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Walker has early fundraising edge in Alaska governor’s race

February 16, 2018

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2017 file photo, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, left, and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, center, smile as they complete paperwork to see re-election at the state Division of Elections in Juneau, Alaska. Alaska Gov. Bill Walker holds an early fundraising edge in his bid for re-election this year. Records filed with the state show Walker had about $50,000 in carry-over campaign cash and raised another roughly $275,000 since last February. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker holds an early fundraising edge in his bid for re-election this year.

Records filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show that Walker had about $50,000 in carry-over campaign cash and raised another roughly $275,000 since last February. At the end of the reporting period, Feb. 1, he had about $280,000 on hand.

Lindsay Hobson, a Walker campaign spokeswoman, said the campaign expects the race to draw attention from outside groups.

The Republican Governors Association already has taken jabs at Walker and his record. A spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

Walker is a former Republican who was elected in 2014 as independent, with backing from Democrats. He ran as part of a so-called unity ticket with Democrat Byron Mallott, who was elected lieutenant governor.

Walker and Mallott plan to seek re-election this year by bypassing the traditional primary process and gathering signatures to qualify for the general election.

The primaries will decide the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Tickets are allowed to join assets after the primary.

On the Republican side, former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla reported raising about $105,000 from mid-June until Feb. 1. He ended the reporting period with nearly $75,000 available.

Dunleavy resigned from the Senate last month to focus on the campaign. Under state law, his seat must be filled with another Republican, but Walker and the GOP have clashed over who that should be.

An independent expenditure group also has been formed to support the conservative Dunleavy.

Businessman Scott Hawkins has largely bankrolled his gubernatorial campaign, according to his disclosures, contributing $200,000 of the more than $215,000 raised since last September.

Rep. Mike Chenault of Nikiski, who once served as House speaker, raised just over $30,000 since September.

Hawkins and Chenault have not yet formally filed as candidates with the Division of Elections.

Two other Republican candidates have reported minimal contributions.

The deadline for candidates to file for the August primary is June 1.

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