Follow the money: Where the cash comes from, and where it’s going in the race for Congress

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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.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Oh how gross. Alice Rogoff needs to stay out of Alaska politics. Her contribution just killed Peltola’s chances. Dirty money, just like she backed dirty old man Byron Mallott and Bill Walker.

    • Please do, Mark. “Congressman Begich” rolls off the tongue so much smoother than “Congresswoman Palin.”

      • There it is, T-man. Brilliant point. We should vote for the candidate whose name rolls off the tongue the best. The beauty of this comment board is it’s high level of intellectual discourse. So satisfying.

    • Mark, consider this:
      Would you rather be represented by Alice Rogoff….ooops I mean Mary Peltola or either Begich or Palin?
      Rank the Red!!

  2. So if Palin loaned her campaign $650,000 tomorrow she would have $704,000 in cash on hand.
    What’s your point?

    • What’s even funnier is her coverage of the campaigns does not seem slanted. It is pretty fair and balanced, despite her donation to one candidate over another.

  3. I will just say this Suzanne. Palin isn’t perfect but I still believe she is the best candidate for the position for one reason. She has the trust of Donald J. Trump! There is a reason Trump has stood behind her and not Begich. He is not a stupid man and there is a reason he refuses to support Nick! I believe Nick is an establishment Republican, meaning he will join the swamp gleefully to the detriment of America First and continue the swamps RINO legacy of betraying the people who put him there. There is a reason the Alaska Republican Party was so quick to get behind Nick, which usually means there was spit exchanged and promises made. Promises that will grease the pockets of some and leave the rest of us behind. I hope I’m wrong, but I trust Trump’s judgement. I do not trust Nick, who still hasn’t placed any issues he stands for on his website. I challenge you Suzanne to have Begich and Palin come see you and answer questions sent in by Alaskans. We will see how they line up. Your attacks on Palin are getting old.

    • Michael Johnson,
      With all due respect to you Sir, Trump isn’t perfect and has been wrong a time or two. Sarah Palin’s candidacy and his endorsement merely being the latest.
      BTW how did ” Operation Lightspeed” work out for you?
      Blind obedience to any Political figure isn’t the American way my friend, it’s something that Democrats do.

  4. I feel our voting system here in Alaska is highly corrupted. With that thought in mind, it will be safe to assume there is a very good chance Mary Peltola will win. Just the way Al Gross disappeared so quickly, with money on his books, is of concern. I guess we’ll see.

    • 1-Thank Mike Porcaro. He pimped this hard. Still does.
      2-I’m expecting a blue sweep. See item 1.
      3-I really wanna know what was in the file shown to Al Gross. And who showed it to him. But Suzanne is sitting on that info.

  5. Nick may have been conservative on how he spends his campaign cash but we have NO proof that he is conservative about anything else, do we? After a long personal conversation with him he still could not tell me just how many people he employs here in AK after mentioning he has made millions – from whom? What do we really know about him? I would love to see some concrete evidence of his conservatism.

  6. Sarah is truly grassroots-always considering the people, I think you just proved that -even if it was meant to be a slam at her

    Alaskan “establishment” includes a lot of people who think they are voting “Republican” when in fact, that self-sustained funding may not be for YOU, but rather is self serving

  7. Please note that Rogoff’s daughter was recently appointed as a Trustee on the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Board! Rogoff had Obama come to her house for dinner in Anchorage. Now they back Peltola, and Peltola backers in Juneau are the very people who in no small part brought us ranked choice voting (along with the Walker team). Is someone asleep at the switch, or is this corruption? Is someone getting paid, or is someone getting laid? We need Palin and Begich to work out some sort of deal; absent that my vote goes to Palin with Begich second.

  8. It’s gonna be sad when the Rogoffs (& Walkers) win our congressional seat.
    And we can thank the (secret) liberal spoiler Sarah Palin.

    Vetoed a bill calling for benefits to only go to spouses of traditionally married (1 man, 1 woman) state workers.

    Why did Sarah veto that? Gay organisations applauded her.

    Raised taxes on oil, as Progressives wanted her to.

    Passed out record State funds, just like Team Biden.

    Helped Alice Rogoff pass our state over to Bill Walker

    • AND Palin appointed Morgan Christen, a former Planned Parenthood board member, to the Alaska Supreme Court. Obama then promoted her to the powerful 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. There is currently a case pending at the 5th Circuit over prosecuting undercover journalists who exposed that Planned Parenthood sells baby body parts, changes abortion procedures to get fresh organs and secretly sells maternal blood samples. Christen had been involved in a favorable outcome for Palin’s sister in her child custody case before she was appointed.

  9. “What a joy it is to wake up in the morning and know He is with me, no matter what the day has in store. What a joy it is to look back in the evening and be able to thank Him for His faithfulness and to experience His peace. What a joy it is to know that someday soon the burdens of this life will be over and I will awaken in His presence!”

    =Billy Graham

  10. Curious question ? Will Nick be able to pay off his $500,000 loan to his campaign with fundraisers after he is elected ? The governor’s brother donated a large amount to his campaign. Was that paid back by fundraisers after he was elected ? I realize that if the candidate does not succeed the fundraisers would be useless.

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