Opponents of oil tax measure receive more campaign contributions than all other state-level campaigns combined

(Photos courtesy the Mel Gillis and Calvin Schrage campaigns)
Calvin Schrage, right, raised the most money of any Alaska legislative candidate from Aug. 9 to Oct. 2. Schrage, an independent who’s the Democratic nominee, is facing Republican Rep. Mel Gillis, left. (Photos courtesy the Mel Gillis and Calvin Schrage campaigns)

Industry opponents of a ballot measure to raise oil taxes have donated most of the money given to all Alaska political campaigns at the state level this year. 

The group OneAlaska — Vote No on One raised nearly $18.5 million through Oct. 2, according to reports filed last week with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. 

The state records don’t include the races for president and Congress. 

OneAlaska has raised more than 10 times as much as Vote Yes for Alaska’s Fair Share, the largest group supporting the oil tax measure.

The second largest amount of donations has been from groups backed by wealthy individuals outside Alaska who support a ballot measure to overhaul elections. They’ve been the biggest funders for the group Yes on 2 Better Elections. It has raised nearly $5 million, more than 10 times the amount raised by Defend Alaska Elections — Vote No on 2. 

In races for the Alaska Legislature, the five candidates who raised the most between early August and early October were all Democrats or independents running for seats held by Republicans. 

The candidate who raised the most in this time period is Calvin Schrage, an independent who is the Democratic nominee for an Anchorage House seat. He’s running against Rep. Mel Gillis. 

Schrage raised $50,550 during the time period covered by the most recent filings, while Gillis raised $7,250. 

Schrage’s largest contributors have been the House Democratic Campaign Committee and labor unions. Schrage said his campaign has broad support, noting that he received more than 600 donations. 

“It just shows that we’re really doing the hard work of getting out and building a campaign that’s based on our community here,” he said.

Statewide, Democrats and independents have raised more funds than Republicans since early August, according to reports filed last week. 

However, Republicans held an advantage in cash on hand in races for Republican-held seats, with $466,293 compared to $390,879 held by their challengers. Cash on hand includes money raised before Aug. 9 and accounts for spending.


Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

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