The campaign to elect Al Gross to the U.S. Senate on Wednesday announced it has raised $9.1 million since July 1.
That would put the Gross campaign at more than $14 million raised throughout the campaign, with about $5 million cash-on-hand when campaign finance reports are filed with the Federal Elections Commission by Oct. 15.
Gross, an independent who has secured the Democratic nomination, is running against Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan to be Alaska’s junior senator. Heading into the summer, Gross, an orthopedic surgeon from Juneau, was a relatively unknown political figure. Over the past couple of months, his campaign has produced numerous campaign commercials, mailers and digital ads.
The Gross campaign did not release third-quarter spending figures Wednesday.
“Fueled by Alaskans' enthusiastic support, we recorded unprecedented numbers of campaign donations this quarter,” Gross campaign spokeswoman Julia Savel said in a statement.
When Sullivan challenged incumbent Mark Begich and won the seat in 2014, Begich raised less than $9 million in the entire two years leading up to the election.
Sullivan’s campaign manager, Matt Shuckerow, didn’t provide updated campaign finance figures, but said Sullivan is being outraised. He said he thinks the burst in fundraising is the result of national Democrats spending money in hopes Alaska could help flip the U.S. Senate to Democratic control.
“We’re being outraised and outspent by a margin of close to 5-to-1,” he said. “This money is not from Alaskans, it’s from liberal Lower 48 donors.”
Since the reporting deadline for the latest quarter of fundraising and spending isn’t for another week, it’s not clear exactly where the money pouring into Gross' campaign is coming from. Savel said the bulk of it is small donations through the Act Blue platform, a campaign donation software commonly used by Democrats, which can be embedded in their campaign website.
She said there are no corporate PAC dollars, and didn’t know about how much came from political PACs, such as those run by Senate Democrats. Those often are funded with corporate donations.
The campaign reported a huge surge in donations after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Three days after her death in September, the campaign reported raising $3 million.
Around half of that sum came from fundraising page “Get Mitch or Die Trying,” run by Crooked Media, a company started by former Obama staffers. They raised $18.5 million in the wake of Ginsburg’s death and divvied the money up among 13 Senate candidates, including Gross.