Third-party groups make presence felt in Alaska election

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A brother of Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy and a prominent sport fishing activist have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a third-party group supporting Dunleavy's candidacy.

It's part of a new political reality in Alaska.

Since 2012, the Alaska Public Offices Commission has not enforced contribution limits for so-called independent expenditure groups, citing constitutional questions arising from a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision. That has opened the door for groups hoping to influence state elections.

This year, several groups have formed to back Dunleavy's main GOP rival, former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

The state caps how much an individual can contribute to a candidate's official campaign. The National Conference of State Legislatures says Alaska's $500 individual contribution cap for gubernatorial races is the lowest in the nation.