Conservative Mayoral Candidates Compete With Each Other to Run Against Lone Liberal

With just a few days left before the Anchorage municipal election, candidates for mayor are campaigning hard for votes. Financial disclosures released by the Alaska Public Offices Commission show three conservative candidates aggressively spending down their war-chests. By contrast, the race’s lone liberal has numbers working in his favor.

The APOC filings are interesting because they give a few tangible clues about what is going on behind the advertisements and public statements.

Dan Coffey has raised by far the most money in the race, but also spent the most. In fact, the campaign is $4,764.12 was in debt as of March 28th after having paid $325,940.68 mostly for campaign services like signs and media ads. Since then, Coffey said the campaign has been steadily taking in money. “We’re solvent,” Coffey said, estimating there is about $11,000 cash on hand, “ballpark.” Part of the reason Coffey’s war-chest is so much bigger than everyone else’s is that he has been running since 2013, and was able to appeal to individuals multiple times.

Amy Demoski is another conservative candidate competing for a similar pool of votes. She raised $18,248.86 between March 7th and 28th. That’s a small share relative to the $106,744.68 the campaign has raised to date. And one reason for that is Demboski had been matching donations dollar-for-dollar, contributing $44,845 of her own money. But campaign finance laws do not allow candidates to self-donate this close to the election. The campaign has spent down most of the money raised, with $8,771.19 leftover after debts. $30,001 of that spending went towards radio ads in March.

Andrew Halcro is the last of the three conservative-leaning major fundraisers. He raised $23,630.00, and spent $89,950.49, a large share of the full $127,968.95 he has taken in. A significant amount of that, $85,000, was money Halcro himself put into the campaign.

Ethan Berkowitz not only raised the most in March, but it came from the widest pool. The $92,219.70 taken in came from 920 individual donors and PACs, according to a spokesperson with the campaign, more than Demboski, Halcro and Coffey combined.

Berkowitz has $75,033.21 cash on hand with less than a week until the election, tens of thousands more than the next closest candidate. The amount suggests he is budgeting for future expenses in a runoff election, something conservative candidates appear to be spending just to be part of.

Lance Ahern raised $5,457.00. Much of that money was spent on running a highly digital campaign, buying server space and online advertising. A relatively small amount, $775, went to traditional staples of campaigning like yard signs. Dustin Darden raised $100, but spent $346.64 on campaign supplies, leaving a deficit.

No other registered candidates for mayor reported donations.