There are 30 days left in the initial campaign for Congress — when the temporary congressional representative will be chosen. It’s a time when money has to be well spent by the campaigns, and money has to continue to roll in.
In a look at the latest Federal Elections Commission reports, candidate Sarah Palin was down to $54,000 in her campaign bank account after subtracting the $40,000 debt her campaign has on the books in her race for Congress.
Palin raised over $203,000 in the reporting period, yet nearly half of the money she raised is being skimmed off by the fundraising mills she uses to raise the funds, leaving her with little to work with. With her fame, she doesn’t require as much, however; a little publicity goes a long ways for Sarah Palin. Most of her campaign is “earned media,” which is to say she is famous and people write about her.
Palin averaged $119 per donation during the period and the vast majority of her funds are coming from out of state.
Palin spent $213,000 during the reporting period, with more than $95,000 paid out to the fundraising mills. These companies can charge campaigns up to 75% of the money raised for candidates for the use of their lists and their technology systems for raising campaign cash.
In Palin’s case, it appears the cost of raising money is at least 50%: More than $45,000 was spent for list rentals from Conservative Connections, over $35,000 paid to Red Spark Strategies, a fundraising company, $7,763 to Templar Baker Group for donor prospecting, and nearly $7,700 to WinRed, the fundraising platform for conservatives, for a total of more than $95,000 in fundraising fees that are trackable to this purpose.
Nick Begich, also a Republican running for Congress, raised about $82,386 during the period and ended up with $708,000; he had loaned his campaign $650,000 last winter. More than 93% of his donors are Alaskans, the Federal Elections Commission report shows. The average donation was $260.
Nick has been conservative in how he has spent his campaign cash; one of his largest expenses is travel, as he crisscrosses the state to meet Alaskans one on one. He has no significant campaign debt and has $708,250 cash on hand for the final 30 days of the special election.
As for the Democrat in the race, Mary Peltola raised more than $161,000 for the reporting period and spent $88,000. She has $10,000 in debt, which leaves her with $105,000 to work with in her quest for Congress. Notable donors on her list are U.S. Interior Sec. Deb Haaland, who gave $200, former Anchorage School Superintendent Carol Comeau of Bellevue, Wash., who donated $500.
The largest donor to the Peltola campaign for Congress is Alice Rogoff, (former publisher of the Anchorage Daily News) for $2,900. The average donation to Peltola was $419.
Reports to the Federal Elections Commission were due Friday and show fundraising and expenditures that took place between May 23 and June 30.
Peltola, Palin and Begich will appear on the special general election ballot, which will be a ranked choice ballot, on Aug. 16. The fourth placeholder, Al Gross, suddenly dropped out in June, even though he had a significant chunk of campaign cash.
The winner will be sworn in to fill out the term of the late Congressman Don Young, who died March 18. On the other side of the ballot will be a “pick one primary” to choose the top four for the November ballot, which will decide who is sworn in for Congress in January.