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Walker holds edge in available cash as campaign heats up

July 25, 2018
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FILE--In this May 13, 2018, file photo, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker speaks with reporters after the Alaska Legislature finished its work and ended the extended legislative session in Juneau, Alaska. Walker leads rivals Mead Treadwell, Mark Begich and Mike Dunleavy in available cash as the campaign season heats up. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, file)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker leads his rivals in available cash as the campaign season heats up.

In a filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, Walker reported contributions of more than $220,000 since early February. Walker ended the latest reporting period Friday with about $330,000 available after debts.

Contributions include cash and non-monetary donations. The four major candidates for governor — Walker, Democrat Mark Begich and Republicans Mead Treadwell and Mike Dunleavy — all made non-monetary donations to their respective campaigns.

Begich and Treadwell joined the race June 1.

Since then, Begich reported contributions of more than $130,000, including $25,000 from the Democratic party. Begich, who had about $95,000 on hand, faces no primary opponent.

Treadwell, a former lieutenant governor, reported contributions of more than $110,000, including about $25,000 in personal funds plus other contributions listed as non-monetary. He reported having about $71,000 available.

Dunleavy, a former state senator from Wasilla, reported contributions of more than $160,000 since February. He had the lowest cash on hand of the major gubernatorial candidates, about $43,000.

Dunleavy and Treadwell are the highest-profile Republicans in a crowded GOP field. The primary is Aug. 21.

Walker changed his party affiliation from Republican to undeclared in joining forces with Democrat Byron Mallott as his running mate in 2014. Their so-called unity ticket ran — and won — with Democratic support.

The Alaska Democratic party changed its rules to allow politically unaffiliated candidates to run in its primaries. Walker flirted with doing so but when it became apparent that Begich would run, his campaign said Walker and Mallott would skip the primaries and instead gather signatures to go straight to the general election. Walker said that ensured that he and Mallott would run together.

The campaigns touted their fundraising numbers as they continue to jockey for support.

Begich’s campaign, in a statement, said his numbers were “even more impressive when you consider he held just one fundraising event” since entering the race. Begich is a former U.S. senator and a former mayor of Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage.

Walker said he was humbled by the support that he and Mallott have received.

Treadwell said he was pleased with how his numbers stacked up against Dunleavy’s. “We ended this reporting period with money in the bank to make sure that our campaign infrastructure is covered and also to make sure that we’ve got a way to ... talk with the voters,” Treadwell said in an interview Tuesday.

Brett Huber, Dunleavy’s campaign manager, said Dunleavy has been competitive with the incumbent Walker.

An independent expenditure group, Dunleavy for Alaska, has been active in supporting Dunleavy. Groups have been formed more recently to back Treadwell’s bid.

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