Peltola far outpaces Republican challengers in Alaska’s US House campaign fundraising

Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola raised $1.7 million in the first quarter of 2024, far outpacing her two Republican opponents in fundraising as they vie for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom raised just over $262,000, while businessman Nick Begich raised nearly $216,000.

Their recent campaign finance reports shed light on a race that is seen as one of a few that could determine whether Republicans maintain their slim majority in the House — or whether Democrats win control of the chamber in November.

Alongside campaign fundraising, national groups and political action committees on both sides of the political aisle are set to spend millions in a quest to either keep the seat blue or flip it.

Peltola won the seat in a special election in 2022 and maintained it several months later in a regular election that featured the same candidates, beating Begich both times along with former Gov. Sarah Palin. It was the first year that Alaska, under a new voting system, used open primaries with the top four candidates advancing to the general election, which paved the way for two Republicans to move forward in the U.S. House race.

The current race could again be between Peltola and two Republicans. The filing deadline for candidates is June 1.

Peltola won her first election in 2022 despite limited fundraising compared with her Republican opponents. Now, she is campaigning with the backing of leaders in the Democratic Party, and support from a coalition that includes unions and Alaska Native groups. By the end of March, she had more than $2.5 million in her campaign war chest.

Dahlstrom — who still lists no campaign staff on payroll and whose campaign has included only limited appearances and events so far — had nearly $400,000 in her campaign account by the end of the fundraising period. Begich had less than $180,000 in his campaign account, after spending more than three times as much as Dahlstrom in the first three months of the year.

Peltola spent more than $900,000 in the three months. That included more than $314,000 on digital advertising and more than $53,000 on catering and meals. Her campaign spent nearly $120,000 paying seven staff members, including more than $20,000 to Anton McParland, who doubles as her chief of staff.

Dahlstrom reported spending $67,000, including more than $28,000 on direct mail and just as much on consultants. Her campaign consultants come from two firms based in Washington, D.C. — Targeted Victory, and the Morning Group. The two firms have worked on many Republican campaigns nationwide.

Much of Dahlstrom’s funding came from national fundraising efforts and political action committees. She has touted endorsements from national Republicans, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, and from Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who picked her as his running mate ahead of the 2022 election.

Begich, whose funds primarily come from individual donors rather than political action committees, reported spending more than $218,000, including more than $60,000 on mail, $21,500 on polling services from Alaska pollster Ivan Moore, and more than $14,000 in salary for campaign manager Joshua Walton.

Begich continues to carry $425,000 in campaign debt, from a loan he made to his campaign when he ran against Peltola in 2022. Begich could in the future use campaign fundraising to pay off the loan.

While Dahlstrom has nabbed endorsements from national Republicans, Begich has continued to campaign vigorously in the state, making regular appearances at GOP gatherings and other events. Both Republican candidates have endorsed former President Donald Trump in the presidential election, while Peltola has endorsed President Joe Biden.

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