Stevens has substantial cash for re-election campaign

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Sen. Ted Stevens has raised substantial cash to help finance his re-election campaign this year.

The Stevens for Senate committee had $1.44 million in cash at the end of December, according to figures in a summary faxed to the Federal Election Commission late last month.

Detailed records of who gave the money was mailed by the Jan. 31 deadline, said Stevens' campaign treasurer, Tim McKeever of Anchorage.

If past trends hold up, Stevens will report collecting most of his money from out-of-state fund-raisers. The campaign finance Web site FECInfo reports that about 85 percent of Stevens' contributions from individuals are from Outside.

That trend has only strengthened in the two months since the end of the last reporting period. Stevens, R-Alaska, held a fund-raiser in Palm Springs, Calif., early this year at which he estimated he raised about $300,000. Former President Gerald Ford attended.

Not counting the last six months' data, about 41 percent of Stevens' contributions in this election cycle had come from PACs, with communications, transportation, energy or natural resources, and defense industries representing the top contributors.

In addition to his personal campaign committee, Stevens has formed or affiliated with a few other committees.

His Northern Lights Political Action Committee had about $20,000 at the end of the year, despite having spread around $74,000 to others.

The Stevens Victory Committee, meanwhile, has been mostly inactive since a $40,000 fishing trip it sponsored in May in the Florida Keys. The National Association of Broadcasters picked up the tab.

Normally, contributions to individual candidates are limited to $1,000 per election, but the Victory Committee, known as a joint fund-raising committee, also benefits the National Republican Senatorial Committee. As an arm of the Republican Party, the NRSC can receive unlimited contributions, though legislation in Congress could end that practice.

In addition to the ''in-kind'' contribution from the broadcasters, the Florida fund-raiser collected about $20,000 from other donors.

The Stevens for Senate committee has also affiliated with the Warner-Nickles Committee, a major fund-raising operation sponsored by the senators from Virginia and Oklahoma. It collected $873,000 last year and distributed $712,000 to other senators, including at least $56,000 to Stevens' campaign.

To date, Stevens' only election opponent is Frank Vondersaar of Homer, a Democrat whose most recent filings indicate he has neither raised nor spent any money on campaigning.

Meanwhile, the ''Alaskans for Don Young'' committee reported $1.03 million in cash as of Jan. 28. Young, R-Alaska, is running for his 16th term in Congress.

About 44 percent of Young's money comes from PACs, the rest from individuals. Transportation industry and organized labor PACs dwarf contributions from all other sectors. Young serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

About 83 percent of Young's contributions from individuals came from outside Alaska, FECInfo reports.

Young also has the Midnight Sun PAC. It collected $190,000 last year and spent $81,000, including $35,000 sent to other candidates and committees.

Major Midnight Sun PAC expenditures also included $4,648 worth of prizes from Cabela's, an outdoor equipment store, and $18,000 to the Alaska Railroad to rent a train for a fund-raiser. The Fairbanks Republican Women also got $5,000 from the PAC.

The Midnight Sun PAC also formed a joint fund-raising committee last year with the West PAC, but it reported no activity.

Young's only declared opponent is Clifford Mark Greene, a Democrat from Ketchikan. He reported spending $310 last year.

Sen. Frank Murkowski has turned his attention to the governor's race and contributions to his Senate campaign account have dried up. Murkowski has $377,000 in his account.

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