Notes from trail: Report shows Tshibaka has raised more funds than any past challenger to Murkowski


How many have voted? 13,568 people have early voted or absentee voted in the Aug. 16 primary, as of yesterday’s Division of Elections report. There were 23,900+ absentee ballots mailed to voters who requested them, and a substantially higher number of those went to Republican voters.

A fundraising metric: As of last week, Republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka had raised over $3.4 million, which is more than any other Republican challenger has ever raised against Murkowski. Joe Miller raised $3.36 million in 2010. That said, Murkowski has still raised a mountain of cash and is spending it. Murkowski raised $7.48 million and has over $5 million cash on hand, and there is a lot more money coming from an independent expenditure group and from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Other fundraising metrics: From Open Secrets, a couple of charts on the fundraising in the Begich-Peltola-Palin congressional race as of Aug. 4:

Dunleavy dominates in governor’s race: In the latest fundraising report from Alaska Public Offices Commission, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s campaign had raised $213,000, more than double that of challengers Bill Walker and Les Gara combined.

Walker had raised $59,000 and Gara brought in $52,000 for the quarter. Walker has $591,000 cash on hand, while Dunleavy has $864,000 cash on hand.

Walker world: Bill Walker is in Sitka for a fundraiser on Thursday. He is locking up the Sitka vote, as this is his third trip there in the past few months.

Les Gara land: The City of Dillingham has been a gracious host to Gara for governor that it even (probably) illegally posted his campaign event on the city’s event calendar, as shown above. Gara and his crew will be sign waving at Old Seward and Northern Lights Blvd. in Anchorage on Aug. 15.

Mary Peltola: The final-week strategy for congressional candidate Mary Peltola seems to be to keep her mouth shut so no one knows how liberal she really is. She may be trying to run on her “nice” reputation at this point. Even Sarah Palin, running as a Republican, compliments “nice” Peltola, the Democrat. But the Alaska Republican Party has been putting out multiple mailers tying to her to Biden and Democrats and telling voters not to rank Peltola at all in the special general election. As time runs short, Peltola has not put out a Facebook post for three days, after her performance in Kenai in which she said there is no hope for drilling in ANWR. In the past she has said she supports Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, so maybe her campaign is using silence as a strategy.

From the Federal Election Commission reports: Peltola has paid Ship Creek Group about $50,000 for campaign services. Ship Creek Group was founded and is run by the campaign manager for Walker-Mallott in 2018.

Endorsements: Former Rep. Jennifer Johnston, Republican, has endorsed Bill Walker for governor. Johnston lost to Rep. James Kaufman in 2020.

District 35 Fairbanks Republicans had an endorsement meeting with Sen. Click Bishop and his Republican challenger Elijah Verhagen on Wednesday, and Verhagen got the endorsement, while Sen. Bishop did not. Both of Verhagen’s districts now have endorsed him, as well as the Republican State Central Committee.

Cook Report says Palin is polarizing, Peltola has a path: “There’s no more confusing House race in the country than Alaska, where two Republicans with famous names — former Gov. Sarah Palin and software businessman Nick Begich III are vying against Democrat Mary Peltola in an August 16 special election under the state’s newly installed ranked-choice, instant-runoff voting rules. And by the way, a 22-way all-party primary for the full term is also playing out on the same ballot.

“In the first round of voting on June 11, Palin finished first in the top-four jungle primary with 27%, Begich came in second with 19%, independent candidate Al Gross came in third with 13% and Peltola advanced in fourth with 10%. But days later, Gross dropped out of the August 16 runoff, throwing his support to Peltola. A state judge subsequently ruled that the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, was ineligible to advance to the runoff.”

“Both parties’ consultants agree Peltola is now on track to finish first in the initial ranked-choice vote. In the June primary, Democrats and Gross (who ran for Senate with Democrats’ support in 2020) combined for 30% to Republicans’ 58%, and post-Dobbs, Democrats’ vote share is likely to be higher. As long as Peltola takes at least 33% of first-choice votes, she’s mathematically guaranteed to advance to a final round against either Palin or Begich.”

In other words, Peltola only needs 33% of the first-choice votes to be the one to beat.

Cook goes on to say that Palin, one of the candidates for Congress for Alaska’s open seat, faces headwinds because she is so polarizing. Alaskans could get Peltola if they don’t rank Begich first.

“Peltola’s exceedingly narrow path in the instant runoff depends on Palin edging out Begich and plenty of Begich voters defecting to Peltola or leaving their second choice blank. After all, this is a state Trump carried by 10 points in 2020. But this is the first time in Alaska history voters have been asked to rank their choices, adding to the race’s unpredictability. It does help Republicans that the special coincides with regularly scheduled local primaries,” the report says.

“Bottom line: Alaska’s new election format handicaps the polarizing Palin, who has a high floor of support but a low ceiling. Begich might be the ever-so-slight frontrunner, but the vagaries of ranked-choice mean an upset can’t be ruled out.”

NRCC voting ad on YouTube: The National Republican Congressional Committee has put out an ad on social media encouraging people to rank either Nick Begich or Sarah Palin and to not rank Mary Peltola on the ranked choice ballot. It’s the same message Republican voters have been getting in the mail from the Alaska Republican Party lately:


  1. Lucinda, I am surprised that you would accuse Kelly of being petty and or of swindling anyone. Clearly a serious accusation.
    For the record, Kelly has raised a considerable sum, most of it small donations from thousands of Alaskans. A
    I think Kelly is a good candidate and many folks recognize this fact.
    Princess Lisa has had a good long coming out party since Frank the Bank bestowed her so graciously but it’s past time for her to fade away.
    Vote Kelly!

  2. Ms. Tshibaka might be a more viable candidate in my book if she would attempt to convince me of her accomplishments and abilities and provide a clear statement about what she wants to do as a United States Senator. Instead, all I hear is how bad Lisa Murkowski is and that Donald Trump endorses Ms. Tshibaka. Donald Trump is not running for the Senate in Alaska and, BTW, I wouldn’t vote for him if he was.

      • Actually I am trying very hard. I wish Ms. Tshibaka would speak to her many years of experience as a Deep State/Senior Executive Service operative in Washington,D.C. (This also included many years in the Obama administration.) You know, the years between high school and now?

        • JMARK, Sir, I value your opinion and I believe you do us a service by voicing your concerns above. I early recognized that Kelly T was from the SWAMP and likely wanted to return there too. I choose to support Kelly because I reasoned that despite any suspicions about her motives her biggest asset was that she wasn’t named Lisa.
          Beyond that I would note that Kelly’s Father was an Electrician and despite her modest roots she still managed to graduate from Harvard Law School, juxtaposed to Lisa who was handed a U.S. Senate seat by her Daddy. I know, sounds a bit petty to judge Princess Lisa merely for being a member of the “Lucky Sperm Club”, Beyond that however when I listen to both candidates speak it’s obvious that Kelly is the more cognizant of the two.
          Most importantly though, this race reminds me of an old Jessie Colter Song, “I’m not Lisa, my name is Kelly, Lisa left you many years ago”.
          How’s that for a convincing argument? Come on JMARK, spin the wheel, despite your misgivings about Trump, could Kelly EVER be any worse than Daddies Little Princess?

          • You make a number of good points, Bob. I am still trying. I just wish Ms. Tshibaka had made more contributions to Alaska than have been identified so far. For me, the Harvard stuff is a big negative. Too many Harvard grads emerge and think that they are entitled to rule over the lesser people (that may be actually just as smart and have more integrity). I will keep listening.

  3. Lisa is disparaging our good family name. This can no longer stand. It’s not even safe for Nancy and I to step foot in Alaska for a brief visit. BIG check coming your way Kelly!

    • Lisa cut me off again until after November, Frankie. She’s worried that our Mexico villa may get investigated by Trump after 2024. Can you get me half of your check to Kelly T?

  4. “Both parties’ consultants agree that Peltola is on track to win the first round of ranked choice voting”, just goes to show you that the establishment RINO right wing & the Democratic left wing are just part of the same filthy bird! Don’t send another RINO or Democrat to Congress!

    • Agreed! This is why I voted for Begich. Palin is a true RINO: raised taxes, grew government, and endorsed Byron Mallot over her own Lieutenant Governor.

  5. Considering the negative impact on Alaska caused directly by the republican in name only it is no wonder Alaskans show support for someone who is the conservative in fact.

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