Campaign reports for those running for state office were due on Monday. They’re commonly called 30 day reports, because the reporting period runs from February 2 and ends July 18, 30 days before the primary race.
Money doesn’t mean everything in politics, but it means a lot, and the numbers so far do give you a sense of the depth and reach of a candidate’s support, and how candidates are spending what they raise.
A few surprises: The money in the governor’s race was interesting (see that story here). But the real shockers were in two Anchorage races—one House and one Senate–where two Democrats substantially outraised the Republican incumbents:
House District 15 — Democrat Laurie Hummel is running for state House in East Anchorage against Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux. Hummel reported a surprising $46,815, including $1,500 of her own money she put in the race, and thousands more in in-kind donations. She also was relatively frugal, spending only $22,818. It leaves her with $27,347 cash on hand. In comparison, LeDoux raised $27,649 and spent $33,203, leaving her with $41,179 cash on hand. Additionally, LeDoux has already placed a substantial House race media buy.
The numbers are all the more surprising because LeDoux is known for her fundraising, and because she has both business and union support. Indeed she received two $1,000 PAC contributions: one from the Alaska State Employees Association and one from ConocoPhillips Alaska Employee PAC.
Most of us knew that Hummel had a strong resume—including being a retired Army colonel—but I hadn’t heard that she was such an able fundraiser.
Senate District K — Many thought that this West Anchorage Senate seat being vacated by Hollis French was Republican Rep. Mia Costello’s for the taking, even though a large chunk of it does skew Democratic and a part of it was one of the few areas in the state where Obama did well in 2012. Costello has a very committed constituency in Sand Lake, and until last session, she appeared to do little to alienate the voters at large. However, her heavy involvement in a minimum wage imbroglio, and her strong support limiting education funding, has apparently turned into gold for her challenger, Democrat Clare Ross, who was initially going to run for the House, but then switched. In the most recent fundraising period, Ross raised a whopping $54,722 to Costello’s $17,824. Further, the IBEW gave Ross $1,000, signaling that the largest union in the state is taking sides. More union money will likely follow. Good news for Cotello: she still has $44,016 cash on hand. Ross spent $39,796 and has $14,925 cash on hand.
Over the months, I’ve seen Ross signs pop up like dandelions all across West Anchorage, and I knew that she was aggressively fundraising, but I didn’t know that she was so good at it.
Other House races of interest
House District 21 — This Turnagain House district seat in Anchorage is currently held by Rep. Lindsey Holmes who is not running again. Two Republicans and one Democrat have filed for the seat. The Republicans running are Anand Dubay and Matt Fagnani. Dubay ran unsuccessfully for the seat in 2012. His background is in information technology and he is a conservative. This is Matt Fagnani’s first bid for elected office. He was recruited to run by the Republican Party establishment, and as expected, has outraised Dubey by a significant amount. Fagani reported $34,905, including $10,000 of his own money that he put in the race. He has $10,749 on hand. Dubey raised $7,228 and has $2,177 cash on hand, after a $5000 debt he owes his own company.
The Democrat, Matt Claman, raised $19,510 and has $28,238 cash on hand.
House District 3 — Redistricting has thrown North Pole incumbent Republican Reps. Doug Isaacson and Tammie Wilson into the same district. The two candidates are very different from one another. Isaacson appears to believe that the role as a government official is to make lives better. Wilson wants government out of people’s lives. So far, Isaacson is winning the fundraising game. He raised $10,566 to Wilson’s $2,551. Isaacson has $710 cash on hand, and Wilson has $1,874 on hand. Don’t count Wilson out of this though. She’s resourceful and tenacious. This very well might be one of the examples where money doesn’t buy elections.
House District 1 — Two Republican challengers are going after Farirbanks Democratic Scott Kawasaki’s seat: Greg Bringhurst and Jomo Stewart. I was told a few months ago the Stewart had the edge, but the fundraising reports belie that. Stewart only raised $2,750 and has about $1,000 cash on hand. Bringhurst raised $14,121 and has $6,000 cash on hand.
Kawasaki raised $14,363, and has only spent $2,980. He has $17,460 cash on hand.
House District 36 — This Ketchikan House seat is opening due to Rep. Peggy Wilson’s retirement. Three Republicans have filed for the seat: Chere Klein, Patti Mackey and Agnes Moran. The winner of the Republican primary will face Dan Ortiz who is not affiliated with any party. I wrote a few months ago that Mackey was the favorite, and I got so much pushback from it that I had to reevaluate. Moran, I learned, has the support of Frank and Nancy Murkowski, which means something down there. Anyway, the fundraising is pretty close. Klein raised $12,548 and has $1,687 left over. Mackey raised $8,072 and has $529 left over. Moran raised $13,785 and has $3,430 cash on hand.
House District 12 — This is the House seat that is being vacated because of Bill Stoltze’s bid for the Senate. Two Republicans have filed: Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman Ron Arvin and Cathy Tilton, a former legislative aide to Rep. Mark Neuman. Tilton has reported $45,612, however $20,000 of that is Tilton’s own money. Arvin reported $24,155, $10,000 of which his own money. Tilton has $16,778 cash on hand, and Arvin has $12,172 on hand. The Republican winner will face Democrat Gretchen Wehmhoff who is Stoltze’s sister-in-law. You can expect this seat, minus some intervention from the Democratic Gods, to stay in Republican hands.
Other Senate races of interest
Senate District F — This is a new Senate seat created by redistricting that spans from Chugiak to Palmer. Republican DeLena Johnson, who is the mayor of Palmer, was an early entrant to the race, and she held her ground even after Rep. Bill Stoltze announced that he was in. And despite pressure to drop out, she’s continued to hang in there. Stoltze has all the advantages in the Republican primary, including fundraising. He raised $36,995, spent $50,109, mostly on media and public relations, and has $30,657 cash on hand. Johnson only reported $9,813, of which $5,450 is money that she put into the campaign. She has $8,317 cash on hand.
Senate District N — This Senate district, encompassing parts of East Anchorage, the Hillside and Girdwood, is one of the most diverse in the state. The incumbent, Cathy Giessel, is considered ultra-conservative and is known to be extremely friendly to oil companies and to business. Her Democratic challenger, Harry Crawford, is a former legislator and a former ironworker from Louisiana. He’s big on unions, and not so much big on the oil industry. He’s said to be a very hard worker, though I haven’t heard too much from him lately. So far, he’s raised $49,935, $5,000 of that is union money. He still has $26,748 cash on hand. Giessel raised $32,060 and has $78,834 cash on hand.
The Three Valley Amigos and their dinero
The three running in this race against Valley incumbents deserve a category unto themselves. Verne Rupright, Roger Purcell and Stephen Jacobson are running as independents against Republican incumbent House members Lynn Gattis, Wes Keller, and Mark Neuman. They were called the “Three Amigos” rather disparagingly. But they embrace the moniker and are having lots of fun with it. Here are the details on the dinero:
—Lynn Gattis reported $17,239, of which $10,000 is her own money. She has $23,151 cash on hand. Rupright raised $3,201, and has $1,667 cash on hand.
—Wes Keller only raised $601, and has $5,916 cash on hand. Roger Purcell raised $2,380 and has $653 cash on hand.
—Mark Neuman raised $3,025 and has $7,071 cash on hand. Stephen Jacobson raised $850 and has $250 cash on hand.
Did I miss anything of particular interest? If so, you too can spend most of your day trying to get on the APOC website, and crunch the numbers. Let me know what you come up with.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org