The intense debate over fluoridated water has resulted in a stunning amount of campaign spending, but one Juneau Assembly race has triggered some serious fundraising as well.
“Holy cow, that’s more than a decade worth of Assembly races,” said local political observer and former mayoral candidate Brad Fluetsch.
The campaign spending amounts were in the final disclosure statements filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission seven days before the election.
With the American Dental Association picking up most of the tab, Citizens Promoting Dental Health has bought television ad time in $50,000 blocks, along with paying $35,000 in TV and radio production costs and $13,500 for dental association survey research.
Citizens Promoting Dental Health also received a $5,000 contribution from the Alaska Dental Society.
“Holy Smokes, I had no idea,” said David Ottoson, a Juneau natural foods grocer who opposes water fluoridation, when he heard about his opponent’s campaign amounts.
Ottoson called the spending an “outrageous attempt to buy an election.”
“No, we are not trying to buy an election, but information is power,” said Dr. Carolyn Brown, chairwoman of Citizens Promoting Dental Health.
Still, Ottoson said he didn’t think it would work.
“I still think they’re going to lose,” he said.
Brown said she wasn’t worried about the fairness of the spending gap either.
“They would have done it, and we did it,” she said.
Citizens for Safe Water, a group opposing fluoridation, has raised a little more than $5,000. It sought to maximize free media with letters to the editor and newspaper and radio appearances.
Citizens for Safe Water paid $678 in travel expenses to bring fluoride opponent Hardy Limeback to speak in Juneau, where his talk was covered on radio and in print.
Juneau Assembly races, though dwarfed by the fluoride issue, showed at least one tightening up.
Challenger Marshal Kendziorek, who raised $20,547, has still spent more than incumbent Johan Dybdahl, who raised $11,050, in the race for the Juneau-wide seat, but each has at least $7,000 to spend going into the last days of the campaign.
The third candidate in that race, Iskandar Alexandar, has filed as exempt, indicating that he’ll raise and spend less than $500 in the race.
The other two seats are less competitive. Incumbent Randy Wanamaker is seeking re-election to a District 2 seat, and has more than $3,000 cash on hand. Challenger Dixie Hood is exempt.
District 1 candidate Jeff Bush, an incumbent, is unopposed. He’s filed exempt as well.
The groups supporting a Mendenhall Valley pool and athletic fields have raised comparatively less money, but have no organized opposition.
Juneau for the Pool and Safe Athletic Fields for Everyone have each raised and spent about $4,000.
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