Alaska Senate District D candidate Tuckerman Babcock (left) participates in a candidate forum at the Soldotna Public Library on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska Senate District D candidate Tuckerman Babcock (left) participates in a candidate forum at the Soldotna Public Library on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Babcock, Ruffridge bring in most cash in state Senate, House races

Candidates for Legislature report financial support ahead of Tuesday

With less than a week to go before the Nov. 8 general election, local candidates for statewide office continue to rake in and report financial contributions for their campaigns.

That’s according to seven-day reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The seven-day reports from candidates, which must be filed seven days before Election Day, cover the time period that began on Oct. 8 and ended on Oct. 29.

Running to represent District D seat in the Alaska Senate are Tuckerman Babcock, Jesse Bjorkman and Andy Cizek. That seat includes Kenai, Soldotna, Moose Pass, Nikiski, Hope and Bear Creek. That seat is currently held by Sen. President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection.

Babcock, who is a former chief of staff to Gov. Mike Dunleavy and chair of the Alaska Republican Party, has consistently led the pack when it comes to fundraising this election cycle. Since launching his campaign in February, Babcock has raised more than $141,000, including more than $17,000 during the last three weeks of October.

Among his biggest contributors over the last month are Lucy Bauer of Anchorage, who contributed $5,000, Ryan Peterkin of Nikiski, who contributed $2,000, and Portia Samuels of Anchorage, who contributed $1,500.

Babcock said his campaign is “feeling good” heading into next week; they had a goal of raising $100,000 to message voters the way he wanted to. Babcock said they’ve “quite exceeded that.” Candidates have had months to introduce themselves to voters, he said, and now he’s emphasizing what makes him stand out from the other people running.

“It’s really important to tell people consistently what you believe,” Babcock said, plugging his support for a constitutional convention, commitment to repealing ranked choice voting and codifying the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.

Trailing Babcock in fundraising is Jesse Bjorkman, who represents Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and teaches at Nikiski Middle/High School. Bjorkman’s state senate campaign has raised almost $48,000 since he announced his run in March, including almost $15,000 over the last three weeks.

Among Bjorkman’s biggest contributors from the last month are John Davis, who contributed $5,000, Lynden Incorporated Chairman Jim Jansen, who donated $1,000, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Political Action Committee, which contributed $1,000.

Bjorkman said Wednesday that his campaign is in a “push to the finish” and that as campaigning winds down he’s reiterating to voters his focus on core government services and commitment to high quality schools. He thinks people are responding to what he called his “common-sense message.”

“I’m really excited that so many hardworking Alaskans have come out to support my campaign,” Bjorkman said, adding that he is excited to see how the race turns out.

Andy Cizek, a former commercial pilot of 25 years, is running as a nonpartisan candidate for the seat. His campaign has raised about $2,000 to date.

Also underway is the race for State House District 7, which includes Kenai and Soldotna. Soldotna City Council member Justin Ruffridge is challenging incumbent Rep. Ron Gillham for the seat. Ruffridge has out-raised Gillham by about $4,000, the latest APOC reports show.

To date, Ruffridge’s campaign has raised about $42,000, including about $2,850 over the last month. That’s compared to Gillham, who has raised about $38,000 to date and $9,250 over the last month.

Ruffridge said Wednesday that “it’s hard not to feel anxious” as Election Day looms, but that his campaign has been “filled with integrity.” Ruffridge said that as he continues to interact with voters heading into next week, he has been encouraging them to think about what they want in their state representative. His financial disclosure reports, he said, show the diversity of his supporter base.

“My APOC report shows the wide base of support I’ve received,” Ruffridge said. “ … It’s really exciting to see how many groups and individuals have put their support behind my campaign.”

Gillham could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Incumbent Rep. Ben Carpenter is running unopposed for reelection to the Alaska House of Representatives. He is running for State House District 8, which includes Nikiski and Moose Pass.

Data provided by the Alaska Division of Elections on Wednesday show that thousands of Kenai Peninsula voters have already cast ballots in the general election. On Election Day, Nov. 8, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Full campaign disclosure reports can be found on the Alaska Public Offices Commission website at doa.alaska.gov. More information about the Nov. 8 general election can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

From left: Alaska State House candidates Ron Gillham, Ben Carpenter and Justin Ruffridge participate in a candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

From left: Alaska State House candidates Ron Gillham, Ben Carpenter and Justin Ruffridge participate in a candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

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