(Note this story has been updated to reflect that the donation from one person for $100,000 was not from a CNN reporter, although the financial report from the Walker campaign says it is.)
The big money is in the Walker for governor race this year. Really big money.
Greg Orman of Kansas wrote a $100,000 check to the campaign of Bill Walker for governor.
Orman, who was previously a Democrat, ran as an independent for U.S. Senate in 2014, losing to Sen. Pat Roberts that year.
Orman also donated an opinion poll to Walker, which was valued at $28,500, for a total of $128,500, making him the biggest single donor to Walker, in the former governor’s quest to become a two-time governor.
Orman is a major dark money player in Unite America, one of the main political operations that brought the controversial Ranked Choice Voting to Alaska with Ballot Measure 2.
Between 2000 and 2018, Orman contributed 20 times to candidates, with 16 of those donations to Democratic candidates, including to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and to Al Franken’s US Senate campaign. One donation was to a Republican candidate in 2010 and three donations went to nonaligned candidates. Orman also donated to the Kansas Democratic State Committee in 2009, according to InfluenceWatch.org.
Then there was Jason Carroll, a New York-based investor. He donated $100,000 to Walker’s campaign.
Kathryn Murdoch also donated $100,000 to Walker’s campaign. She is described by InfluenceWatch.org as a left-leaning political activist and donor to liberal causes. She’s the wife of James Murdoch, the liberal son of News Corporation co-founder Rupert Murdoch. Along with her husband, she is co-founder and president of the Quadrivium Foundation, which funds Unite America.
Murdoch also sits on the board of Unite America. She was formerly the director of strategy and communications for the Clinton Climate Initiative, and donated heavily to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee, InfluenceWatch reports.
Between those three donations, Walker banked in $328,500 for his campaign to retake the Governor’s Office. Those checks represent over 36% of the $831,000 he reported on his 30-day report to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. He had $751,299 cash on hand.
The donation amounts to candidates for Alaska’s public offices have increased after the courts struck down Alaska’s severe contribution limits. Candidates can now accept an unlimited amount, and Walker is proving how it can be done. Many of the donors to Walker’s campaign are coming in with large checks.
Walker’s law partner Robin Brena, for example, who has advocated for higher taxes for years, gave $25,000 to the Walker campaign, while Laura and John Arnold of Houston gave a combined $20,000. The Arnolds run a liberal foundation that focuses on criminal justice reform and strongly backed and advised the failed Alaska experiment in catch-and-release known as SB 91. Walker championed SB 91 and signed it into law; Dunleavy signed a bill that got rid of the Walker crime spree.
The Walker campaign’s 30-day report with APOC can be found at this link.
The report shows he has been frugal with his funds, perhaps saving them for the battle that he will wage after the primary. While he raised over $831,000, he only spent $37,348.
By comparison, Gov. Mike Dunleavy raised $761,669, Dunleavy had few checks larger than $2,500, with the notable large donation coming from his wealthy brother, Frances Dunleavy, for $200,000, and a $100,000 check from Alaska businessman Bob Penney, who backed Dunleavy in his first campaign for governor. Dunleavy’s 30-day report can be found at this link.
Dunleavy has spent more than Walker on his reelection, paying out $713,754 in campaign expenses. His total income has been $1,031,601.92.
Les Gara, the Democrat who is running for governor and is endorsed by the Alaska Democratic Party, reported $939,091 in his 30-day report, mostly from Alaska donors and with no notably large donations, except $16,500 from Robin Brena. He spent $283,215.
Charlie Pierce raised $64,193, and Chris Kurka raised $12,423. None of the other 10 candidates raised any more than $3,000.
The 30-day reports show what the campaigns have raised and spent Feb. 2 through July 15.