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Miller, Treadwell revving up fundraising for Republican Senate primary race

Alex DeMarban
Republican Senate contenders Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell release figures that show both getting serious about raising money as the primary season marches on. Miller's campaign has scheduled an official launch on Monday. Loren Holmes photo

Republican primary candidate Joe Miller reported bringing in $101,000 in the first three months of the year, a big jump from the $30,000 in contributions his formerly quiet campaign reported in the previous quarter. Miller’s war chest has grown to nearly $300,000, his campaign reported in a fundraising summary.

Miller was not far behind one of his Republican opponents. Lt. Gov Mead Treadwell's campaign announced Friday afternoon that he had hauled in $299,000 in the quarter, but there's an asterisk. Treadwell donated $175,000 of that to himself. Others therefore gave him $124,000. Treadwell's statement noted that 80 percent of the donors came from Alaska. Treadwell's campaign says it has $140,000 cash on hand.

Treadwell said he committed the money to maintain his campaign's momentum. "I truly believe Alaskans value my 40 years of service to the state and will make that a deciding factor when they vote in both the primary and general election," he said in a statement.  

Both Miller and Treadwell are far behind the candidate with the most cash, “Afghan Dan” Sullivan, the U.S. Marine who's served overseas and Alaska's former Natural Resources commissioner. Sullivan raised $2.6 million during the same period, and recently reported having $2 million in his war chest. Whoever wins the primary will face Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November.

Candidate fundraising reports for the first quarter were due April 15 but are not yet publicly available online at the Federal Election Commission.

Miller has been lying low for a while, but he is revving things up. He’s getting out more and has beefed up a staff that’s sending out regular press releases, including one this week that said Alaska Right to Life has endorsed Miller. The executive director of the group, Christopher Kurka, said, “The pro-life position Joe Miller takes isn't merely a common political platitude, but is centered in the core of who he is.”

Miller plans to officially announce his candidacy 6 p.m. Monday at the Wasilla Lake Resort/North Shore Ale House.

“In addition to Joe Miller, featured speakers will include nationally syndicated radio talk show host Lars Larson and vice chairman of the Gun Owners of America Tim Macy. Larson will broadcast his radio program live from the venue,” said another recent press release.      

In the campaign’s latest press release, Miller’s campaign noted that money doesn’t necessarily make politics go round:

“In the 2010 primary election, Miller won the Republican Party nomination against the incumbent senator with approximately $300,000. In mid-July of 2010, about a month from Election Day, the senator reported over $2 million on hand to Miller’s $125,000,” the release said, referring to Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Editor's note: The above report was updated to include fundraising information provided by the Treadwell campaign after initial publication.