Knowles outspends Palin in fall campaign

Ex-governor raises twice as much as opponent

Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

JUNEAU - Campaign finance reports filed Monday show Democratic candidate Tony Knowles outraising and outspending Republican Sarah Palin with a month to go before Alaska's gubernatorial election.

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That's familiar ground for Palin, said spokesman Curtis Smith. The former Wasilla mayor was outspent by Gov. Frank Murkowski and challenger John Binkley before the Aug. 22 primary election, but Palin took more than 50 percent of the vote in that race.

"The amount of money you raise is not an indication of the amount of support you have. I think that was made clear in the primary," Smith said.

The Knowles campaign said the money taken in shows the "very tangible and essential support" the former two-term governor has in Alaska.

"The bottom line is great, but just as rewarding is how many people from all over the state have given small amounts," Knowles said in a prepared statement.

Monday was the deadline for candidates running for office in the Nov. 7 election to file their campaign finance disclosure reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Knowles and running mate Ethan Berkowitz together have raised $401,978 since their campaigns merged, said Knowles spokeswoman Patty Ginsburg. Adding to the war chest Knowles was building since before the primary, Knowles and Berkowitz had a total of $637,025 to spend since Sept. 1.

Spend it they did. The campaign reported expenditures of $527,834 for that period. Most of that went to television and radio advertising - with $336,082 paid out to Squier, Knapp and Dunn, a media firm in Washington, D.C. Another $30,000 went to Kiley & Co. of Boston for public opinion polling.

That leaves the campaign with $109,192 with a month to go, according to the finance report. That does not include $5,467 Berkowitz had left from his primary campaign, Ginsburg said - and the fundraising is continuing in full force until the election.

By comparison, Palin and her running mate, Sean Parnell, raised $316,611 in the same period. The campaign was relatively short of cash following a bruising three-way primary election, with just $60,002 left from the primary.

Palin's sometimes combative run-ins with state Republican party leaders leading up to the primary election have not hurt her standing with the party. The Alaska Republican Party was Palin's biggest single contributor, donating $5,000 in cash and $20,133 in in-kind contributions.

Palin's expenditures include $125,000 spent on media buys through the firm Walsh Sheppard Flynn of Anchorage.

The Palin-Parnell campaign spent less than half the amount that Knowles did, leaving Palin and Parnell with a little more than the Democrat in reserve - $151,109 - for the final 30 days.

Independent candidate Andrew Halcro's campaign report had not been filed by Monday evening.

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