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Murkowski gets nearly $600,000 in advertising help from Native corps and unions

From Erika Bolstad in Washington D.C. –

The big money battle in the U.S. Senate race, which had been tilted in Republican Joe Miller's favor, evened out some on Tuesday with a big advertising push from a coalition of unions and Alaska Native corporations.

Alaskans Standing Together, an independent expenditure committee created by Native regional corporations to support Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in bid, has put $595,000 toward television advertising in her campaign, according to paperwork filed this morning with the Federal Elections Commission.

The organization has the backing of Ahtna Inc., Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Bristol Bay Native Corp., Bering Straits Native Corp., Calista Corp., Chugach Alaska Corp., Cook Inlet Region, Inc., Doyon Limited, Koniag Inc., NANA Regional Corp. and Sealaska Corp. Unions that have joined with them include the Alaska Professional Fire Fighters Association, the Anchorage Police Dept. Employees Assn. and the National Education Association Alaska.

So far, independent groups have contributed $774,716 toward Miller's campaign. They include Sen. Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund, Safari Club international, Tea Party Express and an affiliated group, the Western Representation political action committee.

The Tea Party Express also has spent $3,275 on e-mail blasts opposing Murkowski. The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion group with close ties to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has spent $10,000 on radio advertising opposing Murkowski's campaign.

The same sort of groups – albeit based in Alaska – have put $660,041 total toward supporting Murkowski's campaign. Murkowski also benefited from $15,650 in newspaper advertising from another Native corporation, Shee Atika Inc.

Democrat Scott McAdams hasn't drawn the support or opposition from any independent expenditure groups, which are prohibited by law from coordinating with the campaigns they support.

The groups are separate from the money that candidates raise and spend in their own campaign accounts. Reports detailing their spending and campaign contributors are due Friday.

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