Politics

Murkowski maintains heavy cash advantage in Alaska U.S. Senate race

Candidates

A political action committee supporting Republican Lisa Murkowski’s reelection campaign raised $2.4 million in the last three months, adding to the incumbent senator’s cash advantage over Trump-endorsed GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Friday was the deadline for candidates and PACs to disclose their fundraising numbers to the Federal Election Commission from the second quarter of 2022, from April through June. The U.S. Senate primary election will be held Aug. 16, ahead of the November general election.

Alaskans for L.I.S.A. raised $1.3 million in the first three months of the year, for a total of $3.7 million since the beginning of 2022. Of the $2.4 million raised in the recent quarter, $1.5 million came from Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager who has contributed millions to support Republican Senate candidates.

Murkowski’s own campaign reported raising close to $1.7 million during the reporting period, of which around $1 million came from individuals and the rest from political committees. The campaign spent under $900,000 in the reporting period, leaving her with $6 million in the bank.

Murkowski’s biggest campaign donors were political committees supporting Republican Senate candidates, including the Cornyn Victory Committee, which gave the campaign more than $66,000; the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which gave $46,500; and Team McConnell, which gave $39,600.

Tshibaka’s campaign reported raising $587,000 in the same period. All but $1,000 of that came from individual donors. The campaign spent $475,000, leaving just over $1 million in the bank and $16,000 in debt by the end of the quarter.

The reporting period ended June 30, before former President Donald Trump came to Anchorage to host a rally and fundraiser for Tshibaka and U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin. Tshibaka has said she expects Trump’s visit to boost her campaign.

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The super PAC supporting Tshibaka, Alaska First, reported raising just $300 in the three-month reporting period.

Democrat Pat Chesbro, who is running for U.S. Senate with backing from the Alaska Democratic Party, raised under $38,000 since entering the race in May. Of that, $7,400 came from Chesbro herself. Her campaign has spent $21,000, leaving less than $16,000 in the bank.

Several other candidates are running in the U.S. Senate race; none reported significant fundraising.

In the U.S. House race, campaigns were required to report by Friday fundraising between May 23 — when the last report was due ahead of the special primary election — and June 30.

Palin continues to lead the field in fundraising, with $203,000 raised in the reporting period. Her campaign spent $215,000 in the same period, leaving her with just under $95,000 in the bank. The campaign carries a $40,000 debt, according to the recent report.

Democrat Mary Peltola raised more than $161,000 in the same period. The campaign spent $88,000, leaving $115,000 in the bank, and $10,000 in debt.

Republican candidate Nick Begich raised $82,000. Begich has $708,000 in the bank, after loaning his campaign $650,000 earlier in the race. His supporters include conservative blogger Suzanne Downing, who gave $655, and Rhonda Boyles, who gave $2,000. Boyles and Begich served as the co-chairs of U.S. Rep. Don Young’s reelection campaign in 2020.

Peltola, Palin and Begich will face off in a special U.S. House election in August to determine who will succeed Young in Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat and serve out the rest of his term after his death earlier this year. They are also running for the full two-year term that will begin in January. The later race numbers several other candidates, including Republican Tara Sweeney.

Sweeney raised just under $46,000 in the recent reporting period and has $48,500 in the bank.

Several other candidates are running in the regular U.S. House race. None reported significant fundraising.

The reporting period included all fundraising by candidates ahead of the June 11 special primary. In that period, Al Gross — an independent candidate who dropped out of the race abruptly just days after coming in third in the primary — raised over $160,000 from individual donors. Of those contributions, $3,700 were refunded. Gross retained $67,000 in his campaign account at the end of the reporting period.


Iris Samuels

Iris Samuels is a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News focusing on state politics. She previously covered Montana for The Associated Press and wrote for the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at isamuels@adn.com.

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