shurtleff. "I hate to keep coming back to the word change, but I think that's really what people want right now."
Young spokesman Mike Anderson said the congressman won the Republican primary despite being heavily outspent by the combined forces of Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and Parnell's supporters in the Washington, D.C., group Club for Growth.
"Would we like to have more money? Absolutely ... but that being said, it's not something that we are worried about. We're going after the vote and we've learned to go after the vote on the kind of money and the kind of budget we've had," Anderson said.
Anderson said about $82,000 of the $131,486 Young raised in August and September came from out of state. That includes money from political action committees representing transportation interests such as American Airlines, the American Pilots' Association and BSNF railroad. Young is on the transportation committee.
The Berkowitz campaign said 59 percent of its money has come from Alaskans since the campaign started His recent out-of-state money includes union political action committees and cash through the online Democratic fundraising site ActBlue.
Young has previously spent more than $1 million of campaign contributions on legal fees related to a Justice Department investigation that has included a look at his fundraising. But he hasn't reported spending campaign funds on such expenses since July. Young has a separate legal defense fund, and its donations and spending have to be disclosed at the end of October.
Stevens, who is on trial on charges of failing to disclose gifts, has never reported spending any campaign money on his legal fees. Stevens has refused to say where he's getting the money for his lawyers. He established a legal defense fund of his own but donors to it don't have to be disclosed until Jan. 15.
Stevens reported raising just more than $490,000 in campaign contributions during August and September. Stevens' spokesman, Aaron Saunders, said the vast majority of the senator's campaign contributions in August and September were from Alaska. That's a switch, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which found Stevens has raised most of his total campaign money out of state. Stevens reported over $1.2 million cash on hand for the closing weeks.
Begich reported raising $1.3 million in that fundraising period from Aug. 7 to Sept. 30. The campaign said just $355,000 of that money came from Alaskans. But Begich spokeswoman Julie Hasquet said the campaign had double the number of total Alaskan contributors than Stevens reported during the period.
The Begich campaign, after expenses, was left with $778,961 in the bank on the first of October.
Find Sean Cockerham online at adn.com/contact/scockerham or call him at 257-4344.