Federal Senate candidate Al Gross poured big money, including Outside millions and $1 million from his own pocket, to turn out the Democrat vote for the primary. And it worked — the Democrats turned out via absentee ballot.
With $2.297 million spent to push voting among Democrats, (not including the $1.5 million from the Lincoln Project, or money from the 314 Action committee) he may have succeeded in pulling in an additional 10,000 Democrat ballots, spending over $250 per vote.
This also explains why Congressional candidate Alyse Galvin, running for the Democrats, pulled ahead of Congressman Don Young in overall votes. That is a first. In 2018 when she ran, she only pulled 21,742 votes. Today, she has nearly 50,000, thanks to the absentee ballot push.
The expenditures and their result can be deduced from the numbers posted at the Division of Elections, since about 10,000 more Democrats voted in the primary than they did in 2018.
The percentage of Republican ballots voted this August shows the Democrats surging in turnout, and how MRAK arrives at the 10,000:
- 2020: 53% Republican ballots of 126,409 total ballots cast, 21.49% turnout
- 2018: 63% Republican ballots cast of 115,727 total ballots cast, 20.42% turnout
- 2016 63% Republican ballots cast of 88,817 total ballots cast, 17.22% turnout
- 2014 61% Republican ballots cast of 193,097 total ballots cast, 39.02% turnout
- 2012 65% Republican ballots cast of 125,937 total ballots cast, 25.34% turnout
- 2010 70% Republican ballots cast of 164,047 total ballots cast, 33.65% turnout
- 2008 58% Republican ballots cast of 193,533 total ballots cast, 40.62% turnout
This Democrat outcome, if it holds in November, has strong implications for down-ticket candidates for House and Senate seats in marginal conservative districts.
While Sen. Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young are well-regarded in Alaska among moderates and conservatives, the Democrats across the country are working hard to flip the U.S. Senate and House blue for a sweep of the elections, and these Primary results will help Gross and Galvin raise big dollars from wealthy liberals and political action committees, as the primary result gives them the appearance of being more viable.