Berkowitz leads Anchorage mayoral rivals in March fundraising

Campaign finance reports show Anchorage mayoral candidate Ethan Berkowitz went on a fundraising tear in March, raising more than his three main opponents combined.

The reports also show the biggest overall fundraiser and spender of the campaign, Dan Coffey, has largely depleted his resources trying to secure a spot in a runoff race. The election is Tuesday. Early voting has already started.

Since March 7, Berkowitz has raised $98,020, reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show -- twice as much as Coffey in that same time period, four times as much as Andrew Halcro and five times as much as Amy Demboski. Unlike Halcro and Demboski, Berkowitz has yet to spend any of his own money. The seven-day pre-election campaign reports were due March 31.

Berkowitz's campaign has raised a total of $153,920 since he declared as a candidate Feb. 10. Berkowitz reported spending $78,887 as of Saturday, the majority of it in March. He still had $68,533 cash on hand, making his war chest the most formidable of any candidate heading into the final week of the campaign -- and, if no candidate gets the requisite 45 percent of the vote, a runoff in May.

Berkowitz's disclosure reports reflect rallying support from unions. His campaign contributions include a total of $9,000 from political action committees affiliated with labor unions, including two firefighter unions.

He's received contributions from 920 individual donors overall, according to his campaign.

By contrast, APOC disclosure reports show Coffey has depleted his campaign funds heading into the last week of the race. In his seven-day report, Coffey reported that he was $4,764 in debt as of Saturday. His campaign said he has since made up the difference, and a 24-hour report filed Wednesday shows a contribution of $1,500.


"We're exhausting our resources to win this first round, and then we'll worry about the second round later," Coffey said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Marc Hellenthal, a political consultant working for Coffey, said the campaign is planning to spend the money it has raised, with the goal of making an anticipated runoff election.

"What you don't want is saving resources for the runoff, and then you don't make the runoff," Hellenthal said.

Coffey has spent more than three times as much on the mayoral race as any other candidate, pouring in $325,941 in 18 months, disclosure reports show. On the fundraising front, Coffey fell behind Berkowitz in March, collecting $49,208 in the three-week reporting period.

Andrew Halcro collected $23,630 in contributions over the three-week reporting period, bringing his total campaign income to $127,969. He injected a big infusion of his own cash into his campaign in early March, but didn't report using any of his own money in the most recent filing.

Halcro was heading into the final week of the campaign with $27,970 cash on hand.

Of the four frontrunners, Amy Demboski collected the least in March, raising $18,249. She contributed $1,140 of her own money. She reported $8,771 cash on hand.

Another candidate, Lance Ahern, reported raising $5,457 in the three-week reporting period in March, bringing his total campaign contributions to $7,857.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.