Supporters of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge loathe Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, their most tenacious and successful foe. And no one loathes her more than the Alaskan Congressional delegation.

In a week or so, they are holding a big fundraiser for Republican Senate candidate Mike McGavick, who’s challenging Cantwell in November:

The Alaska politicians are the stars, but the other 23 special patrons listed on the invitation are a who’s who in Alaska politics and commerce, particularly in the energy industry.

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They also include five current or former board members of Arctic Power, a lobby for ANWR drilling that is supported by Alaska state money. Last week Alaska’s state House approved $750,000 for the organization.

Arctic Power’s leaders include Bill Allen, owner of VECO, a giant Alaskan construction company that stands to gain from opening ANWR. His firm, and others on the patron list, gave money to another organization — Alaska to America Energy Initiative — that also lobbies for ANWR drilling, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan group that advocates for campaign reform.

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Allen and his firm contributed heavily in 2005 to Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Resources Committee, according to news reports. Pombo was the key congressman pushing ANWR drilling in the House.

Hm … the money’s nice, but what about the perception that McGavick is being shoehorned into the Senate by Big Oil out-of-staters?

Nonsense, say McGavick. He just knows how to bring people who want to drill together.

McGavick disagreed, saying the Alaska reception shows that he will be a uniter in the Senate.

And if you believe that, McGavick’s got a Bridge to Nowhere he’d like to sell you. Oh, wait, that’s Stevens. But maybe McGavick’s helping him with that too.