As the race for the president’s seat moves forward, so increases the amount of donations flooding into candidates’ campaign headquarters from across the country.
President Barack Obama leads all candidates in contributions followed by Republican contenders Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann respectively, according to the Federal Election Commission.
The same, however, isn’t true for Alaska as a whole or the Kenai Peninsula region.
Paul has a strong Alaska fundraising base only $6,972 less than Romney, who leads the GOP field with $39,255 in contributions from the state, according to the most recent statistics available. Paul reported receiving $32,283 in Alaska contributions.
In zip codes starting with 996 — all of the Kenai Peninsula including Kodiak, and the west side of Cook Inlet and much of the Matanuska-Susitna area — Paul leads the Republican field with $6,578 in reported donations. Romney is second with $1,525 and former candidate Herman Cain with $900.
Much of Romney’s Alaska funds came from the 995 area code, or most of Anchorage.
Noticeably absent from the donation reports is Newt Gingrich who is leading several ballot support polls. According to a late December Gallup International poll, Gingrich is pulling 25 percent ballot support to Romney’s 23 percent and Paul’s 12 percent.
All of the Republican candidates together have received $10,062 from the 996 zip codes, just slightly more than Obama’s $9,213.
In the 2008 election, 59 percent of Alaskan voters selected Sen. John McCain over Obama, who received about 38 percent of the state’s votes.
In District 33 — Central Kenai, Soldotna and Kalifornsky Beach area — voters sided with the McCain and Former Gov. Sarah Palin ticket with 6,571 votes to the Obama and Joe Biden ticket’s 2,089 votes.
In District 34 — Funny River, Kasilof, Nikiski, Sterling and Ninilchik — the gap between McCain and Obama was even wider — 7,358 to 1,920 respectively.
However, in District 35 — Homer, Anchor Point, Cooper Landing, Seward and the southern Peninsula — Obama drew 4,254 votes to McCain’s 4,959.
Registered Republicans outweigh Democrats 4 to 1 in both Districts 33 and 34, according to a state Division of Elections report issued Dec. 3. In District 35 there are 2,046 registered Democrats to the 3,231 registered Republicans.
Each district also contains between 4,830 to 5,350 unaffiliated voters and between 2,291 to 2,491 registered non-partisan voters. The Alaska Independence Party is the third most represented party and claims 1,392 voters among all three districts. District 35 is home to almost three times the number of Green Party voters with 149 compared to the 47 in District 34, and 55 in District 33.
Former borough mayor Dave Carey, who also taught government for about two decades, said Paul’s local support isn’t surprising. Carey said he is also a fan of the Texas Congressman who has at times shown Libertarian leanings and individualist thinking — something Carey thinks resonates with locals.
“The Kenai Peninsula, particularly the central and northern parts, we have very often looked for someone who believes that government is involved in things they should not be involved in and that personal freedoms … should be strongly enforced,” he said.
Carey said he expects Romney to beat Obama in November and to carry Alaska during the primary.
“I think there is going to be a high probability there is going to be three or four candidates on the ballot,” he said. “… That could be very interesting.”
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.