The fundraising gap between candidates vying for seats on the Anchorage Assembly is wide. Some have brought in a few thousand dollars, while others exceed $70,000 in donations.


Last week, the Alaska Public Offices Commission released candidates’ filings regarding how much their campaigns have received thus far. In the Eagle River-Chugiak race, incumbent Amy Demboski has raised $16,175 — about $7,000 ahead of competitor Nicholas Begich III.


Nearly one-third of Begich’s funds are from his own bank account. However, because he only recently joined the race, political analyst Ivan Moore says Begich poses a threat to Demboski.


“She is gradually coming to the realization, as are other people, that she’s got a competitive race,” said Moore. “There’s going to be a lot of late fundraising in that one, on behalf of both Demboski and Begich.”


Moore said the most important factor in winning an election is fundraising, which he explained is because it allows for name recognition.


“If people have never heard of you, there’s one thing for sure: They’re not going to vote for you,” Moore said.


In most cases, the candidate with the greatest spending ability wins, according to Moore. He said those candidates can invest more in advertising, like yard signs and radio ads.


“If you’ve got lots of money, [by getting] your name out there, you stand a much better chance of winning a race — for any office — than the person you’re running against,” Moore said.


Spending is highest in the competitive West Anchorage race, where each candidate has raised at least $50,000, with candidate Eric Croft at the top of the heap with $74,113.


For most candidates, the vast majority of donations come in small amounts from individuals. But in other cases, organizations and unions like the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association, donate to candidates.


Wherever the money comes from, Moore says, it’s likely the biggest force in politics.


“Money wins. That’s the bottom line,” he said.