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JUNEAU - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski raised less than half the amount of her Democratic rival during a recent eight-week period.
Murkowski reported raising about $306,000 between Aug. 5 and Sept. 30. Democrat Scott McAdams' campaign reports he raised about $685,000 during the comparable period.
But Murkowski dropped off the radar for about 2 1/2 weeks after conceding the GOP primary to Joe Miller on Aug. 31. She didn't decide to get back into the race, as a write-in candidate, until Sept. 17.
Murkowski's filing with the Federal Election Commission, released Thursday, shows she had nearly $1.2 million on hand as of Sept. 30. During the reporting period, she spent about $990,000. In recent weeks, she has been all over the airwaves with ads aimed largely at educating voters about the write-in process and how to spell her name correctly.
Murkowski, whose money in the past has come in large part from political action committees, reports most of the money she has raised this time has come from individual contributions. About $105,000 came from PACs.
McAdams' campaign released his fundraising figure Wednesday, ahead of his federal filing. Candidates have until Friday to submit their reports. Miller's campaign hasn't yet filed or released new figures.
Murkowski's getting outside help: an independent group formed by Alaska Native corporations has reported spending nearly $600,000 so far on ads in support of Murkowski. While its president, Will Anderson, wouldn't say how much the group Alaskans Standing Together is willing to spend to try to get Alaska's senior senator re-elected, he said Alaskans can expect new ads every "four or five days."
Murkowski opposes a proposal to strip Alaska Native corporations of their ability to get contracts of unlimited amount under a federal program aimed at helping small disadvantaged firms. And Anderson said her support of their current contracting edge is one reason the group was formed. But he also said she has a record of supporting Alaska Natives and rural communities and that he worries about what could happen with some federal programs if Miller, who believes Alaska must be weaned of its reliance on federal aid and given greater control over its resources, is elected.
Miller's campaign seized on the group's role, noting Murkowski had complained during the primary - and since - about the influence of outside groups on the race.
California-based Tea Party Express reported spending a comparable sum during the primary in support of Miller. A spokesman for that group has said it plans to launch a media blitz in the waning days of this election to help Miller get elected. Miller also has won support from within the Republican establishment, including from the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has pledged more than $212,000 to his first statewide run for public office.
McAdams' spokeswoman Heather Handyside said McAdams' fundraising shows his campaign has momentum heading to the Nov. 2 election. Since Sept. 30, she said he has raised another $185,000.
McAdams, the mayor of small-town Sitka, essentially started building his war-chest from scratch after the primary. A previous federal filing showed he'd raised less than $17,000 as of Aug. 4.
McAdams, like Murkowski and Miller, has been a consistent presence on the radio and TV, with at-times cheeky ads aimed at introducing himself to voters or ads that take aim squarely at Miller, a fiscal conservative whose limited government positions McAdams believes will hurt government-reliant Alaska, and Murkowski, who he accuses of too often putting party before policy.