On Friday the Alaska Democratic Party put out a press release about the number of Alaskans who contributed to U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s campaign. The Dems, quoting the Alaska Dispatch, said that Sullivan’s fourth-quarter FEC report shows that he only had 130 Alaska contributors. This is evidence, they say, of Sullivan’s tepid support in this state. Sullivan’s from Ohio, and has been back and forth from Alaska to D.C. since 1997, and his challengers have been trying to paint him as a carpetbagger.
Raising nearly $1.3 million, Sullivan leads the money race among the GOP primary-race contenders, and although he doesn’t have as much money on hand, he outraised incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, who raised about $850,000 during the last quarter. Although the percentages of total funds raised inside and outside the state were about the same for both, the release pointed out that Begich had more than 1,100 Alaska contributions during the same period.
The truth, however, is more complicated. According to his campaign, Sullivan actually had 320 Alaska donors, but because unlike Begich, the campaign didn’t list donors who gave less than
$250 $200, those people don’t show on the FEC report.
Too, Sullivan doesn’t have nearly the same name recognition as does Begich and entered the race two weeks into the filing period.
Still 320 Alaskan donations is a small number, and the campaign needs to be more effective in reaching out to Alaskans if it wants to be competitive against Begich. From what I can tell so far, Sullivan’s campaign is still focusing its attention on attracting large, out-of-state donors. It’s only released one web-based ad and doesn’t appear to be as acitve soliciting Alaska donors as his competitors.
Begich, in the meantime, is aggressively sending out numerous fundraising appeals. Additionally, his campaign has aired several radio ads, and third-party groups, including the National Association of Realtors, the American Chemistry Council, and Bristol Bay Native Corp., are airing ads thanking Begich for his support.
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