Palin's Financial Backers: Not the Usual Crowd

By Keith Epstein Not only is Sarah Palin an unconventional choice for the Grand Old Party – relatively inexperienced and until now virtually unknown outside Alaska – she also has an unlikely fundraising profile for a candidate on the national stage. Most of her campaign contributions are from individuals, especially retirees and civil servants, not political action committees and powerful interests.

Presidential candidate John McCain, in fact, has raised more from the oil and gas industry, $1.5 million, than she has garnered during her entire political career, according to data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics and the Center for Responsive Politics . In her 2006 run for governor, Palin raised only $468,400; together with the lieutenant governor-candidate they raised $1.3 million. She emerged victorious in that election against a Democratic incumbent who raised more.

McCain, of course, has been collecting large contributions for some 30 years.

Not that McCain needs Palin for her fundraising acumen. He’s counting on $84 million from the government to finance his campaign. (Barack Obama, meanwhile, will have to pick up his fundraising pace; the convention and the campaign to come will prove enormously costly, and he has declined to accept taxpayer financing of his campaign)

In Palin’s 2006 campaign with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, 90 percent of the contributions came from individuals rather than political action committees. That is almost certain to help underscore her appeal as a Washington outsider – about as far from Washington as an outsider can be – who also appeals to individual voters.

According to, Palin has collected $12,850 from oil and gas interests for her Alaska campaigns.

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