Muni race campaign cash gets off to slow start



Campaigns are run on shoe leather, volunteers, and cash, and not always in that order. This year, the Anchorage Municipal races are being run on shoestrings, with fundraising lagging behind recent years.

The candidate’s treasury only tells part of the story; this analysis is what we can discern about the Anchorage municipal candidates’ fundraising efforts, and possibly their political strength, as revealed in the Feb. 18 “year start” report filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The report covers the period from the beginning of the campaign through Feb. 1 of the campaign year. It was due this week for those candidates who intend to raise more than $5,000 for the race that ends April 7. Some candidates started raising money last year after filing an intent to run. Others got a late start.

Incumbents running for Assembly were more likely to raise more than their challengers, and and liberal candidates reported the most campaign debt, while conservative candidates reported no campaign debt in this report.

The municipal candidate who raised the most for this reporting period is Austin Quinn-Davidson, incumbent for District 3-E. She raised more than $41,000, while her two opponents stayed under the $5,000 threshold or did not report. She was followed in fundraising by Suzanne LaFrance, who has a challenger — Rick Castillo, for the South Anchorage seat.

The funds raised by Feb. 1 for Anchorage municipal candidates are generally trending down, with liberal incumbents generally doing better than their conservative challengers.

In 2016’s municipal race, for example five Assembly candidates had raised over $40,000 by Feb. 1, 2016, with Eric Croft raising $66,473.96 that year for Assembly, followed by Forrest Dunbar at $53,249.17. In 2017, Chris Constant raised the most, over $74,000.

Anchorage Municipal candidates’ cash reports:

District 1 – Seat B – Downtown Anchorage:

  • Chris Constant: Incumbent, unopposed. Raised $27,688.72, spent 7,613.85. By this time in 2017, Constant had raised $74,636.90.

District 2 – Seat C – Eagle River/Chugiak: 

  • Jamie Allard: Raised $12,390.00, spent $5,730.51.
  • Stephany Jeffers: No report.
  • Roger Branson: No report.
  • The seat is being vacated by Fred Dyson.

District 3 – Seat E – West Anchorage:

  • Austin Quinn-Davidson: Incumbent. Raised $41,154.09, spent $9,208.80.
  • MoHagani Magnetek: No report.
  • Nick Danger: No report.

District 4 – Seat G – Midtown Anchorage:

  • Felix Rivera: Incumbent. Raised $28,500.01, spent $8,976.54, By this time in 2017, Rivera had raised $24,386.99.
  • Christine Hill: Raised $19,999.25, spent $6,834.86.

District 5 – Seat I – East Anchorage:

  • Pete Petersen: Incumbent. Raised $23,846.00, spent $3,041.84. By this time in 2017, Petersen had raised $19,687.00.
  • Monty Dyson: Raised $7,447.01, spent $3,319.70.
  • David Walker: No report.

District 6 – Seat K – South Anchorage:

  • Suzanne LaFrance: Incumbent. Raised $34,921.27, spent $10,229.44.
  • Rick Castillo: Raised $14,840.00, spent $5,720.34.

School Board Seat C: 

  • Dave Donley: Incumbent. Raised $23,157.89, spent $4,677.40. By this time in 2017, Donley had raised $5,222.34.
  • James Smallwood: Raised $19,016.43. Spent $9,392.79.

School Board Seat D:

  • Andy Holleman: Incumbent. Raised $13,936.50, spent $4,565.24. By this time in 2017, Holleman had raised $11,008.00.
  • Phil Isley: No report.
  • JC Cates: No report.


The funds raised by Feb. 1 for Anchorage municipal candidates are generally trending down. In 2016’s municipal race, five Assembly candidates had raised over $40,000 by Feb. 1, 2016

The ballots are in the mail to voters on March 17, and once received, Anchorage voters have until April 7 to vote those ballots and mail them in.


  1. I see a lot of angry people. Angry about our current Muni assembly, but when it comes to election time. Invisible. Save your anger. Donate to conservative candidates, not necessarily Republican candidates. Place a sign in your yard. Most important vote.

  2. My apologies if this is tangential, but I was curious if you found any organized opposition to Prop 12 in the course of this research. I spent 15 years talking about assembly apportionment in Fairbanks, mainly because groups like the League of Women Voters and the Interior Taxpayers’ Association aggressively avoided such discussion while the assembly continued to offer the exact same non-choice to voters every decade. From this I learned that the issue of borough assembly apportionment is easily manipulated due to the lack of dialogue and lack of information. I’ve had discussions with several Prop 12 proponents and have learned that they’re not comfortable with any discussion falling outside their narrative. The main problem I see here is that the existing charter has not fixed a set number of districts (§ 4.01 begins with “The legislative power of Anchorage is vested in an assembly of 11 members. Election districts, if established,”. The phrase “if established” is key here.), whereas this charter amendment does. When I posed this to Cliff Groh the other day, he appeared to not realize or understand the ramifications of doing this. We had much better legislatures before the system of 20 single-member Senate districts and 40 single-member House districts was set in stone through a constitutional amendment in 1998. I can easily see the same happening with the Assembly and testified before the Assembly to that effect nearly a year ago.

  3. Less of a slow start, more of a dawning realization by incumbents that they really don’t have to spend so much money on so-called “campaigns” after they forced the easily corruptible mail-in vote scheme on voters, an impenetrable, very possibly permanent scheme virtually assuring no bond, tax, or incumbent gets left behind…
    The scheme, voters were told, was for their convenience which seems counterintuitive; non-voters whether lazy, inconvenienced, agoraphobic, or just uninterested were never known for showing up in droves either at traditional polling places or on absentee-ballot lists.
    Incumbents know challengers aren’t serious about unseating them. Remember, challengers also have to live and do business in Anchorage, which may not go well for those whose livelihoods depend on not annoying our sainted Rulers.
    The success of the Great Alaska LeDoux Vote Experiment proved commoners have no idea who’s on voter-registration lists. Who knows how many of Anchorage’s burgeoning homeless population signed themselves up to vote, or whether LeDoux’s legions, alive and dead, are properly registered on city voter rolls.
    This rot and more should be expected as residents are transitioned from being represented to being ruled, but still, it is sort of in-your-face aggravating, especially because the incumbents know bloody well voters can’t do a thing about it.
    For now…

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