Walker/Drygas campaign pulls in big labor support

The first round of campaign finance reports for candidates for public office in Alaska were due on February 15. These reports cover the start of the campaign to February 1. The Independent gubernatorial ticket of former Governor Bill Walker and his running mate Heidi Drygas show nearly $65,000 in contributions from labor political action committees (PAC). The money comes from 12 separate labor PACs and represents nearly 10% of their reported income of $667,000.

After a court case last year invalidated Alaska’s campaign donation limits, the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) raised PAC contributions from $1,000/year to $3,000/year. They also raised the individual limits from $500/year to $1,500/year. Many have questioned whether APOC has the authority to set limits. There are several bills currently in the Legislature that deal with campaign contribution limits.

Here is a list of the PACs that donated to Walker/Drygas and how much they donated. Note that the limit of $3,000/year is to each candidate.

  1. Laborers International Union of North America, Local 942 – $12,000 ($6,000 in 2021 and $6,000 in 2022)
  2. Alaska Laborers Local 341 PAC – $12,000 ($6,000 in 2021 and $6,000 in 2022)
  3. UA Local 375 PAC – $12,000 ($6,000 in 2021 and $6,000 in 2022)
  4. Teamsters ALIVE – Gaming $9,000 ($6,000 in 2021 and $3,000 in 2022)
  5. Juneau CLC PAC – $6,000 in 2021
  6. Alaska Laborers PAC – $6,000 in 2021
  7. Public Employees Local 71 PAC – $3,000 in 2021
  8. United Association Local 367 PAC Fund – $2,000 in 2021
  9. UFCW Local 1496 PAC – $1,000 in 2021
  10. United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America Local 1243 PAC – $500 in 2022
  11. IBEW PAC – $500 in 2021
  12. Alaska PAC IBU – $250 in 2022

The PACs who have not maxed out this year could contribute more. The only labor PAC donation to Democratic candidate Les Gara, who recently chose Anchorage teacher Jessica Cook as his running mate, was $500 from the IBEW Political Action Committee in 2021. Based on these PAC donations, it seems that the Walker/Drygas campaign has locked up labor support.

Drygas, who worked as a labor attorney for the Alaska District Council of Laborers for nearly a decade and served as Walker’s Labor commissioner, has deep ties to labor in Alaska. She told the Landmine, “Contributions from labor mean a lot to us because we know the support comes directly from workers. Just like business and industry leaders, labor leaders are getting on board because they want to work with an administration that will invest in workforce development to train our next generation. Bill Walker and I are committed to doing just that.”

Scott Eickholt, the Business Manager for the Laborers Local 942 in Fairbanks, worked with Drygas while she was a labor attorney and when she was Labor commissioner. The Laborers Local 942 supported Bill Walker in the past. Eickholt told the Landmine:

The Alaska Laborers Local 942 is doubling down in our support for the Walker/Drygas ticket. Bill has proven time and again that he not only supports the working men and women of Alaska but he has made tough decisions which, I believe, ultimately cost him an immediate second term. Cutting the PFD was very unpopular but he knew it had to be done to save the PFD moving forward. Bill’s self-sacrificing nature proves his dedication to Alaska. Heidi is our Sister in Labor, she served the Laborers for a decade as our counsel before moving to the Department of Labor under the Walker Administration. Her dedication to Alaskan working families is second to none and should never be questioned. Her energy to lift Alaska up and out of the running recession alongside Walker will benefit Alaskans for years to come. We don’t trade in our old friends for new is a long standing motto the Laborers live by and coupled with this obviously well prepared and enthusiastic team, it’s without question we stand firmly behind them.

According to the reports, Walker/Drygas had the largest cash haul of $667,000. Gara/Cook came in second with $533,000 and Governor Mike Dunleavy (R – Alaska), who has not yet chosen a running mate, came in third with $311,000. Representative Christopher Kurka (R – Wasilla), who chose Homer resident Paul Hueper as his running mate, raised over $100,000, though $15,000 of that came from non-monetary contributions. The other three campaigns reported insignificant income or did not file a report. On Tuesday, an independent expenditure group called “A Stronger Alaska” filed a report showing a $3 million contribution from the Republican Governors Association. The group says it’s purpose is “To support the election of a republican Governor in Alaska.”

The next round of campaign reports are not due until July 18.

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Les Gara
2 years ago

All accurate On the issue you covered.. Quickly, wo edits 🙄 – What that doesn’t address is important in a campaign. The reports show our campaign with roughly 50% more donations from individual voters. Supporters matters in a campaign. It shows broader and more enthusiastic Alaska voter support across the income spectrum. And with a stronger record on workers rights I won’t be shy about, assuming the merits matter, Jessica (a former teachers association VP) and I expect to receive support from workers as well. The PAC game would just an insider push I don’t think individual members support if… Read more »

Richie Romero
2 years ago
Reply to  Les Gara

You don’t have a chance Les.

The Dude
2 years ago
Reply to  Les Gara

Stop it Les, even with RC voting, you haven’t a snowballs chance in hell.

Lynn Willis
2 years ago

I suppose these donations are an appeal for jobs in the trades represented. If so, I trust Bill Walker will support projects that provide the maximum benefit for Alaskans. This includes government employment, roads, railroads, airports, ports, bridges, utility infrastructure and structures which certainly provide employment but too often lead to “nowhere”. Also, while there are no “ribbon cuttings” for maintenance of what we already that maintenance is also a source of employment for these trades.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lynn Willis
Dave Mc
2 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

The jobs and callouts are coming regardless,”stimmies anyone”?I dont see my union on the PAC list.Guarantee the Hall will be empty, there will be out of state Open Calls.And the jobs will be won by non union representation as well as union.If your young or older (I was a 48 y.o apprentice 12 yrs ago or so),willing to apply yourself and follow basic logic and rules,you’ve got a shot….Theres not enough people in the trades instate to fill all the callouts coming, thats just a fact….

2 years ago
Reply to  Lynn Willis

Are you mental? Bill Walker was one of the worst governors in our history(besides Palin)! You can’t trust that man to do anything. The fact anyone is considering giving that clown another term makes me fear for the future of Alaska.

Ryan Nelson
2 years ago
Reply to  Karl

He’s not the worst governor besides Palin. Walker was the worst governor in Alaska history, and he’s also the most dishonest governor given is bait and switch party scheme.