Walker/Mallott lead in early fundraising, while most Dunleavy money is beyond his control

The first financial reports on the governor's race are out. Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Bryon Mallott lead the field with about $440,000 on hand for their re-election campaigns, while Scott Hawkins has dumped $200,000 of his own money into his campaign and Mike Dunleavy's major financial backing has gone to an independent group that he is not supposed to have any connection with. 

Meanwhile, the big money for this election is going to Stand For Alaska, a group formed to fight the salmon initiative. ConocoPhillips gave $250,000, Donlin Gold gave $200,000, the Pebble Partnership gave $200,000, the Hecla Mining Co. gave $200,000, Kinross Gold gave $200,000, Usibelli Coal Mine gave $18,000, the owners of the Pogo Mine gave $200,000, the Alaska Oil and Gas Association gave $23,000 in non-monetary contributions. 

Yes for Salmon , which will argue for the initiative, reported $425,000 in income as of this week. The Alaska Conservation Foundation and the Alaska Center are among its main backers, while John Childs of Vero Beach, Fla. gave $100,000 and Michael Kowalski of Kinnelon, N.J. gave $50,000. The group spent a big chunk of its early money to gather about 50,000 signatures. Here is a summary of  the measure.

The fight over whether the initiative will be on the ballot is now under appeal in the courts. 

The first Alaska Public Offices Commission reports for the year had to be filed Thursday. Walker reported about $277,000 in contributions, while Mallott collected $154,000. The joint campaign also includes $100,000 raised after the 2014 election.

Former Sen. Mike Dunleavy reported raising $105,000 in his quest for the Republican nomination, while businessman Scott Hawkins has provided $200,000 of his own money for his campaign and raised $17,000. Dunleavy has $74,000 cash on hand, while Hawkins has $184,000.

Rep. Mike Chenault raised $32,000. He spent about $16,000 and has only $21,000 in cash, which is not enough to be competitive in the governor's race. Former Sen. Charlie Huggins, who has dropped out of the race, raised $38,000.

Dunleavy's $105,000 in reported income is overstated because that number includes $17,500 in "non monetary polling" that he contributed last June. On his list of expenditures, he lists himself as the vendor and says the $17,500 was for polling and legal services from Dittman Research.

In  Dunleavy's case, the APOC statements serve as a reminder that the dividing lines between independent groups and campaign organizations are not at all logical or as clear as they should be, a result of our muddled state and federal campaign laws.

Unlimited contributions are permitted to groups that are supposed to be independent, though they are often indistinguishable from campaign organizations. The supposedly independent Dunleavy group is paying for the TV campaign ads boosting him for governor.

Dittman Research, owned by Matt Larkin, is also providing $23,250 worth of "non-monetary" contributions in the way of staff time for Dunleavy for Alaska, the independent group that received $100,000 from Dunleavy's brother Francis in Texas.

Dunleavy for Alaska has now reports total contributions of $273,000, including $100,000 from Alaska real estate investor Bob Penney and $50,000 from Josh Pepperd, president of Davis Constructors & Engineers.

The group has said it had $560,000 in total pledges lined up for the campaign, nearly $300,000 more than it has reported to the APOC so far. In addition to buying ads, the independent group has given $1,000 directly to the Dunleavy campaign, the maximum allowed by state law.Among the lieutenant governor candidates, Sen. Kevin Meyer reported raising $83,000 and has about $72,000 cash on hand, while former Rep. Lynn Gattis and Edie Grunwald both raised $42,000, with each one chipping in a about $30,000 of their own money. Sen. Gary Stevens contributed $2,500 to his campaign, the bulk of his account to date.

Dermot ColeComment