On Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell announced he'd raised $228,000 in the last three months of 2013. Though that's small change compared to what his competitors are bringing in, the lieutenant governor looking to move on to federal office sees an upside: his money is mostly homegrown, raised from Alaskans to send a longtime Alaskan to Washington D.C.
“Nearly 2,000 people have bought into Mead and those are the people who vote. We have Alaskans who are invested in us. They put money in the investment and most people don't throw their investment away,” said Fred Brown, Treadwell's campaign press secretary.
“While outside money for this race will continue to pour into the state, it’s the people who can vote that matter and they are supporting us,” the campaign noted in a campaign update sent via email.
Almost 80 percent of the money came from Alaskans, the Treadwell campaign reported.
Highlighting that fact appears to be a swipe at the anticipated large influx of independent and Outside money for the 2014 election cycle, as the battle for the U.S. Senate heats up. And, more directly, a swipe at Republican candidate Dan Sullivan and incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska's sole Democrat in the state's three-member congressional delegation.
Earlier this month Sullivan announced he'd raised $1.25 million in the last quarter of 2014. Begich has not yet released his fundraising numbers, nor has the third Republican vying for the party's nomination, Joe Miller.
Financial reports aren't due to be released until the end of the month, when candidates are required to file what they've raised and what they've spent with the Federal Election Commission.
Three super PACS, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts, have already formed to back chosen candidates. A group called America's Energy, America's Values is backing Dan Sullivan. Putting Alaska First supports Begich; Freedom's Frontier, Treadwell. These groups are restricted from coordinating directly with the candidates or the candidate's campaigns but are otherwise free to enter the fray.
Until the FEC reports are filed, only the candidates know how much of the money they've raised comes from locals or from Outsiders. Begich's campaign said they'd release fundraising numbers next week. The Miller campaign said it didn't have Miller's available yet, while the Sullivan campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the flow of its fundraising money.
Still, if money matters, Treadwell appears poorly positioned, both for the battle that's heating up for the Republican primary and for the general election in which Republicans hope to unseat Begich. By the end of September, the last required reporting period for the FEC, Begich had $2.4 million cash on hand. Miller had $287,705. Treadwell had $154,000, which would bring his current available cash on hand to $382,000, and that's only if he hasn't spent any money.
While Begich is working to maintain his image as a pro-development Democrat who is “as independent as Alaska,” the Republican candidates are working to outmaneuver each other before they can take their shot at getting Begich's job. Miller is branding himself as a real reformer who won't be beholden to Beltway mindsets. Sullivan is standing on his message as an optimist who can get “big things done” and will bring “new energy” to the office. And Treadwell? He's focused on “bringing decision making home.”
Regardless of where the money comes from or how much is needed to win, Brown, Treadwell's press secretary, is relying on voters to get it right. “It's going to be Alaskans who make a change in the Senate,” he said.
Correction: This story originally identified Fred Brown as the manager of the Treadwell campaign. He is actually the campaign's press secretary. We regret the error.
Contact Jill Burke at jill(at)alaskadispatch.com.