Murkowski retains big cash advantage in U.S. Senate race in Alaska

A political action committee supporting Republican Lisa Murkowski’s re-election campaign has raised $2.4 million over the past three months, adding to the incumbent senator’s cash advantage over the Trump-endorsed GOP challenger, Kelly Tshibaka.

Friday was the deadline for candidates and PACs to disclose their fundraising numbers to the Federal Election Commission beginning in the second quarter of 2022, April through June. The US Senate primary election will take place on August 16, ahead of the November general election.

Alaskans for LISA raised $1.3 million in the first three months of the year, for a total of $3.7 million since the start of 2022. $2.4 million raised in the last quarter, $1.5 million came from Kenneth Griffin, a hedge fund manager who has contributed millions support Republican Senate candidates.

Murkowski’s own campaign reported raising nearly $1.7 million during the reporting period, of which about $1 million came from individuals and the rest from political committees. The campaign spent less than $900,000 during the reporting period, leaving it with $6 million in the bank.

Murkowski’s biggest campaign donors were political committees supporting Republican Senate candidates, including the Cornyn Victory Committee, which gave the campaign more than $66,000; the National Republican Senate Committee, which donated $46,500; and Team McConnell, who donated $39,600.

The Tshibaka campaign reported raising $587,000 in the same period. All but $1,000 of that sum came from individual donors. The campaign spent $475,000, leaving just over $1 million in the bank and $16,000 in debt at the end of the quarter.

The qualifying period ended on June 30, before former President Donald Trump came to Anchorage to hold a rally and fundraiser for Tshibaka and US House candidate Sarah Palin. Tshibaka said she expects Trump’s visit to boost her campaign.

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The super PAC supporting Tshibaka, Alaska First, said it raised just $300 during the three-month reporting period.

Democrat Pat Chesbro, candidate for the United States Senate with the support of the Democratic Party of Alaska, raised less than $38,000 since entering the race in May. Of that amount, $7,400 came from Chesbro itself. His campaign spent $21,000, leaving less than $16,000 in the bank.

Several other candidates are in the running for the US Senate; none reported significant fundraising.

In the US House race, campaigns were required to report before the Friday fundraiser between May 23 – when the last report was due before the special primary election – and June 30.

Palin continues to be the fundraising leader, with $203,000 raised within the reporting period. His campaign spent $215,000 during the same period, leaving him with just under $95,000 in the bank. The campaign carries a debt of $40,000, according to the recent report.

Democrat Mary Peltola raised more than $161,000 during the same period. The campaign spent $88,000, leaving $115,000 in the bank and $10,000 in debt.

Republican candidate Nick Begich raised $82,000. Begich has $708,000 in the bank, having loaned his campaign $650,000 earlier in the race. Her supporters include conservative blogger Suzanne Downing, who donated $655, and Rhonda Boyles, who donated $2,000. Boyles and Begich served as co-chairs of U.S. Representative Don Young’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Peltola, Palin and Begich will face off in a special U.S. House election in August to determine who will succeed Young in the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska and serve out the rest of his term after his death earlier this year. They are also running for the full two-year term which begins in January. The latest race has several other candidates, including Republican Tara Sweeney.

Sweeney raised just under $46,000 in the last reporting period and has $48,500 in the bank.

Several other candidates are vying in the regular US House race. None reported significant fundraising.

The reporting period included all candidate fundraising before the June 11 special primary. During that time, Al Gross — an independent candidate who abruptly dropped out of the race just days after finishing third in the primary — has raised more than $160,000 from individual donors. Of these contributions, $3,700 has been repaid. Gross kept $67,000 in his campaign account at the end of the reporting period.

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