Big wins in Alaska primary races

As many predicted, U.S. GOP candidate Dan Sullivan was the winner in the primary election on Tuesday night. He’ll now take on Sen. Mark Begich in the general election. As of 1:30 a.m, with about 20 percent of the vote yet to be counted–not including absentee ballots–Sullivan was leading the race by eight percentage points against Joe Miller. He was leading 15 points against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell.

Sullivan, who has laryngitis and couldn’t speak, whispered in his wife’s ear as she thanked the crowd who had gathered at a downtown Anchorage restaurant late on Tuesday night. It had been a long day for Sullivan. He campaigned all day and also gave the eulogy at the funeral of a close friend.  Continue reading


Pollster Matt Larkin’s GOP Senate race numbers and prediction

Anchorage-based Matt Larkin, who has polled the U.S. GOP primary Senate race three times beginning in May,  released his numbers tonight. His polling figures, as well as his final prediction, have Dan Sullivan winning, Joe MIller coming in second, and Mead Treadwell in third place. Larkin is calling the race tighter than pollster Ivan Moore predicted earlier today. Larkin has Sullivan at 39 percent, Miller at 32 percent, and Treadwell at 27 percent. Moore had Sullivan with a 14 point lead over Miller.

If you click on Larkin’s graph below, what’s most striking is how far and how fast Miller has risen–from a low of 12 percent in May–and how Treadwell’s numbers have fallen from a high of 35 percent in May.

The earliest poll in May was paid for by Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, who’s running for lieutenant governor. The other three were paid for by Larkin himself.

Here’s the graph: Dittman – 2014 Republican Senate Track (1)


Mid-evening primary election tweets and tidbits

If you’re online, go here or here to watch the election results. If you’re in Anchorage, head down to the Egan Center to watch with a crowd. If you want to get personal with a campaign, here’s a list of election night parties.

Continue reading


Primary day catnip

I talked to Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai earlier today. She said that what she’s hearing is that turnout is about average, which could mean a lot of things. Here’s what average means in Alaska in the last two primary cycles when there’s been a Senate race.

In 2010 Joe Miller challenged incumbent Lisa Murkowski. Scott McAdams was the Democratic candidate. A total of 164,047 Alaskans voted out of a total of 487,456 registered voters. That’s about 34 percent of the vote. About 36,000 of those primary voters chose the open ballot, which allows all voters regardless of party affiliation, to vote for candidates of any party except for Republicans. 109,650 voted Republican.

In 2008, Mark Begich was challenging the incumbent Ted Stevens. A total of 193,533 Alaskans voted out of a total of 476,472 registered voters. That’s about 40.62 percent of all registered voters. 75,783 people took the open ballot, and 105,326 chose the Republican ballot.


Pollster Ivan Moore makes some primary predictions

I just got off the phone with pollster Ivan Moore, who often works for Democratic groups, and who has been doing state-wide polling on races and on issues. Based on his data and on gut, here are his predictions for the GOP primary Senate race and Ballot Measure #1:

U.S. GOP Senate primary race:

  • Dan Sullivan: About 44 percent
  • Joe Miller: About 30 percent
  • Mead Treadwell: About 26 percent.

Moore predicts that No on #1 is going to win by anywhere from 10 to 13 percentage points.

Update: Marc Hellenthal, another pollster, sees a bigger Joe Miller surge than does Moore. But he predicts that the order is right.


Primary day tweets and tidbits: Perils of politicking. Mallott peeps for Walker. FREE TATER TOTS.

This from Charles C. Johnson, a conservative blogger who sometimes gets things right, and often times doesn’t. Johnson is Mead Treadwell’s friend and stayed in his house last year. Continue reading


Primary race predictions

Here are some flying-by-the-seat-of my-pants predictions for what’s going to happen in tomorrow’s primary races. I did not cover all the contested races. I chose the races that were interesting and that I knew something about. These predictions come from various interviews, lots of reading, and checking campaign finance reports. (See the most recent story on the reports here). But mostly, I’m going by gut feelings. Please keep in mind that primary races are tremendously impacted by turnout, unpredictable, and GOP primaries are all the more so. So there’s a good chance that I’m wrong on at least a few of these. Maybe more. Please leave comments with your own predictions and insights.

U.S. Senate GOP primary race: Joe Miller has certainly picked up steam in the final leg of this campaign. Mailers are being dropped. Phones are ringing off the hook. Mike Huckabee’s and Sarah Palin’s voices are floating through the wires. Sign wavers are out in droves. All of which should serve as a lesson to every candidate everywhere about the necessity of keeping something for the end. Continue reading


Pre-primary tidbits and tweets before noon

From the Wall Street Journal:

“During a Monday interview on Anchorage radio station KOAN-AM, Mr. Sullivan five different times declined to say whether he is ideologically closer to Mr. Miller or Ms. Murkowski. He said both that he didn’t vote in the 2010 Senate race because, as attorney general, he would have to act on post-election litigation and “someone would say, ‘were you on this person’s side or that person’s side.’”


Loose Lips: District N = ‘New Life In Christ?’ Young’s getting hitched. Claman gets polled.

Loose LipsDid you know Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was in Anchorage this week? Me either. I must have missed that press release. Gillibrand was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Hillary Clinton’s appointment to be Secretary of State. She is best known for her leadership in the fight to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and to end sexual harassment and violence in the military. In Alaska, however, she’s known as being a “liberal, anti-gun Democrat.” In 2013, Alaska Republicans made a big deal out of a visit, claiming that she and Begich were parading around the state, raising money. Wrong. Turns out that Gillibrand was here to conduct a round-table with Begich on sexual assault, and that Begich didn’t attend the fundraiser with her last year. This year’s an even worse year to be seen with a “liberal, anti-gun Democrat.” So on Saturday, the Alaska Democratic Party celebrated her presence quietly. Spotted at the event through a Facebook posting: state House candidate Laurie Hummel, Kay Brown and Rep. Geran Tarr. Not spotted: Mark Begich. Continue reading


Democratic lt. gov. candidate Bob Williams’ final TV ad

Here’s Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Bob Williams’ final TV ad before the primary. It’s playing statewide on KTUU-Channel 2. Williams, a math teacher in Wasilla, is new to the political stage. He’s challenging Alaska state Sen. Hollis French, who has strong name recognition — one, if not the main criteria to win a lieutenant governor’s race in an Alaska primary. French is also widely respected in Democratic circles. Williams is no slouch though. He’s given it a shot. He’s traveled widely throughout the state and has had some impressive endorsements, including Democratic icon Katie Hurley, and Alison Arians, who’s emerged as a leader in the fight for public education. While never perfect, his ads are also getting better as he goes along. This one was shot by him on his Samsung phone and edited by a colleague.

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Loose Lips: Bearup sets up. Reinbold’s revolving door. Politicking at the temple.

18955141_mChristopher Clark, the always helpful and gracious long-time Juneau fixture and top-notch staffer to Rep. Cathy Munoz is said to be retiring in October. Munoz has hired Crystal Koeneman to try to fill his big shoes. Most recently. Koeneman worked for Rep. Lora Reinbold. Before that, she worked for Commerce as the commissioner’s special assistant and legislative liaison. (Bumper sticker idea: Once a cushy state job in Alaska, always a cushy state job in Alaska.) Rumor has it that Koeneman has been rumored to be looking for a new job for some time. Reinbold’s not been great at keeping staff. Here’s hoping that Koeneman’s replacement, Dean Williams from Eagle River, stays around for a while. Williams served as the superintendent of the McLaughlin Youth Center and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Anchorage School Board.

I was traveling through the Kenai, Soldotna, Nikiski area earlier this week and saw lots and lots of No on #1 signs. The GOP Senate sign war in this area seems to be won by Joe Miller with Dan Sullivan in a respectable chase. Continue reading


Yes or No on repeal, Alaska’s got a big government problem

The IBEW and the Alaska State Employees Association—both of which represent thousands of government workers–have endorsed “Yes” ballot measure 1, to repeal the oil tax. Meanwhile, four trade unions – Teamsters Local 959, Plumbers & Pipefitters United Association Local 375 in Fairbanks, Operating Engineers Local 302 and Laborers Local 942 –have urged voters to vote “No” on the repeal. Those unions get substantial amounts of work from the oil fields.

The debate is complex. Production curves. Rates of return. New versus old production. Legacy fields versus non unitized areas. Personalities and conflicting numbers. All of these things and more add to the stew that’s makes up the oil tax debate.

But the public union endorsements add to my suspicion that at its heart, the most recent incarnation of the fight over oil taxes—a fight that the state has been having since Prudhoe was discovered in 1968—is really more simple than all of this. When you get down to it, the biggest elephant in the room lives in the state coffers, where it involves, among other weighty things, public employee versus private sector jobs. And that’s an elephant that few, at least in government, want to talk about. Continue reading


Palin returns the favor by endorsing Miller for Senate

After Joe Miller said in a debate on Thursday night that Sarah Palin is the figure in Alaska that most inspires him, Palin returned the favor by endorsing Miller for U.S. Senate.

“We said we’d send the good guys in Washington their reinforcements, so, Alaska, here we go! Vote for Joe Miller on Tuesday and shake off the liberal stronghold so we can get on the right track,” Palin said in a statement sent not to the local media, but to Fox News in New York on a Friday late afternoon, which is traditionally time to release news when you don’t want it to be news.

In 2010, Palin declined to work hard for Miller’s campaign after he won the 2010 primary. Part of the problem then was that when asked in an interview, Miller declined to say that Palin was qualified to be President of United States. Continue reading