Following the money in District 31 representative race

Following the money in District 31 representative race

Thirty-day reports released earlier in October by District 31 Representative candidates Paul Seaton and Sarah Vance show where each candidate gets major financial support and also gives a sense of their campaign strategy.

Political candidates are required to submit financial disclosure reports to the Alaska Public Offices Commission periodically throughout their campaigns. The reports cover the period from Aug. 12 to Oct. 5. Here are some highlights:

Seaton goes into the last three weeks of the campaign with a war chest worthy of an eight-term incumbent. For this election, he has raised $79,456.60 total and spent $55,780. Now a member of the bipartisan Alaska House Majority, Seaton is running as a nonpartisan under the Alaska Democratic Party ticket.

Vance has raised $26,956.57 and spent $20,052.05. Vance won the Republican Party nomination and has received strong support from Alaska Republicans seeking to put a Republican acceptable to state leadership in the District 31 seat.

Vance also has received support from a political action group called Families of the Last Frontier. Though it has an Anchorage address, the group received its contributions — $140,000 total since Aug. 14 — from the Republican State Leadership Committee of Washington, D.C. Families of the Last Frontier has run radio and Facebook ads against Seaton and in support of Vance. According to an Oct. 11 individual expenditure report filed by Families of the Last Frontier, the group spent $17,602 in radio ads, digital ads and website development for Vance and against Seaton and $259 in postal box rentals and mailing expenses supporting Vance.

Some Facebook ads for Vance or against Seaton show they were paid for by the District 31 Republicans. The Alaska Republican Party’s Oct. 5 30-day report shows $594 paid to Juggernaut Consulting for “marketing, advertising, and Facebook and internet electronic media” services, but it does not identify the candidate supported. According to Federal Communications Commission records, Juggernault Consulting and Peter Zuyus arranged for an ad buy with KSRM for Friends of Sarah Vance, her formal campaign name.

Thomas Lucas, APOC campaign disclosure coordinator, said district chapters of political parties often take in or spend money under the state party organization. If the Alaska Republican Party spent money on behalf of a local candidate, it should identify that in its reports. No expenditures in the Oct. 5 party report identify support for Vance.

“It would be helpful if they indicated they did that,” Lucas said.

Seaton has received contributions from political action campaigns The Alaska Center ($900), the Alaska Realtors PAC ($500), the Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association ($250), the Alaska AFL-CIO ($500), and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America Local 1243 ($250).

Vance has received contributions from the Alaska Republicans Inc. ($5,000), the House Republicans Fund ($50), Kenai Peninsula Republican Women of Alaska ($500), the Valley Republican Women of Alaska ($200), the ConocoPhilips AK PAC ($500), and the Alaska Business PAC ($1,000).

Of 138 contributions Seaton received, including non-monetary contributions, 49 (or 35 percent) were from outside District 31. Seaton received 11 contributions of $500 or more.

Of 62 contributions Vance received, including non-monetary donations, 41 (or 62 percent) were from outside District 31. Vance received nine contributions of $500 or more.

Seaton’s expenses range from $1.78 for Facebook advertising to $14,439.36 for campaign literature mailings. Other expenses include $3,125.04 for wages to his campaign manager, Amy Woodruff, $14,233.21 for radio advertising, $161.25 to the Homer News for print advertising, $1,262.62 for a computer and software, $799 for a new iPhone to replace a broken one, $104.40 for political buttons, and $750.53 for campaign signs and materials.

Vance’s expenses range from $2.83, itemized as coffee for long drive, to $1,501.75 for 3,000 postage stamps and $1,950 for mail service for an absentee ballot mailing. She spent $2,637.16 for radio ads. Other marketing expenses include $469.64 for thank-you cards, T-shirts and hats; $2,042.32 for yard signs, and $322.50 in a food donation at Don Jose’s Restaurant for a meet-and-greet reception.

Seaton received contributions from other Alaska politicians, including Sen. Gary Stevens-R, Kodiak ($250) and Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage ($150).

Vance got contributions from Alaska politicians Sen. Catherine Giessel, R-Anchorage; Municipality of Anchorage Assembly member Amy Dembowksi; Sen. Shelley Hughes, R-Palmer; Rep. George Rauscher, R-Sutton; Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, R-Wasilla, and Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Dale Bagley.

To view Seaton’s Oct. 5 campaign disclosure form, visit

To view Vance’s Oct. 5 campaign disclosure form, visit

Reach Michael Armstrong at

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