Cash didn’t matter: New financials show magnitude of Parish’s win over Muñoz

Graph by Juneau Empire. Information from the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Juneau apparently likes a winner.

According to records released Wednesday by the Alaska Public Offices commission, Rep. Justin Parish, D-Juneau, raised $44,403.60 in his campaign to defeat incumbent House District 34 Rep. Cathy Muñoz, R-Juneau, but 10 percent of Parish’s contributions came after his underdog win on Election Day — $4,374.67 in total.

According to APOC filings, that’s exceptional. No other sitting legislator raised as much money after Election Day. Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, for example, collected only $250.

Contributors may have been making up for lost time.

According to APOC filings, Parish spent less than half the amount Muñoz did during APOC’s official campaign season, which runs until Feb. 1. Take away those donations after Election Day, and the figure is closer to one-third than a half.

Muñoz reported spending $85,245.05 before and on Election Day. Parish spent $37,463.34 during the same period, though he paid some bills after the election.

Elections usually are decided by money: Candidates who have the most financial backing can advertise more and ensure greater name recognition.

That pattern didn’t hold in this year’s presidential election, and it didn’t hold in the House race for the Mendenhall Valley.

Parish defeated Muñoz by 195 votes out of 8,902 cast.

After Election Day, Muñoz gave most of her remaining campaign funds to the unpaid volunteers who supported her re-election effort.

Parish did the same, but he also socked away $1,000 for expenses during his term, and he put away $4,782.26 for his next campaign.

In House District 33, Rep. Sam Kito III, D-Juneau, was officially unopposed, but according to APOC documents, Bill McCord of Haines spent $1,614.61 on a challenge that was disallowed by the Alaska Division of Elections. According to the division, McCord hadn’t lived in District 33 long enough.

Records show Kito, despite facing no opposition, spent $17,342.22 between Feb. 1, 2016 and Feb. 1, 2017, the officially designated campaign year.

Most of his expenses weren’t expenses. He transferred $4,815.05 into his future campaign account, and he sent another $7,490.32 into his account for term expenses.

PACs active as well

In addition to the candidates who ran for office in 2016, Juneau’s political action committees were busy during election season. According to APOC filings, the Tongass Democrats — Juneau’s biggest PAC — raised $24,713 between Feb. 1, 2016 and Feb. 1, 2017. They begin APOC’s 2017 campaign year with $16,137.27.

The Capital City Republican Women, Juneau’s No. 2 PAC, raised $23,829.25 during the same period and had $10,552.94 in the bank on Feb. 1.

The Capital City Republicans, Juneau Education Association (JEA) Political Action Committee Education (PACE), Juneau Central Labor Council Political Action Committee and Juneau Pro-Choice Coalition Political Action Committee all reported raising less than $5,000 in 2016.

Correction: The initial version of this story reported the Tongass Democrats raised $109,742.68 between Feb. 1, 2016 and Feb. 1, 2017. Tongass Democrats treasurer Patrick Roach said Friday morning he accidentally reported the money raised over the life of the Tongass Democrats, not just the 2016 figure.



• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 419-7732.




CLAY GOOD 3 months ago
Begs the question, if spending didn't decide the race, what did.....?
Joe Geldhof 3 months ago
"Elections usually are decided by money: Candidates who have the most financial backing can advertise more and ensure greater name recognition."  This statement is a political truism that is widely held but not necessarily true.  There are numerous examples that illustrate this is not true.  A decent candidate with a good message can easily beat a mediocre candidate with poor message, even if the mediocre candidate has abundant money.  In politics, money matters but it doesn't invariably trump message and blocks of votes.  


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