Campaign disclosure reports show Knowles building sizable war chest

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tony Knowles has collected $269,432 in campaign contributions since announcing his candidacy for governor less than two months ago.

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With no advertising expenses other than direct mailings, campaign signs and bumper stickers, Democrat Knowles appears to be building a war chest to take on whoever wins a hotly contested Republican primary election.

The two-term former governor faces state Rep. Eric Croft of Anchorage in the Aug. 22 Democratic primary.

Croft has collected $77,460 since Feb. 2, and $152,619 for the entire campaign season. He has spent $127,391, leaving him with less than $30,229 as the primary campaign enters its final month.

Knowles said in a prepared statement that his goal was to receive contributions from 1,000 people for this filing deadline. He said more than 1,200 contributed.

"Our first fundraiser wasn't until June 29 in Fairbanks, so our goal ... was pretty ambitious," Knowles said in the statement.

Knowles has spent less than $75,000, much of that on organizing his campaign.

Candidates in the primary elections were required to file their 30-day campaign finance disclosure reports by midnight Monday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

By late afternoon, just four gubernatorial candidates - Knowles, Croft, Republican Sarah Palin of Wasilla and independent Andrew Halcro of Anchorage - had turned in their reports.

Palin faces incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski and Fairbanks businessman John Binkley in the competitive Republican primary. According to her statement filed with APOC, Palin has spent nearly all her cash trying to win the party nomination.

Palin has raised $194,390 since Feb. 2, but spent $229,419 in that same period. Including contributions from the beginning of the year, Palin's campaign has $38,229 left.

Palin said the campaign will still be raising money over the next month, and all her advertising has already been bought.

"This campaign cannot be all about the money," she said. "The focus (is to) get through the primary, and as traditionally seen in Alaska politics, new contributions come in after the primary."

Murkowski and Binkley had not submitted their reports by early Friday evening.

Murkowski campaign spokeswoman Michelle Delaney said the campaign likely would be working until the midnight deadline to get the governor's report filed.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Andrew Halcro of Anchorage put $90,000 of his own money into his campaign. In addition, he raised $15,890 and reported a total income of more than $115,441.

Halcro's campaign has spent $103,435 so far and has another $14,000 in debt, leaving his campaign with a $2,600 deficit.

As an independent candidate, Halcro does not participate in the primary elections.

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