Palins endorse Walker-Mallott

Bill Walker and Byron Mallott are racking up the endorsements. In the last few days, they’ve been endorsed by the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, and the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp. And last night, I’m told, Walker and his wife Donna appeared at a function with Sarah and Todd Palin, who gave them their endorsement. I’ve emailed and called the Walker campaign to confirm, but haven’t heard back. Until I do, here’s the picture that’s floating around the tubes, commemorating the moment. (UPDATE: Just checked my email. Walker’s spokeswoman said she’s working on a release. So I’m taking the question mark down from the headline.)

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UPDATE II: Here’s the press release confirming the endorsement: Continue reading


Pro-Walker-Mallott group release ad featuring National Guard victim

Here’s the recent ad from the Independent Expenditure group, Alaskans for Walker-Mallott. As of October 14, the group reported raising $350,000. Barney Gottstein and lawyer Robin Brena had each given $50,000, and the Alaska State Employees Association has given the group $10,000. The Alaska AFL-CIO contributed the remaining amount.

Gov. Sean Parnell supporters  will call foul over the heavy union involvement. But in the end, it’s not going to matter much. The ad features Melissa Jones, who was sexually assaulted while serving in the National Guard. It’s brutal for the governor.

UPDATE: The Alaska Dispatch had previously published a story about Melissa Jones, who is featured in the ad. It appears that her assault took place in 2007, before Parnell’s tenure as governor. Jones didn’t know if it was a fellow National Guard member who assaulted her, or someone else. She didn’t go to the police, but told a chaplain about it, who told others. All of this happened during Sarah Palin’s time in office. Still, the message is clear and it’s a powerful ad.

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Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10. 22

  • What does Young’s recent gaffe mean for Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar? Could he have been a contender? Read my take on that here.
  • Sen. Mark Begich is now not the only one to receive direct contributions from the Koch brothers. At long last, candidate Dan Sullivan got him some of that.
  • The Fairbanks News-Miner has a nifty online candidates Q&A site that you have to search the site to find. But once you do, it’s worth it, if nothing else to read how Bill Walker answers the abortion question and what Alaska Constitution Party candidate J.R. Myers and Libertarian candidate ‘Care’ Clift think of subsidies for refineries.
  • The Matanuska-Susitna Borough School District has joined with the Anchorage School District in suspending military recruiters access to students while on school property. Both school districts have chosen this step as a temporary measure to protect students from further abuse like the alleged cases mentioned in recently leaked Alaska Army National Guard files, per the Dispatch. The Fairbanks News Miner reports that the Fairbanks School District has “no plans to ban recruiters” on their school grounds.

Continue reading


Dunbar on Young: ‘Schools should think twice before exposing youth to Congressman Young’

According to the Alaska Dispatch, Rep. Don Young “acted in a disrespectful and sometimes offensive manner to some students, used profanity and started talking about bull sex when confronted with a question about same-sex marriage,” during a visit to Wasilla High School on Tuesday. Worse yet, he made insensitive statements about suicide, days after a student who went to the school committed suicide.

Young’s spokesperson subsequently apologized, and said that Young should have taken a “much more sensitive approach” while speaking to the 120 or so students.

It was just that latest in a string of potentially embarrassing incidents involving Young, including, but not limited to, threatening to kill his challenger like he did “the other guy,” making goofy faces on the House floor while another House member was talking about a veteran who was killed in action, twisting the arm of a House aide, and barging through a House security barricade. All this just this year alone.

Democratic candidate Forrest Dunbar, as he should have, pounced. Continue reading


Sandy Parnell hits the airwaves in defense of her husband

Here’s an ad that began running state wide today featuring First Lady Sandy Parnell, coming to the defense of her husband on the National Guard scandal. I can’t say for sure that I’ve seen all the ads playing in the governor’s race, but this is the most effective one that I have seen. If anything will work to ensure Alaskans that the governor is taking this issue seriously, it’s more ads like this, talking directly to Alaskans, and more of Mrs. Parnell, who has kept herself out of the spotlight during her husband’s tenure. (I sat down recently with Mrs. Parnell. Expect a story on that soon.) Watch here:

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Begich doesn’t rule out voting for Reid to be Majority Leader again

As he’s done from the beginning of this race, GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan generally spoke in platitudes at Tuesday’s Senate debate in Kenai. He spoke about federal overreach, about the EPA, and of course about Obama and ObamaCare. Sen. Mark Begich, as he’s done from the beginning of the race, localized the issues. He spoke about the Magnuson Stevens Act, about the number of people in Alaska that have been helped by ObamaCare, and about his work on the VA system. Joined by Libertarian candidate Mark Fish, who salted the debate nicely, they both did a pretty good job speaking to their respective bases.

If any candidate will be hurt by the debate, it’s Begich for declining to rule out voting for Sen. Harry Reid to be the next Senate Majority Leader if the Democrats stay in power. Begich’s super-PAC is almost entirely underwritten by Reid’s Senate Majority PAC, which puts him in an awkward position.

Not 10 minutes after he said it, GOPers across the state and the country were retweeting the segment.

Is it fair? Here’s what Reid told a reporter in 2006 about his fight to keep ANWR closed: “ANWR will not happen. I am opposed to it. That was one of the joys of my life was when we defeated that legislative initiative of Sen. Stevens to drill in ANWR.”

That Reid quote is new to me, and likely to many Alaskans too. It could be devastating.

Listen to Begich here:

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Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.21

  • Ebola politics have officially hit Alaska. TribTown reports that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich has called on the president to implement more screens at more international airports while the Fairbanks News-Miner reports that U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has expressed concern, and that the president might consider banning/restricting travel from African countries fighting Ebola. Just in time too because The Hill is breaking with news that Ebola travel restrictions have just now been imposed.
  • A recording of Gov. Sean Parnell talking to the National Guard troops was leaked to the Dispatch. Apparently, Parnell can have a potty mouth when not in church, which is actually a relief to some.  In that same story, the Dispatch reports that three in the Guard brass were fired, two of the officers who were fired before, then rehired, or something.
  • APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez reports on how the gasline is increasingly becoming the campaign issue in the governor’s race. Nobody is disputing that the project is farther than it’s ever been, and Bill Walker vows not to tear up what’s been done. However, he wants fundamental change, which to some, sounds like he wants to over..

Continue reading


LeDoux v Hummel: The nail biter in East Anchorage. Gruenberg coasting to victory.

Senate District H is located in East Anchorage centering in Muldoon and stretching onto the military base, JBER-Elmendorf. It’s an ethnically diverse, transient district. Because of its constantly moving population, local pollsters will tell you that it’s probably the most difficult district in the state to survey, which also makes it a bear to run in. The Senate seat in this district is held by Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski, who is extraordinarily popular and won’t be up for reelection until 2016. And, the House race in one of the two House districts–District 15—is almost sure to stay with the Democratic incumbent Rep. Max Gruenberg who is running against Republican challenger Don Hadley. However, the race in House District 16 between two smart and capable women–Republican incumbent Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, and Democratic challenger Laurie Hummel—is a nail biter.

Here’s a little about the candidates running, and my take on the current status of these races, for what it’s worth. Continue reading


Another attack likely coming at Begich courtesy of Obama

A few weeks ago, President Obama sent a thrill up the legs of Republicans when he said during a speech that while he wasn’t on the ballot on Nov. 4, his policies were. Cue the attack ads.

In an interview with Rev. Al Sharpton on Monday, Obama gave them an even bigger leg-thrill when he spoke about red-state candidates, like presumably Sen. Mark Begich, who are keeping their distance from him on the campaign trail.

“The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me. They have supported my agenda in Congress,” Obama said. “These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me. I tell them — I said, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure that our voters turn out.”

Cue the attack ad.

Watch the clip here, clipped lovingly courtesy of the GOP:

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Charlo ‘f*ck it, I quit’ Greene keeps smoking it

I know enough people whose lives have been damaged from the legal consequences of smoking pot, that I’ll likely vote to legalize marijuana. (If I had any faith that the Legislature would decriminalize it, I’d take a wait-and-see approach. But now that Sen. Fred Dyson retired, courage on this issue is barely existent in Juneau.) That said, if there was one thing that would convince me otherwise, it’s that Charlo “’f*ck it, I quit” Greene is a spokesperson for it. Here she is talking to High Times about how “over the moon,” she was when she visited Colorado and was able to buy weed with a credit card, about her favorite strain of pot, and about how kids aren’t walking around Colorado, with a joint between their lips, walking out on their jobs, embarrassing their colleagues, offending their viewing audiences. You know, that kind of thing.

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Begich’s latest feel-good ad

The U.S .Senate race has scarred both candidates running, but judging by approval ratings, Begich’s scars are deeper than are GOP challenger Dan Sullivan’s. The only way to try to heal those are positive messages, like those in the most current ad that the campaign is running. The campaign is likely to come out swinging against Sullivan again soon. For now, however, we can feel good for at least a little while:

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Two views of Parnell’s closed-door meeting with National Guard troops

From the Fairbanks News-Miner:

On Sunday afternoon, Gov. Sean Parnell held a closed-door meeting with soldiers in the Alaska National Guard in Anchorage…It’s certainly a good idea to involve front-line Guard members in reforming their organization, presuming they aren’t completely distrustful of the command structure after years of abuses. But it seems like a poor move by Gov. Parnell — who is already under fire for his office’s stonewalling of requests for documents relating to the scandal — to once again shut the door on the public and the press as he deals with the fallout.

Here’s what Rep. Don Young’s long-time campaign manager had to say about the meeting:

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Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.20

  • Politico partnered with SocialSphere Inc. to conduct their latest survey from 840 likely voters in states with competitive Senate (yes, including Alaska) and/or House races across the U.S. The intent of the survey was to track opinions over the final six months of the 2014 election cycle.   The overall nuggets of interest show that 44% of those polled were going to vote for the Democratic candidate and 41% for the Republican candidate. On a current hot topic: 43% likely Republican voters and 81% of likely Democratic voters polled felt “a lot” or “some” confidence that the U.S. “is doing everything possible to contain the spread of Ebola.”
  • Read all about who’s more interested in walking holes into the soles of their boots than watching “Kinky Boots.”
  • TalkingPointsMemo declares that St. Paul Island is going to be the remote part of Alaska that determines the fate of the U.S. Senate. How much smaller and remote are future articles going to get in the battle over the Senate? I say that the patrons of Skinny Dicks Halfway Inn are going to decide the fate of the world.
  • Meet the other two U.S. Senate candidates, whose names will be appearing alongside U.S. Senator Mark Begich and main challenger Dan Sullivan. KTUU’s Grace Jang has an article detailing Mark Fish and Ted Gianoutsos’ background and their individual campaign focus issues.
  • The Hill is reporting that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell intends to use the last of the lame duck session to pass necessary legislation so the assumed 2015 GOP led Senate has a “clean slate” to begin their new legislative agenda.

Continue reading


Loose Lips: In the back room with Petraeus. Kinky Boots. Williams off to get the Zulu vote.

15770860_mA group of Alaskans including Revenue Commissioner Angela Rodell, University regent Kirk Wickersham, and Bering Straits Native Corporation President and chair of the state’s retirement fund Gail Schubert, were seen earlier this week in New York City, where they were spotted following former general and CIA Chief David Petraeus into a banquet room, and were never seen again. (Ha!) Petraeus is now the chairman of the recently created KKR Global Institute, a subsidiary of the giant KKR private equity firm. Chances are the Alaskans were all at an investment conference where the former general was wooing them in hopes of securing state investment dollars for future KKR investments and leverage-buyout deals.

Meanwhile, later in the week in the Big Apple, a trio of other Alaskans were seen on Broadway, in “Kinky Boots.” If you’re wondering, quit: It’s a very popular Tony Award-winning musical.

On Friday, as far away from anything to do with kinky boots, the hot political event in Soldotna was a Parnell – Sullivan campaign fundraiser at the home of David and Linda Hutchings. About 50 showed. Among those spotted: Rep. Kurt and Barbara Olson, Rep. Mike Chenault, Sen. Peter Micciche and his daughter, Sophia (who presented the First Lady with a homemade necklace), Sue Carter, Dr. Jason and Anna Lattin, Soldotna City Manager Mark Dixson, ASHNHA’s Dennis Murray, James and Renee Duncan, Challenger Learning Center CEO Marnie Olcott and her husband Greg, Regina Daniels of Davis Block & Concrete, Kelli Brewer, Gary and Helen Knopp of G & H Contracting, Chad Schaefer of Cruz Companies, McDonald’s proprietor Scott Cunningham, and Dick & Stephanie Erkeneff.  Continue reading


Q&A with Libertarian candidate for governor ‘Care’ Clift

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We don’t hear a lot from Carolyn “Care” Clift, who’s running for governor on the Libertarian ticket, and one of two women running for statewide office. (The other is Maria Rensel, who’s running for lt. gov. on the Alaska Constitution Party ticket.) So I thought I’d ask her a few questions.

First some background:  Clift moved from Arizona to Alaska with her husband Rob in 1979 to Aniak, where, while raising three children, she held various jobs, mostly in the education field. In 1996, Clift was hired by the Anchorage School District to teach special education, which she did for 17 years. Clift was always a libertarian, but became more involved with the Alaska Libertarian Party in 2010, after she retired from full-time teaching. While teaching part-time, she served as the communications director, treasurer, and now secretary of the Alaska Libertarian Party.  When the question of who could run as governor came up, Clift volunteered.  She feels that her background in organizational skills in both rural and urban settings gives her the insight to meet Alaska’s needs.

How are you different from the two major party candidates running for governor? Continue reading