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Gov. Walker beats challengers’ fundraising haul, but two Republicans top six figures

Gov. Bill Walker, with the power of incumbency, led the pack in the gubernatorial candidates' fundraising race, pulling in $277,000 before a reporting deadline earlier this month.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker in 2014 (Loren Holmes / ADN)

Walker, an independent, topped his three leading Republican challengers: Anchorage businessman Scott Hawkins, former state sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla and Nikiski Rep. Mike Chenault.

But Walker's total was substantially below the $407,000 raised by his predecessor, Republican Sean Parnell, over the same time frame in 2014.

Walker's campaign pointed to the combined $432,000 haul between him and the lieutenant governor, Democrat Byron Mallott. It added that figure to another $100,000 the pair raised previously to say they'd collected more than $500,000 combined.

Hawkins, who raised $217,000, wasn't far behind Walker. But nearly all that cash — $200,000 — was his own. He runs a company, Advanced Supply Chain International, that helps oil, gas and mining companies with logistics.

His own contribution, Hawkins said in a brief phone interview Friday, is "indicative of my commitment."

"I want people to know that I'm serious about this and that I'm in it to win," he said.

gubernatorial-candidates-fundraisingDunleavy, who raised $105,000, had the next highest total.

That figure included a $17,500 poll that Dunleavy paid for with his own money. But his campaign pointed to the fact that more than $70,000 came in a six-week span since December, after he resumed his run for governor following treatment for a heart problem.

Mike Dunleavy (Nathaniel Herz / ADN)

That $70,000 came without Dunleavy holding an actual fundraising event, said Brett Huber, Dunleavy's campaign manager.

Chenault, a former state House speaker, raised $33,000. He didn't respond to requests for comment Friday.

Of the five leading lieutenant governor candidates, Mallott raised the most, at $155,000.

Anchorage Republican Sen. Kevin Meyer pulled in $83,000, while former Wasilla Republican Rep. Lynn Gattis raised $42,000, $30,000 of which was her own money.

Republican Edie Grunwald of Palmer, a former human resources director for the Alaska National Guard, also raised $42,000, of which more than $30,000 was her own.

Kodiak Republican Sen. Gary Stevens raised $4,400 for his lieutenant governor campaign; $2,500 was his own money.

Here are a few of the most interesting transactions we noticed:

• Both the governor and lieutenant governor reimbursed the state for political activity they did while on state-paid trips. Alaska law allows state aircraft to be used for "incidental" political activity, as long as the activity is reimbursed and doesn't exceed 10 percent of the use of the aircraft on a single trip.

• The Walker and Mallott campaigns spent $100 on "unity ice cream" — a nod to the fact that Walker was a Republican and Mallott was Democrat before the two merged their campaigns in 2014. "It was a blue flavor and a red flavor swirled together," said Lindsay Hobson, a campaign spokeswoman.

• Several Republican candidates paid a conservative news website, Must Read Alaska, for advertising. Hawkins spent $3,700, former gubernatorial candidate Charlie Huggins spent $3,100 and Grunwald spent $1,500.

• Grunwald is already running radio ads in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

Correction: This story originally identified Charlie Huggins as a former candidate for lieutenant governor. He was running for governor before dropping out of the race.

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