Where Senate President Harry Reid’s ears might have been burning this afternoon? They should have been, Here’s one recap, courtesy of KTUU’s Austin Baird, of the Senate debate between Sen. Mark Begich and GOP challenger Dan Sullivan:
Here’s another recap: Continue reading
Did you know that Sandy Parnell had a job until her husband was appointed governor? Did you know that she has two daughters, one of whom is expecting her first child in 3 weeks? Did you know that she shops at Banana Republic, loves living in Juneau—though it can be a little lonely—that she’s kind, humble, authentically religious, and that she wells up when she talks about her experiences visiting domestic violence shelters?
I, for one, knew none of this, and don’t think I’m alone. That might be because like the rest of the media, I hadn’t thought to ask. After the Palins left office in 2009, the whole state, including the press corps, was burned out on politics intermingled with the personal. We didn’t want a governor’s office distorted by big personalities. We wanted people who put their heads down and got to work. And the new governor complied. You can agree or disagree with the policies that Gov. Sean Parnell has enacted, but you can’t argue that he’s been ineffective in implementing them. He oversaw a mammoth oil tax overhaul. He quietly got us out of the AGIA contract, and a natural gas pipeline is closer than it’s ever been.
And for the first time since I’ve lived in Alaska, there’s the beginnings of a frank and open dialogue about the scourge of sexual abuse in this state. (If Parnell does lose, it will be the height of cruel irony that he did so as a result of a sexual abuse scandal.)
It may be that the governor’s accomplishments will be deemed insufficient. Or it may be that we miss those days of high drama and headlines. At any rate, whatever the verdict, it can’t be said that the governor, a serious man, didn’t give it his best. And the same is true of his wife.
Sandy Parnell, Continue reading
In 1971, the dream of the trans-Alaska pipeline was becoming a reality. The Native Claims Settlement Act was being settled. Steel was being ordered. Tractors being juiced. The Teamsters were dreaming in dollars. Texans and Okies were packing their bags and Reverend Jerry Prevo saw him a big chance to build a big church and save lots of souls. As a business model, it worked. Throughout the years, the Anchorage Baptist Temple has turned into a powerhouse of God and politics. On Sunday, ABT celebrated its 43rd pastoral anniversary. About 1800 parishioners attended the ceremony including Gov. Sean and Sandy Parnell, Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie, Rep. Don Young and his fiancé Ann, Sen. Cathy Giessel and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.
This one, on the Sarah Palin endorsement of Walker-Mallott, says so much:
A reader’s comment, lightly edited, on the story about Sarah Palin endorsing the Walker-Mallott ticket:
Well, the mood is bad around the homestead this evening, Wife insists it’s time for her to move back to the East Coast. Claims that between having no real Democrat on the ticket for governor and now this thing with Palin endorsing the quasi Democrat, it’s the last straw. Says she misses the East Coast. Says back there the Democrats are ‘Liberals’ not ‘Progressives’ and that besides that they are loyal to the party.
For my part, I told her she should be happy… We been hitched near on 20 years, never missed an election and this’ll be the first time we voted the same ticket. (I’ll admit I’m a bit shocked as well.)
Many more after the jump. Continue reading
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.)
UPDATE II: Here’s the press release confirming the endorsement: Continue reading
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.
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
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:
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:
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
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: