Begich, Walker in tight fundraising race
Just a month away from Alaska's 2018 primary election, candidates for governor are unveiling widely anticipated mandatory state reports about their funding.
Campaign staff for Gov. Bill Walker and his Democratic challenger, former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, spoke with KTVA ahead of time about their numbers.
Both candidates say they see Monday's figures for Walker and Begich, reported to the Alaska Public Offices Commission, as a measuring stick for their campaigns. Many political analysts see campaign fundraising as an indicator of what the race will look like -- but actually making an apples-to-apples comparison on Monday's numbers may be more challenging.
Begich entered the race five months later than Walker, filing just before the deadline on June 1. Meanwhile, Walker carried over some money from his 2014 governor's race. Perhaps the closest to an apples-to-apples comparison at this point is to weigh the amount of money each candidate has raised in the same amount of time.
Since entering the race on June 1, Begich has raised over $130,000 in cash and in-kind contributions.
Campaign staff for Walker, who is seeking re-election alongside Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott as an independent, report raising more than $108,000 in contributions in the same time period -- about $25,000 less than Begich.
Begich's lead almost exactly matches the $25,000 he's received in funding from the Alaska Democratic Party, an advantage Walker lacks. Without that money, the candidates are about even in terms of individual donations.
That said, Walker still has a large lead in cash on hand -- more than $337,000 to Begich's nearly $96,000 -- and his campaign says Begich's entry hasn't had much impact yet.
"I was actually concerned that Begich getting into the race might inhibit some of our fundraising, and we just haven't seen that," said John-Henry Heckendorn, director of the Walker-Mallott campaign.
"We've always said our opponents, 'They've been running for the last year plus, but we're going to outwork them,'" Begich said of the numbers. "We feel very good about where we're at right now."
On the Republican side, former lieutenant governor Mead Treadwell and former state senator Mike Dunleavy are also in the race.
In a press release Monday evening, Dunleavy's campaign reported having raised $163,000 since February. By comparison, Walker raised $220,000 since that timeframe.
In total funds, Dunleavy's campaign says he's raised $270,000. Dunleavy's statement didn't include a figure for cash on hand.
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