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Alaska candidates for governor rake in campaign cash


July 26, 2006
Wednesday AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Republican candidate for governor John Binkley has raised more than $1 million for his campaign, but more than a third of that is his own money, according to a report Binkley filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on Monday.




Among the major candidates for governor who had reported their campaign revenues by Monday evening, Binkley leads the pack. Incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski, a Republican facing Binkley and Sarah Palin in the Aug. 22 primary, didn't file his 30-day report before the commission closed its doors for the day, but he had until midnight to mail it or send it electronically.

With four weeks to the primary, Binkley's report says he still has $181,000 left to spend - and time to raise more.

Palin has raised a fraction of Binkley's total - about $295,000 - and had $38,000 left in the bank as of the close of the filing period, July 21.

Raising a lot of money doesn't guarantee a win, but it does help candidates connect with voters through ads and travel. Murkowski spokeswoman Michelle Delaney said the governor's report wasn't ready as of late Monday night and said she couldn't say how much money he's raised.

Palin said last week that she expected to be outspent 4 to 1 in the primary.

Binkley, a Fairbanks businessman, said he started his campaign with less name recognition than Murkowski and Palin and knew changing that wouldn't be cheap.

"You have to get your message out to people, and they have to recognize you and get to know you. . . . that's an expensive process."

According to the report he filed with APOC, Binkley wrote at least four personal checks, worth a total of $365,000, to his campaign fund.

In the Democratic primary, former Gov. Tony Knowles is running against Anchorage lawmaker Eric Croft. Knowles, like Murkowski, announced his candidacy just before the June 1 deadline, long after several other candidates had begun campaigning and seeking donations.

Knowles has raised $269,000 so far and still has most of that money - $193,000 - on hand. He called it a good start considering the timing and the fact that fundraising can be toughest before the primary election.

Croft has collected $153,000, with $30,000 left in the bank. He downplayed the importance of fundraising Monday: "Sure, I'd like to have Frank Murkowski and Tony Knowles' money, but I wouldn't trade them for their positions on oil and everything else."

Independent candidate Andrew Halcro, who will skip the primaries and go directly to the general election ballot, filled his campaign war chest himself. Of the $115,000 he's raised, $90,000 is his own money, according to his report to APOC.

Halcro, a former state legislator, said he knew running for governor wouldn't be cheap because he is one of the lesser-known candidates and hates to raise funds.

"Every dime has gone into media and reaching people, whether it's been television or print or travel," he said.



According to Frank H. Murkowski's spokeswoman Michelle Delaney on Tuesday, the governor's report has been filed with APOC and indicates Murkowski has raised $260,708.82; Total Expenses: $186,945.37 - Closing Balance: $73,763.45; Debts:  $5,480.00; Surplus:  $68, 283.45


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