Senate fund-raising campaign revs up

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski filed documents Wednesday confirming that she has raised $934,000 for her campaign.

Murkowski filed a summary of her fund-raising efforts through June 30 with the Federal Election Commission. A detailed listing of donors is pending.

Former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles told the FEC earlier this month that he will seek Murkowski's seat in the 2004 election. He will not file reports until next quarter.

Alaska Teamster president Jerry Hood and Fairbanks businessman John Binkley have said they are considering a run against Murkowski in the Republican primary.

Murkowski said Wednesday that 935 of her 1,272 individual donors were Alaskans. She did not have figures on what proportion of the total funds raised came from Alaska, but acknowledged that much of the campaign's income has will come from Outside.

''I want to believe that, as an Alaskan, we're the ones that are determining the election and it's our money that's going into it,'' she said. ''But when you have a several-million-dollar race like this senatorial race will be, and you've got a population base of just over 600,000 people, the numbers don't add up.''

The entire campaign probably will cost $3 million, she said.

Leslie Ridle, Knowles' interim campaign coordinator in Anchorage, said ''$3 million is probably not a wrong number.''

''It's probably going to be more money than any election has ever had before. We plan to be competitive,'' Ridle said.

Both the Knowles and Murkowski campaigns have hired Washington, D.C., fund-raisers to solicit donations from political action committees. PACs have given $339,000 to the Murkowski campaign.

Murkowski has also hired Curtis Thayer, a former Alaska congressional aide, to raise money in Alaska.

Knowles' in-state fund-raiser is Cammy Oeschli Taylor, Ridle said.

Murkowski said she has not seen anyone hesitate to give because of actions by her father, Gov. Frank Murkowski.

''I don't think I'm being held back by anything at this point,'' she said. ''This has probably been the most successful fund-raising quarter that any member of the Alaska delegation has had to date.''

Murkowski said she has asked President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to help her with a campaign event.

Knowles is Outside meeting with potential donors, Ridle said.

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