Candidates' campaign contributions exceed expectations

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- It's not official, but the campaigns of Alaska's two leading gubernatorial candidates say they raised roughly $350,000 in the closing months of 2001.

U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski was able to generate between $350,000 and $400,000 to help his campaign easily exceed its goal, said Bill Gordon, Murkowski's acting campaign manager. Staff is still tallying the final amount, he said.

Murkowski was only able to spend about 15 days actively attending fundraisers, Gordon said.

''We tried to make the maximum use of the candidate's time while he could be here,'' Gordon said in a telephone interview from Fairbanks.

Murkowski is the Republican front-runner for governor in 2002. The campaign had a goal of raising $250,000 from 1,000 Alaskans before the year ended, Gordon said.

Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, considered the leading Democratic gubernatorial contender, also raised between $345,000 and $352,000 from a series of fundraisers and individual donations in the final months of 2001, the candidate said. Her campaign staff is still tallying the numbers, Ulmer said in a telephone interview Friday.

''The good news is that it's a lot of money in a short period of time. The bad news is campaigns are expensive,'' Ulmer told the Associated Press.

Both campaigns anticipate the need to raise at least $1.2 million to run an effective statewide campaign.

Yearend campaign finance reports aren't due until mid-February. The two candidates sought to collect from donors before the year ended sop they could raise the maximum amount of money under new campaign finance laws.

Citizens can contribute no more than $500 to a candidate in a given year, plus $5,000 to a political party.

Ulmer was able to raise more than $25,000 in the closing hours of 2001 during a Cajun Creole New Year's Eve party held at the Anchorage home of a supporter.

Wayne Ross, who is running against Murkowski for the Republican nomination, reported raising about $50,000, according to information from the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

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