Groups advocating state fiscal plan put campaigns on pause
ANCHORAGE — Groups advocating for a long-term state fiscal plan say their work paid off — pointing to the results of Tuesday’s primary election, where voters knocked at least six incumbents out of office. But the groups now say they are scaling back their efforts ahead of November’s general election.
“The coalition has kind of pressed pause for a little while,” explained Sofie Minich, president and CEO of Cook Inlet Region, Incorporated (CIRI), a member of Alaska’s Future — which has been running TV ads since March.”It goes back to getting the best buck for our buying power right now, with the presidential election we see a lot of the media being tied up with that.”
Alaska’s Future and Rasmuson Foundation have each spent $2 million on campaigns to raise awareness about the state’s unprecedented budget shortfall.
“According to our research, voters overwhelmingly said that they were not going to vote for a candidate or an incumbent who did nothing to address the fiscal situation. And I think that what we saw in the primary is a lot of Alaskans making that choice,” said Cassandra Stalzer, Vice President of Communications for Rasmuson Foundation.
The two groups, and a smaller grass-roots campaign known as Our Alaska, are waiting before paying any more into their campaigns.
“There’s a lot of communication between the different campaigns and I think everybody is grasping for what to do next,” said Ian Laing, of Our Alaska. “And we saw through the efforts last year what didn’t work, right, the legislature will not be told what to do, so I think we have to step back and say how else can we interact with the legislature?”
“It’s a matter of money and energy for us,” Laing said. “We spent a ton of energy, just raising about 30 grand and then we went out and put together our campaign pieces, but that drew pretty deeply from the well of volunteer energy.”
All three groups say their interest in the state’s financial future hasn’t waned, but for now, their efforts will wait. Each campaign will re-evaluate its activity this fall.
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