President to help add to Stevens' campaign account

Posted: Tuesday, May 07, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- President George W. Bush will attend a campaign fund-raiser Thursday for Sen. Ted Stevens at a Washington, D.C. office building.

The appearance follows Bush's recent pattern of attending such events a few times a week to boost Republican members of Congress and GOP challengers.

Stevens, with $1.5 million in the bank for his campaign, has one Republican primary election opponent -- Mike Aubrey, an Anchorage-area man who has not done any fund-raising.

Stevens has said he is raising money and campaigning under the assumption that a wealthy individual could still launch an expensive campaign to challenge him.

''We don't know who may run against Ted Stevens,'' said Tim McKeever, the senator's campaign treasurer in Anchorage.

The filing deadline is June 1 and the primary election is Aug. 27.

Claire Buchan, White House assistant press secretary, noted that Stevens next year will be the most senior Republican member in the Senate.

McKeever said Stevens' fund-raiser was originally scheduled for last fall but was canceled following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Aubrey, Stevens' primary election opponent, said Monday that he filed for the Senate seat in mid-March. The lifelong Alaskan has not run for or held public office before. He lives in Sutton and works as the health education director for the Chickaloon Village Health Department. Chickaloon and Sutton are on the Glenn Highway northwest of Anchorage.

Democrat Frank Vondersaar of Homer and Libertarian Len Karpinski of Anchorage, both regular but not well-funded candidates in the past, have also filed for the seat.

According to the latest filing with the Federal Election Commission, Stevens' personal campaign committee raised $328,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31. Contributions from individuals made up $277,000 of that. Political action committees gave him the balance, about $50,000.

For this campaign, Stevens has raised $2.57 million. As of March 31, he had $1.57 million left. He has already spent $1 million because, as the senator often notes, keeping a campaign fund-raising operation in place is expensive.

His personal campaign's operating expenditures in the past three months came to $185,000. Stevens' political action committee, the Northern Lights PAC, raised about $9,000 in the period, including $5,000 from the senator's personal campaign, during the past three months.

The PAC was busier issuing checks. It sent $21,500 to other Senate candidates around the country in the three-month period. As of March 31, it had just $2,500 cash on hand.

Stevens also formed the Stevens Victory Committee last year. The ''joint committee'' can raise money for his personal campaign, the Northern Lights PAC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Some joint committees have raised multimillions for candidates and the parties, but Stevens' has been relatively inactive. The joint committee raised about $10,000 in the last reporting period and had about the same amount on hand as of March 31.

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