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ANCHORAGE - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski raised more than $540,000 during the first quarter of 2003.
That brought the total for Murkowski's campaign to nearly $2.5 million, she said, with $1.5 million cash on hand.
Murkowski on Wednesday filed her first quarter report with the Federal Election Commission.
The expected Democratic candidate, former Gov. Tony Knowles, raised $700,000 for his campaign in the last three months, which bettered his previous quarter's fund-raising by almost $200,000. He reported his first-quarter take last week.
Knowles spokesman Bob King said it was the second quarter that Knowles has taken in more than Murkowski.
"We're definitely closing the gap," he said.
Knowles reported that he had raised about $1.7 million in total and had about $900,000 cash on hand.
"That gap has narrowed as well," King said.
Murkowski said the number of Alaska donors has reached 58 percent of all individual contributors. Alaskans made up 74 percent of the individual donors contributing to Knowles' campaign, King said.
Murkowski started airing her first television ads last week. She has been advertising on radio for several months.
Murkowski found out Wednesday she will have an opponent in the Aug. 24 primary, former state Senate President Mike Miller. Miller said he plans to raise between $400,000 and $500,000 for the primary, including $200,000 of his own money.
Jim Sykes is running as a Green Party candidate and has raised somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000, he said. He is accepting no outside, special interest money, he said.
"Alaskans deserve to choose their own U.S. senator free from the influence of that money," he said.
In February, Sykes filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking an end to out-of-state donations to the campaigns of Murkowski and Knowles.