Some candidates start their campaigns off with a bang, announcing their candidacy and then immediately traveling around the state on a 24 hour whirlwind tour kicking off their campaign. Other candidates seem to meander to the starting line.
Byron Mallott meandered. Mallott, who is running as a Democrat against Gov. Sean Parnell, first told the media his plans on Sept. 2. On Saturday, more than three weeks later, his campaign has announced a campaign kick-off scheduled for October 16th in Anchorage at the Alaska Experience Theater on 4th Avenue.
Mallott is 70 years old and brings a unique understanding and perspective to both government service and the private sector, as well as to the rural/urban divide that plagues Alaska. At 22, he was the mayor of Yakutat. He was commissioner of the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs under Gov. Bill Egan. He served as mayor of Juneau before becoming the executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund. He was the CEO of Sealaska Corp, president of the Alaska Federation of Natives, and has served on the board of many corporations, including Alaska Airlines and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. He’s clan leader of the KwaashKiKwaan clan of the Raven tribe of Yakutat. His wife Toni is a retired elementary school teacher.
Given his history, reputation, and his ties to Native corporations, the slow start won’t likely impede his fundraising abilities. The primary reason for state candidates seeking statewide office to announce over a year before the election is to raise money . State campaign finance laws allow individuals to give $500 and political action committees, or PACs, $1000 per calendar year. Corporate contributions are prohibited. Total out of state contributions for a gubernatorial candidate is limited to $20,000 per calendar year as well
By announcing in 2013 for the 2014 election cycle, candidates can get financial support from large and out of state donors both this year and next. Given the high costs of a statewide campaign, the low maximum contribution level, and our small population base, every day and every dollar counts.
Just last week alone, Gov. Sean Parnell had three fundraisers, two in Anchorage and one in Fairbanks, rumored to have raised collectively in the neighborhood of $40,000 – $50,000. Mayor Dan Sullivan, who is running for lieutenant governor, had a fundraising event in Palmer attended by almost 100 people.
You can bet that starting soon, Mallott will hit the campaign fund raising circuit hard.
Contact Amanda Coyne at Amandamcoyne(at)yahoo.com