The Trail

Pro-Walker union money will now go to attack Dunleavy

4:30 p.m. update: 

Whatever became of that pro-Walker union money once the governor dropped out of the race? It's helping to fuel the attacks on Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy.

The independent expenditure group Unite for Walker – which received donations from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and other unions – has given $255,000 to a group that is funding anti-Dunleavy ads. The Unite For Walker group's total spending from Oct. 22, days after Walker's announcement, to Oct. 26 aimed at opposing a Dunleavy election.

Meantime, the Begich campaign filed its seven-day report showing that the Democratic nominee raised $334,000 between Oct. 6 and Oct. 27. The money comes from about 1,500 individual donors, according to the campaign.

Dunleavy's campaign finance report is due by midnight. The campaign went into the final stretch of the election with about $171,000 cash on hand.

Original post: Targeting Dunleavy, Democratic Governors Association injects $500K into Alaska race

With the election just a week away, get ready for a last-minute wave of those dark-and-stormy attack ads in the Alaska governor's race.


The Democratic Governors Association injected $500,000 into the effort to defeat Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy, according to a 24-hour report filed today. Like the Republican Governors Association — which has reported spending more than $2.7 million in support of Dunleavy as of Oct. 8 — the DGA is an independent expenditure group.

Independent expenditure groups can receive unlimited donations from groups and individuals to target the Alaska race. In any given election cycle, they are often the source of the sharpest attack ads, slamming the opposition party candidate while allowing the group's favored candidate to take the messaging high road if they so choose.

Here's an example of the DGA ad, claiming Dunleavy votes put "criminals on the street." And the RGA money, funneled through a group called Families for Alaska's Future, is helping to pay for ads like this one that portrayed Begich and Gov. Bill Walker as tax-happy job killers.

As of about noon today, APOC employees said they had not received the candidates' seven-day reports, which show how much Alaskans are donating to each campaign. We'll be looking for those by midnight tonight. This blog post will be updated as more info becomes available.

Other notes from recent APOC filings:

• A pro-Begich group has received $100,000 from W. Dean Weidner, chief executive for Weidner Apartment Homes and once described by Bloomberg as "Alaska's hidden billionaire." Begich launched a consulting firm after losing re-election to the U.S. Senate and Weidner's business was one of his clients, according to his financial disclosure. Also donating to the Begich for Alaska independent expenditure group, according to seven-day reports: Actor Ted Danson ($2,500) and the National Education Association's political action committee ($30,000.)

• Families for Alaska's Future, the group receiving RGA money, also received $50,000 this month from the Republican State Leadership Committee and $76,000 from GOPAC.

• The money continues to pour into the Ballot Measure 1 fish fight, with Bass Pro Shops, Stand for Salmon and the Alaska Center contributing about $131,000 on Tuesday in an effort to pass the salmon habitat initiative, according to 24-hour reports. Throughout the month of October, Yes for Salmon – Yes on 1 collected $410,000 in donations.

Having trouble keeping track of all the PACs trying to influence Alaska's election? You're not alone. Here's a list of the independent expenditure groups that we are aware of that are active in the governor's race.


— Alaskans Against Dunleavy

— Alaskans Opposing Dunleavy

— Defeat Dunleavy

— Educators Against Dunleavy


— Dunleavy for Alaska

— Families for Alaska's Future – Dunleavy

— Begich for Alaska

Kyle Hopkins

Kyle Hopkins is special projects editor of the Anchorage Daily News. He was the lead reporter on the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Lawless" project and is part of an ongoing collaboration between the ADN and ProPublica's Local Reporting Network. He joined the ADN in 2004 and was also an editor and investigative reporter at KTUU-TV. Email