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Begich ‘fan club’ starts raising money

Some Alaska Democrat heavyweights have formed an independent group to support the campaign of Mark Begich for governor.

Led by former National Committeewoman for the Alaska Democratic Party Kim Metcalfe of Juneau, the Begich for Alaska group must operate separately from the candidate himself and cannot coordinate activities or messaging.

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So far, it has $100,000 in commitments, but insiders say a huge check is about to arrive from the Democratic Governors Association, now that the primary is over.

Others involved with Begich for Alaska include Walter Featherly, an Anchorage attorney who serves as the group’s treasurer. Featherly is a registered nonpartisan whose practice includes Native law. His involvement in pushing for Begich’s election as governor may indicate a split is developing in the Native community. Both Walker and Begich have Native running mates.

In 2014, Featherly gave the maximum amount allowed by law to the Walker-Mallott campaign. He also ran for House in 2014, for District 28

Sen. Berta Gardner, an Anchorage Democrat, serves as deputy treasurer for Begich for Alaska, along with Kay Brown, the former executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party, and Robin Smith of Anchorage.

All three gubernatorial candidates have separate “independent expenditure groups” working in uncoordinated parallel play with the campaigns.

While the Dunleavy for Alaska Committee has been the most well-funded, with over $750,000 so far, the Unite Alaska for Walker-Mallott committee formed in mid-August, and has major commitments from a group formerly known as the Centrist Project, but now called Unite America.

Fifteen days after forming, however, no sign of life has been detected from the Unite Alaska group, which would have had to file a report with the Alaska Public Offices Commission if it raised money or spent money, within 10 days of the activity.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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