Anchorage Muni conservative candidates file big fundraising reports


Candidates running for local (and statewide) offices had until midnight on Feb. 15 to file their first big cash reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The “year start” reports, showing campaign money raised last year through Feb. 1, give politicos a sense of how strong the campaigns may be. If this year is a sign, the race for Assembly Seat 5 between Stephanie Taylor and Forrest Dunbar is the one to watch most closely.

For conservatives, this report is stunning in that many of the Republican candidate are competitive, and this may be some of the most money ever raised by Anchorage municipal conservatives, outside of a mayor’s race, especially in an off year.

For example, Rick Castillo, a Republican, filed a year start report in 2021 for $16,000 in his race for Assembly. In 2020, Christine Hill, another Republican, posted a year-start report of just under $20,000 for her Assembly race. This year, the conservatives are raising more money than most legislative candidates.

Some year-start fundraising highlights for the Anchorage Municipal Election, which is April 5:

$109,913 – Stephanie Taylor, a Republican challenging Democrat Forrest Dunbar for Assembly District 5.

$167,414 – Forrest Dunbar, Anchorage Assembly District 5 Democrat incumbent.

– Notable is that in 2019, Dunbar reported raising $37,000 for his year-start report. This year’s heftier bankroll indicates Dunbar realizes he has a true contender in Stephanie Taylor, pictured above, who is well-known and respected in the East Anchorage neighborhood. Dunbar has more cash on hand, $144,016 to bring the heat toward the end of the campaign. Union political action committees have poured money in to the Dunbar campaign. Taylor reported having $66,499 on hand before Feb. 1.

$87,245 – Kathy Henslee, a Republican challenging Democrat Meg Zalatel for Assembly District 4.

$50,256 – Anchorage Assembly District 4 Democrat incumbent Meg Zaletel.

– Zaletel recently survived a recall attempt, and spent over $180,000 to prevent being removed from the Assembly. She has $45,000 cash on hand, as of the year-start report, compared to Henslee’s $63,000 cash on hand.

$62,178 – Republican Randy Sulte, challenging liberal incumbent John Weddleton for Assembly District 6.

$57,575 – Liberal Anchorage Assembly District 6 member John Weddleton.

– Not only has Sulte raised more money, he has more cash on hand for this south Anchorage seat.

$37,038 – Republican Liz Vazquez, challenging liberal Kameron Perez-Verdia for Anchorage Assembly District 3.

$70,310 – Liberal Anchorage Assembly District 3 incumbent Kameron Perez-Verdia.

– Perez-Verdia has $54,867 cash on hand, while Vazquez, who entered the race in December, has $32,459 cash on hand for the West Anchorage race.

$57.62 – Democrat Gretchen Wehmhoff, for the Eagle River District 2 seat on the Anchorage Assembly.

$15,362 – Kevin Cross, Republican for the Eagle River District 2 seat on the Anchorage Assembly.

– Notable in this race is that the incumbent, Assemblywoman Crystal Kennedy, is nor running for reelection and that Cross just entered the race on Jan. 10; Wehmhoff also entered late.

$46,378 – Democrat Anchorage School Board Seat A incumbent Margo Bellamy.

$71,726 – Democrat Anchorage School Board Seat B incumbent Kelly Lessens.

$12,308 – Republican Rachel Ries, challenging Anchorage School Board Seat B Democrat Kelly Lessens

The April ballot will feature these candidates:

Anchorage Assembly

District 2 – Seat A – Eagle River/Chugiak

     Cross, Kevin​ – Filed 01/21/2022

     Wehmhoff, Gretchen​ – Filed 01/28/2022

     Stephens, Vanessa​ – Filed 01/27/2022

District 3 – Seat D – West Anchorage

     Perez-Verdia, Kameron​ – Filed 01/24/2022

     Williams, Nial Sherwood​ – Filed 01/14/2022

     Vazquez, Liz​ – Filed 01/27/2022

District 4 – Seat F – Midtown Anchorage

     Zaletel, Meg​ – Filed 01/26/2022

     Henslee, Kathy – Filed 01/18/2022

District 5 – Seat H – East Anchorage

     Taylor, Stephanie – Filed 01/14/2022

     Dunbar, Forrest – Filed 01/18/2022

     Hall, Christopher​ – Filed 01/19/2022

District 6 – Seat J – South Anchorage

     Colbry, Darin – Filed 01/24/2022​​​

     Weddleton, John​ – Filed 01/25/2022

     Sulte, Randy – Filed 01/20/2022​

School Board

School Board Seat A

     Murray, Cliff – Filed 01/20/2022

     Loring, Dan – Filed 01/28/2022

     Bellamy, ​Margo – Filed 01/19/2022 

     Cox, Mark Anthony – Filed 01/24/2022

School Board Seat B

     Lessens, Kelly – Filed 01/14/2022

     Baldwin, Benjamin R. – Filed 01/18/2022

     Darden, Dustin​ – Filed 01/27/2022

     Ries, Rachel – Filed 01/18/2022


  1. And then democrats win ‘cuz the right doesn’t engage in shenanigans or have an active ballot harvesting apparatus. Side note: it’s my opinion that Dunbar lost ‘cuz Anchorage deepstate didn’t want him as mayor.

  2. Suzanne, it will be a miracle to get people off the couch to vote in this upcoming election. It may be asking too much to expect them to be informed. Would it be possible to color code the candidates based on the red-ness and blue-ness of their policy positions, so people with the attention span of a goldfish can get some quick info?
    A democracy or republic requires an informed populace. Baby steps might get the ball rolling.

    • Angry:
      You can do more than you think.
      Get out there and talk to your neighbors/friends. Encourage them to vote. Encourage them to find out who they are voting for, and what they represent. Too many people just vote for the incumbent because it is easier than looking stuff up. That is how the marxist nine keep their seats. Apathy.
      You will be surprised how quickly people will engage. Simply because you say “Hey, want to encourage you to vote in the April Muni elections. And, please take a few seconds to find out how your current representative has been voting before voting.”
      Have used that line, and it generally gets folks asking question. They usually get very interested when I mention the out of control spending on luxury items when the Muni took a $37.7M hit to their non-discretionary budget in 2020. Or the assembly’s dedication to the homeless over the needs of the taxpayers.

  3. I just hope they sent George soros a big thank you. Evil cash for the evil doers. Oath breakers here is a thank you for all you, thank you for showing the rest of us how Not to be like or act like. OATH BREAKERS so help me GOD you swore for the citizens our constitution. Not your bank accounts or personal agenda…k

  4. I realize not all of these candidates are hard-core conservatives, but they can hardly be worse than the likes of Zaletel or Dunbar. We were never going to turn everything around in a single election cycle; and even on a great night, it’s unlikely we’d flip every seat (especially Zaletel’s). So let us be happy that we are at least taking a step in the right direction. It’s a process.

  5. Forrest Dunbar is obviously a racist AND a misogynist, not to automatically stand down against his female black opponent.
    I mean, for radical ‘woke’ leftists like Forrest Dunbar, gender and race are what it is ALL about, right? How DARE he not yield his white privilege here!

    • Exactly. I do not know why every single person in his district is not telling him to reject his white privledge, and let the black woman run unopposed.

  6. Suzanne, we need publications like yours to endorse candidates (and explain your decisions) to help voters coalesce around a SINGLE conservative candidate in each race. There are no runoff elections for assembly or school board, so 3 conservatives running against a single liberal almost guarantees the liberal will win. We can’t afford to leave this one to chance!

  7. Thank you. I am fortunate that I have some disposable income this month and now I have the names of candidates I plan to support with it. Now if only we could get rid of mail out ballots and the insane rank choice ballots.

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