(This story has been updated to reflect it was not Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but her husband Verne Martell who hosted the fundraiser at Murkowski’s DC home; she will not be endorsing in this race.)
Alaska’s senior senator’s husband held a fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Mead Treadwell at her D.C. home on Monday night. Sources tell Must Read Alaska that at least $20,000 was raised for the Republican candidate for governor.
Murkowski, her husband Vern Martell, and Treadwell are close personal friends. In 2016, Murkowski promoted his name for Secretary of the Interior in the new Trump Administration.
“I think right now there’s still a lot of people in the mix. We’ve got some Alaskans. I’m pretty keen on Mead Treadwell, I think he would do a good job at the Department of Interior, and I have said so,” she told reporters that year.
Treadwell, who served as lieutenant governor for four years in the Parnell Administration, filed for governor on June 1, 2018, the final day for filing disclosures with the Alaska Public Offices Commission and the Division of Elections. With only 70 days until the primary election on Aug. 21, he has a short period of time to raise money, get his message out, and seal the deal with voters.
“It’s going to be an exciting Republican primary,” said Tuckerman Babcock, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party. “This will generate a lot of interest, and there’s a clear contrast — and that’s what primaries are all about.”
A poll released on Monday confirmed that Mike Dunleavy has a substantial lead. 46 percent of Republican primary voters who took part in the poll would choose Dunleavy, who has been running for governor since last fall, 19 percent support Treadwell and 7 percent would pick Scott Hawkins, if the election was held last week.
Must Read Alaska has reached out to Murkowski to ask if this is an endorsement of Treadwell and will update this story when she responds.
Jerry Hood, campaign manager for Alaskans for Don Young, said that Young doesn’t get involved in contested primaries. A spokesman for Lisa Murkowski said late today that she is not endorsing anyone in the gubernatorial primary.
“Sen. Sullivan has not weighed in on the governor’s race at this time, but he has met with each of the three candidate for the Republican nomination at the request of those candidates,” said a Sullivan spokesman.