Alaska U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka raised over $1.8 million in 2021. That is the number she’ll file with the Federal Election Commission today.
At this point in Tshibaka’s campaign against Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the upstart candidate has raised more than any other candidate opposing Murkowski had raised in the entirety of the 2016 election cycle, and it appears she has raised more than any other candidate opposing Murkowski at this stage in 2010.
Tshibaka had nine months to raise the funds, as she filed for office on March 29, 2021. Fifty-five percent of her donations in 2021 came from Alaskans, and in the fourth quarter that surged to 64 percent.
Tshibaka has been running hard since announcing her candidacy, and has hired a professional campaign team for in-state and out-of-state help, which means she has also spent significant funds to help her with name recognition. But she’s scheduled a fundraiser with former President Donald Trump in mid-February, and he is a powerful fundraiser. She started this year with $630,000 in the bank.
Murkowski, as all federal candidates must, will also announce her final donation totals today to the Federal Election Commission, and her funds are likely to dwarf those of Tshibaka. One of the most powerful women in Washington, D.C., Murkowski ended the third quarter with more than $3.2 million cash on hand in her campaign account, after raising $4,571,976 in the first three quarters and spending over $1.4 million. Murkowski has significant fundraising prowess both in and outside Alaska, with many of her donors are writing checks over $1,000. The individual contribution limit for federal candidates is $2,900 for the primary and $2,900 for the general.
This race is made more interesting by the fact that the Alaska Republican Party voted overwhelmingly to endorse Tshibaka as its choice for Senate, and voted decisively to censure Murkowski and ask her to leave the party and not run as a Republican, which she has not yet done.
The Alaska Democratic Party has not yet found a candidate that it can convince to enter the race. The deadline is June 1 at 5 pm for the Aug. 16 primary, which will be an open primary with all candidates on the same ballot. The party has attempted to lure state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson into the race, but there are few signs she is going to take that risk at her age, 68. Terms for Senate are six years, which would mean she would not have time to build seniority, with takes several six-year terms.