JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, who is gearing up for an election fight, ended 2012 with about $950,000 on hand.
A federal fundraising disclosure, provided by his campaign, shows the Alaska Democrat raised about $334,000 during the last quarter of the year. About $182,000 of that was from individuals; the rest was from political action committees.
For the sake of comparison, Alaska’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski, had about $360,000 in the bank at the end of 2008, heading into an expensive, and history-making, race in 2010.
Begich’s race is expected to be one of the most closely watched of 2014. Republican Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has already announced that he is exploring a possible run against Begich, and speculation has surrounded whether Joe Miller might get into the race. Miller was a tea party favorite during his unsuccessful challenge to Murkowski in 2010. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, who is in the midst of his first elected term, has not yet announced his plans for 2014.
Begich is the first Democratic senator from Alaska since Mike Gravel in 1981, and recently landed a coveted spot on the Senate Appropriations Committee, joining Murkowski on the panel. Begich won office in 2008, defeating then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who had been convicted on corruption charges shortly before that year’s election. A federal judge later tossed the verdict because of prosecutorial misconduct.
Should Miller get in the race, he would be able to use money left over from 2010. Miller upset Murkowski in the GOP primary but she mounted a write-in campaign to win the general election. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Miller had about $430,000 available, as of the end of September.