Dunleavy leads in fundraising, latest campaign filing shows

Dunleavy, along with running mate Nancy Dahlstrom, raised more than $600,000 during the most recent filing period

Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy continues to lead the gubernatorial pack in fundraising, according to a new round of campaign disclosure forms filed this week with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

The 30-day reports from candidates, which were submitted 30 days before Election Day on Nov. 8, show that Dunleavy, along with running mate Nancy Dahlstrom, raised more than $600,000 during the most recent filing period, which began on Aug. 7 and ended on Oct. 7.

That’s compared to the more than $400,000 raised by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Les Gara and running mate Jessica Cook and nearly $460,000 raised by nonpartisan candidate Bill Walker and running mate Heidi Drygas. Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce raised just under $8,000 and reported more than $24,000 in expenditures.

As of Oct. 7, Pierce and running mate Edie Grunwald had about $6,100 remaining in their campaign account. The duo came in fourth during the Aug. 16 state primary election, securing them a spot on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, where voters will rank governor and lieutenant governor candidates.

Since that election, Pierce resigned as mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough amid an allegation of harassment that an Anchorage law firm hired by the borough found to be “credible.” A statement released by the borough assembly said Pierce was asked to consider stepping down as part of a resolution to that situation, however, Pierce has previously said he planned to step down to focus on his gubernatorial bid if he were to advance past the Aug. 16 primary.

The campaign spent more than $18,000 on Aug. 17, the report shows. Those expenditures include a $12,000 payment to campaign treasurer and volunteer Juanita Ross for accounting services and about $6,100 worth of reimbursements and airfare expenses for Pierce’s running mate, Edie Grunwald.

Ross said Monday that she has been with Pierce’s campaign since the beginning and has previously served as treasurer of his mayoral reelection campaign. As treasurer, she said she’s in charge of the campaign’s accounting and filing with APOC. Ross said she has worked for free while on the campaign and that Pierce initiated the $12,000 payment as a way to pay her for the services.

Pierce said Tuesday that his campaign continues to raise and received “limited donations” and that he is scheduled to participate in more debates leading up to Nov. 8. Grunwald, he said, is attending events in the Matanuska-Sustina area. The campaign has flexibility for additional events, “if (their) presence is desired,” he said.

Full campaign finance reports can be found on the Alaska Public Offices Commission website at aws.state.ak.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.