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Peltola nets huge financial catch

Filings show $1.5M raised for most recent period , Palin $250K, Begich $118K
Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, is followed by her staff and members of the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Monday, a day before she was sworn in after winning Alaska’s special election in August. As as result of her win she has since far outraised the two Republican challengers she will again face in the November general election. (AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades)

Mary Peltola won the special U.S. House race last month despite raising one-sixth the money of her two opponents. Now the tables have turned as she faces them again in the November general election, having raised more than four times the amount of her opponents during the most recent 39-day reporting period.

Peltola, Alaska’s first Democratic House member in about 50 years, raised about $1.53 million between July 28 and Sept. 5, according to final reports for the special election that needed to be filed with the Federal Elections Commission by Thursday. Republican challengers Sarah Palin raised about $228,300 and Nick Begich III about $118,000.

Of those totals, nearly $1.4 million of Peltola’s funds were raised during the 19 days following the Aug. 16 special election. A total of $3,500 came from groups, the rest from individuals. A total of $14,000 of Begich’s total and $3,200 of Palin’s came from groups.

The picture isn’t as lopsided in terms of cash the campaigns had on hand going into the final two months of the general election. Peltola reported about $1.12 million, Begich $552,478 and Palin $115,116.

Palin’s low figure is due to relatively heavy spending compared to income, with about $249,000 in expenditures reported for the most recent filing period. Peltola spent about $536,000 and Begich $221,000.

Also, Begich’s cash on hand is notable because $650,000 of his campaign’s funds are from a personal loan he made. But Truman Reed, Begich’s campaign manager, expressed optimism about the latest financial picture in an email Friday.

“Our campaign is on track with our fundraising goals and we’ve been very conservative in our spending,” he wrote. “We have over a half million dollars cash on hand and we’re proud of the fact that the vast majority of the money has been raised from Alaskans. It appears that Ms. Palin has only around $25,000 cash on hand after accounting for external debt. Additionally, it’s no surprise that out-of state Democrats are pouring money into Peltola’s campaign to try to buy Alaska. Nick has continued to incrementally gain support and we are confident of our position heading into November.”

Attempts late Friday to reach Peltola’s and Palin’s campaigns for comment were unsuccessful.

The next reporting period of note will be the quarterly reports for U.S. House and Senate races that are due Oct. 15. A fourth candidate in the U.S. House race — Libertarian Chris Bye, who finished far behind the three leaders in the regular primary that took place the same day as the special election — will be among those required to file a report.

Peltola has a lead over the two challengers and is favored 53-47% over Palin in a final head-to-head march under the state’s new ranked choice voting system, according to a new survey by Donald Trump’s former official pollster.

The polling company is Fabrizio Ward & Impact Research, which was commissioned by AARP for the Alaska survey and was the chief pollster for Trump’s presidential campaign. The data-heavy website FiveThirtyEight gives the company a reliability grade of B/C and did include the AARP poll as part of its most recent forecast for Alaska’s major races.

Contact reporter Mark Sabbatini at