Alaska’s Aug. 22 primary is less than seven weeks away, and the 2006 election season is under way in earnest.
Kenai Peninsula candidates challenging incumbents for their seats in the Alaska Legislature are going up against opponents with healthy campaign war chests.
Rep. Kurt Olson, a first-term Republican from Soldotna, faces challenges from Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey and Soldotna resident David Richards for his District 33 House seat.
According to a Year-Start Report filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission in February covering the period of May 7, 2005 to Feb. 1, Olson received $20,185 in contributions, which was added to a starting balance of $633. The report said the campaign spent $5,234 during the eight-month period, leaving Olson a balance of about $15,584.
Carey and Richards have each claimed “exempt” status, meaning their campaigns do not intend to raise or spend more than $5,000.
If they do, the candidates would be required to begin filing periodic reports with the APOC.
Pete Sprague, a Soldotna resident and current member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, is the only Democrat running in the primary for the House from District 33. Thus, he will be on the general election ballot Nov. 7. He has not claimed exempt status, but is not expected to file a report until July 24 deadline.
The Alaska Independence Party has drawn a pair of candidates for its party primary: John Osborne of Kenai and Robert Pope of Soldotna. Each is claiming exempt status.
In House District 34, only incumbent Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, is listed as running in the primary. According to his report, Chenault began with $5,000 in early May of last year, to which he added some $29,881 in contributions acquired through Feb. 1. He spent about $5,573 during that period, leaving him with $29,308.
District 35’s Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, also faces no challenge in the upcoming primary, nor does his counterpart, democratic hopeful Anthony Sieminski of Seward. Both will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Sieminski has not filed for exempt status, but has reported no campaign activity thus far.
Seaton reported a surplus of $18,782 in his report, which included a starting balance of $1,523, contributions of $17,555, and spending at just under $297.
On the Senate side, Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, whose Senate District includes House District 35, faces no challengers in the primary. He reported in February a surplus of $17,094. Between May 7, 2005 and Feb. 1, Stevens added $14,450 to a starting balance of $3,248. He spent about $604.
Kodiak resident Charles Davidson, running as a Democrat, has no reported contributions or expenditures. He has not claimed exempt status.
A second Democrat, Candace Norman, of Seward, has withdrawn.
Incumbents are generally not permitted to accumulate contributions or expend money on campaigns while the Legislature is in session, but the overlap to Feb. 1 for filing the report period allows time for such activities as closing out campaign accounts from the prior year. Candidates may solicit contributions and engage in campaign activities during special sessions, except not in Juneau, according to commission.
Candidates who are not exempt will next file campaign disclosure statements on July 24 that cover more recent activity. They also will file reports Aug. 15, seven days prior to the election, to cover the period from July 22 to Aug. 12.
For the general election on Nov. 7, non-exempt candidates must file reports on Oct. 9 and on Oct. 31.
All reportable candidate donations and expenses are available online at http://www.state.ak.us/apoc/index.htm.
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