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GOP Senate candidate Treadwell shakes up campaign

Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Mead Treadwell is making some changes to his campaign. Treadwell announced today that he’s letting go of communications adviser Rick Gorka and campaign manager Adam Jones, both of whom were brought in from the Lower 48.

“I have had to make one of the toughest decisions to this point in our campaign,” Treadwell said in a release announcing the decision.

Peter Christensen, Treadwell’s personal friend and national finance chair, will be the campaign manager for now. “By restructuring our campaign, I know our campaign will be in a stronger position to make Mark Begich a one-term Senator,” Treadwell said.

Spokesman Fred Brown, who is staying on in the campaign, cautioned against reading too much into the decision. “This frees up resources for a few more things and for Mead to get his message out across Alaska,” he said.

Brown said that despite what appears to be a national drumbeat among party leaders and Republican groups to get him to drop out of the race, Treadwell is in it until the end. “Outside people can say whatever they want. They can’t vote. They clearly don’t know Alaska,” Brown said.

Although Treadwell announced early and was, for a while, the heir apparent to take on Begich in the general, he has had a hard time raising money, particularly since former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan entered the race in the Fall.

During his first quarter in the race, Sullivan raised $1.25 million. Last week, he was endorsed by the Club for Growth, which paves the way for a bigger haul.

Treadwell raised only $228,000 in that same fundraising period and $196,000 during the previous three-month period. His last filings show that his campaign debts were greater than his cash on hand.

Treadwell’s campaign has in the past pointed to Sullivan’s national contacts in explaining his fundraising success, and has emphasized that 80 percent of Treadwell’s donations have come from Alaskans.

“We have a committed organization and have committed Alaska supporters across the state,” Brown said.

Sources say that Treadwell has talked about self-financing if it comes to that. Treadwell has reported assets worth from $3.4 million to $7.7 million. His debt ranges from $580,000 to $1.2 million.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com