There’s no doubt that Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bob Williams is an up-and-comer in Democratic politics in Alaska. A Palmer teacher, Williams is funny, full of energy, and he uses props, like color-coded cups, to try to explain complicated situations, which is only occasionally corny. In early January after a candidate forum, I said that he was a politician to watch, thinking, perhaps that he might do well sometime in the future, after he raised a larger profile and learned how to raise money.
The future, apparently, is now.
According to his most recently campaign disclosure, Williams raised $63,096, about $12,000 more than was reported by Alaska state Sen. Hollis French, who is the other Democratic running for the seat.
Almost all of Williams’ money came from small donors from across the state and the country, many of whom are fellow teachers. Williams spent $8,771 and owes the Democratic Party $13,000 for access to databases, leaving him with $41,324 cash on hand.
French, who has been a legislator since 2003 and who ran for statewide office in 2010, is much more well known and is considered by many to be the heir apparent for the Democratic nomination. He reported raising $51,328. He brought in $22,605 to the campaign, about $8,000 of which are funds from a previous state Senate race. The rest came when he began raising money in August to run for governor. He changed his candidacy to lieutenant governor in October. So far, French has spent $12,233, leaving him with $61,700 cash on hand.
French has given $5,000 to the Democratic party for access to databases, and will pay another $10,000 before the primary He did not list that debt because he has not used all of the services yet, he said.
Political consultant Ivan Moore was impressed with Williams’ haul. “There’s always pressure on the lesser known to kowtow and bow out of the race, but he’s not going anywhere, is he?” Moore said.
Former Democratic candidate for governor and former House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz was also impressed. “He deserves a lot of credit for that. He wants to learn and is willing to work hard and would bring a lot to the ticket,” Berkowitz said.
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CLARIFICATION: This story was changed to clarify when Hollis French raised money.