Campaign dollars fuel Doll, Muñoz contest

Both candidates for Mendenhall Valley seat draw large contributions

Posted: Monday, November 03, 2008

The Mendenhall Valley's hotly contested race between Rep. Andrea Doll and Cathy Muñoz is drawing big bucks, already topping the amount Doll spent to win the seat two years ago with last-minute campaign spending still coming.

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David J. Sheakley / Juneau Empire
David J. Sheakley / Juneau Empire

Both Democrat Doll and Republican Muñoz have enough money to go on television, typically the most expensive advertising there is. In Alaska, it is unusual for a single candidate in a district to be able to afford television, and much more rare for both to be able to do so.

Doll is spending about $75,000, Muñoz about $60,000, but both expect to have enough money to tell voters their story.

Among the contributors Doll said are the most significant to her are labor unions, especially those representing public safety workers.

"I'm proud of the (Alaska Public Employees Association) and the public labor unions, but I'm particularly proud of the firemen and the public safety officers," she said.

Doll said she supported a bill by Rep. Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Anchorage, regarding exposure to cancer-causing agents sought by firefighters associations.

She said the unions told her "we're supporting you because you are not just talk, but you put your actions behind your words."

Muñoz declined to single out any of those giving to her campaign.

"I feel equally honored to have all of my contributors," she said.

Muñoz also has contributed $2,000 to her own campaign in the general election.

Doll questioned one contribution on Muñoz's list, $1,000 from the ConocoPhillips Employees Political Action Committee.

That committee this election is supporting all Republicans, and all of them opposed Gov. Sarah Palin's oil tax plan adopted last year after the indictments of several legislators involved with establishing the previous oil tax that Palin called "tainted."

"Wow," Doll said. "I don't think at this time of sensitivity I would have even accepted that at this point."

Muñoz declined to criticize any of Doll's contributors.

"I don't spend a lot of time analyzing Rep. Doll's contributor list," she said.

"I spend a lot of time trying to meet with voters and trying to learn what their concerns are," she said.

Doll's spending may actually be larger than it appears. The Alaska Public Employees Association is running its own campaign, called an "independent expenditure" supporting Doll's stand on protecting the capital.

Under Alaska Public Offices Commission rules, those advertisements are reported by the union group, not the candidate they benefit.

"I don't have organizations throwing more than $10,000 at the race trying to affect the outcome independently," Muñoz said.

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