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Begich: Big lead in fundraising over GOP rivals

Posted: July 18, 2013 - 11:07pm
In this June 7, 2013 photo, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, speaks during a meeting with local business leaders in Juneau, Alaska. Begich, a Democrat from Alaska seeking re-election next year, probably couldn't ask for a better start in his re-election campaign, with the state Republican Party emerging from a chaotic year and gearing up for a divisive primary as it hunts for a strong challenger to run against him. Even so, the freshman senator - who has a political pedigree, a wad of campaign cash and a reputation as a scrappy campaigner - brushes off the notion of anything short of a tough race even as he casts himself as a moderate in hopes of attracting voters from across the political spectrum.  (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)  Becky Bohrer
Becky Bohrer
In this June 7, 2013 photo, Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, speaks during a meeting with local business leaders in Juneau, Alaska. Begich, a Democrat from Alaska seeking re-election next year, probably couldn't ask for a better start in his re-election campaign, with the state Republican Party emerging from a chaotic year and gearing up for a divisive primary as it hunts for a strong challenger to run against him. Even so, the freshman senator - who has a political pedigree, a wad of campaign cash and a reputation as a scrappy campaigner - brushes off the notion of anything short of a tough race even as he casts himself as a moderate in hopes of attracting voters from across the political spectrum. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

JUNEAU — U.S. Sen. Mark Begich held a huge fundraising lead over his Republican rivals during the latest reporting period.

The first-term Democrat, who expects a tough campaign, reported bringing in about $993,000 between April 1 and June 30, and ending the quarter with $2 million available for his re-election bid next year. Republicans see the Senate seat as critical to their efforts to regain control of the chamber.

Begich’s highest-profile Republican challengers are Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller, a tea party favorite during his unsuccessful 2010 U.S. Senate campaign against Lisa Murkowski. Miller announced his candidacy in May, Treadwell in June.

Treadwell reported raising $170,000 in the latest reporting period, though his totals included only May and June. He received contributions from Republican state Sens. Cathy Giessel and Gary Stevens and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, according to his Federal Election Commission filing.

Treadwell’s fundraising number included a $50,000 personal loan. He ended June with about $130,000 available.

Treadwell campaign manager Adam Jones called the numbers “pretty impressive right out of the gate,” and said the campaign is excited about the enthusiasm surrounding Treadwell’s run.

“We certainly have some ground to make up. The incumbent has a healthy war chest,” he said, noting the campaign is confident that its message will resonate with voters and hit its fundraising goals.

Miller, meanwhile, reported raising about $18,000 during the second quarter and ended with more than $317,000.

Miller’s campaign, in a statement, said its focus so far has been on speaking to grassroots leaders and volunteers in Alaska. The campaign said the response has been overwhelming, and fundraising efforts will begin in earnest soon.

Miller burst onto the political landscape in 2010, when he upset Murkowski in the GOP primary. Murkowski went on to wage an historic write-in campaign to keep her job.

Miller was able to use money he had raised as part of his unsuccessful run to get him started with this campaign.

He had entered the second quarter with more than $425,000. His latest report included a disbursement of about $94,000 to the state, dated June 26, listed as a judgment-legal action.

It stems from a judge’s order in May that Miller pay more than $85,000 in legal costs to the Alaska Dispatch. The online publication had sued during the 2010 campaign to obtain records from Miller’s time as a government attorney.

Matt Johnson, a Miller spokesman, said by email that the roughly $94,000 is on deposit with the court while the decision in the Dispatch case is appealed.

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