Dunleavy Leads Early Fundraising for Alaska Governor’s Race – Alaska Public Media News | Region & Cash


Governor Mike Dunleavy and former Justice Department Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom are running as a team for the governor and lieutenant governor in the 2022 election. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

Incumbent Governor Mike Dunleavy has raised more money in the past five months than any other candidate in this year’s Alaska gubernatorial race and is heading into the Aug. 16 primary with more money in his war chest than any other candidate.

Dunleavy, a Republican, reported raising $925,380 between Feb. 2 and July 15, according to new filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, and reported $768,263 in cash on July 15 available after expenses and debts.

Former Governor Bill Walker, who challenged Dunleavy as an independent, raised $831,896 between February 2 and July 15, making it the second highest among the 10 candidates running for governor this year. His campaign reported having $751,299 in cash on hand.

A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that Bill Walker was the leader – see editor’s note at the end of this story for more information.

Democratic nominee Les Gara said he had raised $575,410 and had $655,876 in cash on hand.

All three men want to be among the top four players in the upcoming primary. During the primary, voters are asked to choose a candidate for governor. The four candidates with the most votes will qualify for November’s general election.

In November, voters rank the four finalists in order of preference, and the winner is sworn in for a four-year term.

Charlie Pierce, the mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough who is running for governor as a Republican, reported raising $64,193, while Christopher Kurka, a Republican assemblyman from Wasilla, had raised $12,423. No other contestant reported raising more than $3,000.

Campaign contributions are an indicator of a candidate’s support, but they are not directly related to victory. In 2020, independent US Senate nominee Al Gross raised more money than incumbent Republican Senator Dan Sullivan but lost the general election by more than 12 points.

Some policy observers suggest that the number of contributions, rather than the amount, may be a better indicator of success.

APOC records show that Gara had the most individual contributions and most from Alaska, followed by Dunleavy and Walker in that order.

All three of the top candidates benefited from the removal of Alaska’s cap on political donations.

Gara’s campaign received $16,500 from Robin Brena, the Anchorage attorney who brought the lawsuit that wiped out Alaska’s borders.

Dunleavy received $200,000 from his brother Francis and $100,000 from Bob Penney. Both were key supporters of Dunleavy’s run for governor in 2018. Dunleavy also received $100,000 from Armand Brachman, a Minnesota man whom Dunleavy’s campaign described as a “hunting and fishing dude.”

“As far as we know, he has no business interests in Alaska,” said Andrew Jensen, a spokesman for the Dunleavy campaign.

Walker received three donations totaling $100,000 from people outside of Alaska. One has been attributed to Jason Carroll of Hudson River Trading in New York City, another to Kathy Murdoch of New York City, and the third to Greg Orman, an independent former politician in Kansas.

Orman also donated a $28,500 opinion poll to Walker, making him the former governor’s largest donor. Orman ran unsuccessfully as an independent for the US Senate and governor in Kansas, and has since supported candidates and causes that present alternatives to the traditional Democratic-Republican power structure.

Murdoch is an author, the spouse of James Murdoch, one of the sons of News Corp. co-founder Rupert Murdoch. Kathy and James Murdoch are the founders of the Quadrivium Foundation, which supports efforts to reduce political polarization.

Carroll, initially misidentified by the Walker campaign as a CNN journalist of the same name, is one of the founders of Hudson River Trading, which makes stock trading software.

In the 2018 Alaska governor’s race, third parties spent millions of dollars. Campaign finance disclosures between February 2 and July 15 show no large donations or expenditures by third-party groups in this year’s race.

The Republican Governors Association previously donated $3 million to support Dunleavy’s reelection campaign, but that money has not yet been spent.

Editor’s Note: This article has changed significantly since it was first published. The original version incorrectly stated that Walker had raised more money than Dunleavy, an assessment Dunleavy’s campaign concurred with at the time. The day after the article was published, Gara contacted the author and drew his attention to a calculation error. Alaska campaign financial reporting requirements are different for governors running as individuals and governors running with a lieutenant gubernatorial nominee. Both Gara and Dunleavy added their comrades midway through the financial reporting period, resulting in two separate reports for each campaign. These two reports were incorrectly combined in the original version of this article, resulting in an artificially low contribution total for Gara and Dunleavy. Once corrected, this math showed that Dunleavy had raised more money than Walker, leading to a significant change in the article.

Alaska Beacon is part of States Newsroom, a network of news agencies supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Alaska Beacon maintains editorial independence. If you have any questions, contact the editor, Andrew Kitchenman: info@alaskabeacon.com. Follow Alaska Beacon on Facebook and Twitter.

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