In Alaska’s U.S. House race, Sarah Palin leads June fundraising, fueled by out-of-state donations

Between May 23 and June 30, Palin raised more money than any other House candidate

By: - July 18, 2022 3:06 pm
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, now a candidate for U.S. House, is seen Saturday, July 9, 2022, during a campaign rally hosted by former President Donald Trump. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, now a candidate for U.S. House, is seen Saturday, July 9, 2022, during a campaign rally hosted by former President Donald Trump. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

One month before Alaska’s first ranked-choice election, former Gov. Sarah Palin has reported the largest recent fundraising haul among the three candidates seeking to temporarily succeed Congressman Don Young.

In campaign filings due July 15 to the Federal Elections Commission, Palin’s campaign reported raising $203,533 between May 23 and June 30. 

Palin, a Republican, raised more than Democratic candidate Mary Peltola, who reported raising $161,543 during the same period. Fellow Republican candidate Nick Begich III reported raising $82,386 during that period.

All three are candidates in the Aug. 16 special general election that will decide who represents Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives until January, filling the end of the term left incomplete by Young’s death this year. 

In the general election, voters will rank the candidates in order of preference in Alaska’s first-ever ranked-choice election.

All three also are among the candidates competing in the Aug. 16 primary election for U.S. House. In that race, voters will be asked to pick just one candidate, and the four candidates who receive the most votes will advance to the November general election. The winner in November will represent Alaska in the House for two years, starting in January.

Having a large number of campaign contributions does not guarantee victory — independent U.S. Senate challenger Al Gross lost to incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan in 2020 despite raising more money — but the number and size of contributions can indicate momentum or show the candidate’s support base.

Palin received a large number of small contributions through WinRed, the national online Republican fundraising platform, and the vast majority of those contributions came from out of state.

Peltola and Begich each listed more in-state contributors than Palin. Among Begich’s contributors were Alaska state Rep. Laddie Shaw, R-Anchorage, state Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer, Anchorage doctor and community organizer Russell Biggs, and Must Read Alaska publisher Suzanne Downing.

Among Peltola’s in-state contributors were former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and Alaska Constitution drafter Victor Fischer. 

Peltola also received an out-of-state contribution from Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and a large number of donations from ActBlue, the national Democratic online fundraising platform.

Though Palin raised the most money recently, Begich still has by far the most money on hand, reporting $708,250 remaining from a fundraising campaign that began before Young’s death and before Palin or Peltola entered the race. Begich also donated $650,000 to his own campaign, which further boosted his total.

Peltola reported having $115,207 in cash remaining after expenses, and Palin reported having $94,984. Both also reported debts to campaign consultants.

Among candidates who are in the Aug. 16 primary but not the special general election, Republican candidate Tara Sweeney reported raising the most, $45,936.

Sweeney’s candidacy is being supported by a large third-party group, Alaskans for T.A.R.A., which reported $214,200 in contributions between May 23 and June 30. Most of that money came from a handful of Alaska Native corporations and arrived before the June 11 special primary election.

Third-party groups can accept and spend unlimited amounts of money but cannot coordinate with candidates or campaigns.

Americans for Prosperity Action Inc., a national limited-government group, reported backing Begich in late May, before the special primary.

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James Brooks
James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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