Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott file for re-election at the state’s election office in Juneau on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott file for re-election at the state’s election office in Juneau on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Walker has early fundraising edge in Alaska governor’s race

Gov. Bill Walker holds an early fundraising edge in his bid for re-election this year.

Records filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission show that Walker had about $50,000 in carry-over campaign cash and raised another roughly $275,000 since last February. At the end of the reporting period, Feb. 1, he had about $280,000 on hand.

Lindsay Hobson, a Walker campaign spokeswoman, said the campaign expects the race to draw attention from outside groups.

The Republican Governors Association already has taken jabs at Walker and his record. A spokesman for the group did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

Walker is a former Republican who was elected in 2014 as independent, with backing from Democrats. He ran as part of a so-called unity ticket with Democrat Byron Mallott, who was elected lieutenant governor.

Walker and Mallott plan to seek re-election this year by bypassing the traditional primary process and gathering signatures to qualify for the general election.

The primaries will decide the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Tickets are allowed to join assets after the primary.

On the Republican side, former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla reported raising about $105,000 from mid-June until Feb. 1. He ended the reporting period with nearly $75,000 available.

Dunleavy resigned from the Senate last month to focus on the campaign. Under state law, his seat must be filled with another Republican, but Walker and the GOP have clashed over who that should be.

An independent expenditure group also has been formed to support the conservative Dunleavy.

Businessman Scott Hawkins has largely bankrolled his gubernatorial campaign, according to his disclosures, contributing $200,000 of the more than $215,000 raised since last September.

Rep. Mike Chenault of Nikiski, who once served as House speaker, raised just over $30,000 since September.

Hawkins and Chenault have not yet formally filed as candidates with the Division of Elections.

Two other Republican candidates have reported minimal contributions.

The deadline for candidates to file for the August primary is June 1.

Thursday was also the deadline for lawmakers to file reports outlining their finances at the start of the election year.

In the Mendenhall Valley, the challenger to Rep. Justin Parish has a significant fundraising lead as the campaign year begins.

City and Borough of Juneau Assemblyman Jerry Nankervis, in a report filed Feb. 12, said he has raised $23,932.54 since announcing his run for statehouse on Nov. 7.

Nankervis is receiving strong support from Juneau Republicans and those statewide. His largest contribution was $7,500 from the organization Republican Women of Juneau; his second-largest was $2,500 from the state Republican Party.

Nankervis reported spending only $626.69 on his campaign so far.

Incumbent Democratic Rep. Justin Parish enters the year with $12,035.24 on hand. According to a report published Thursday, Parish raised $8,067 between Feb. 15, 2017 and Feb. 15, 2018. He also had $4,782 left over after his successful 2016 campaign.

Records show Parish had minimal expenses during the previous year, mostly associated with Internet services.

In downtown Juneau, Democratic Rep. Sam Kito III did not file a campaign finance report by the Feb. 15 deadline, yet another indication that he will not seek re-election.

Kito has previously said he may not run for re-election if the Legislature fails to reverse expected cuts to Juneau lawmakers’ expense payments. He said Friday that he will make his decision by the end of March.

Kito ended his 2016 election campaign with $4,815.05 on hand but has spent since then $264.44 on website maintenance.

• Juneau Empire reporter James Brooks contributed to this story.

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