To help him deliver his closing argument to voters in one of the country’s most contentious Senate races, Republican candidate Dan Sullivan is bringing a political odd couple to Alaska. Mitt Romney, the GOP’s 2012 nominee and tacit head of the party’s establishment, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a tea party firebrand, are both jetting to the Last Frontier to boost Sullivan in the runup to Election Day. Sullivan, campaigning to unseat Sen. Mark Begich (D), will spend this Saturday and Sunday flying around the state with Cruz. The two will headline get-out-the-vote rallies in four of the state’s main population areas — Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, Fairbanks and the Kenai Peninsula — according to a Sullivan campaign source who requested anonymity because the events have not yet been announced.
Comment from Lynn Willis, in response to my fear of buying a home given the scary drop in oil prices:
I cannot control what has been done to us by the current crew in Juneau. Remember a single political party has absolutely controlled the House and Governor’s office for the past four years and the entire state government for the last two years. They have hyper- inflated the economy as did their predecessors in the 1980’s and I fear with falling oil prices the state economy will again hollow itself out. You would think they would learn. This time the situation is much more perilous because in the 80’s we had the production levels so we only needed an increase in price. Now we have to realize both increased production and price and that will be much more difficult.
I hope you can afford a home. Perhaps you should wait patiently. I bought a condo in 1983 Continue reading →
The DSCC has come out with a new ad titled, “Everything You Need to Know.” As in everything you need to know about GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s stances regarding women’s access to medical care from how he answered the Alaska Family Action questionnaire. Also, here’s Sullivan’s most recent ad. It’s a doozy. Here they are:
Two candidates for the Senate–Sen. Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan–shared the stage in Fairbanks with House candidates Rep. Don Young, Democrat Forrest Dunbar and Libertarian candidate Jim McDermott. The forum was sponsored by the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.
With such big personalities on stage, many thought that the forum would be filed with fireworks. Judging from the twitter feed, and from reports back, the fireworks were kind of duds. The Senate race took up most of the air in the room, and at this point, those two candidates are so scripted that spontaneity was virtually impossible. The one piece of news, if you want to call it that, that came out of the forum was when Begich said that although he didn’t support the Pebble Mine, he also didn’t support EPA preemptively shutting the mine down, which appears at odds with other recent statements.
Here’s some tweets from the forum, thanks in large part to the reports at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, who know how to tweet right. Continue reading →
The Dispatch’s Richard Mauer wrote about an email exchange between Gov. Sean Parnell’s chief-of-staff and Parnell’s sexual assault coordinator in November 2010, that talks about rampant problems in the Guard. The piece also confirms that that governor’s office brought the FBI into the mix a month before, in October, and that the six week FBI investigation into “assault, sexual abuse, misuse of resources, drug trafficking and transporting illegal weapons” led to nothing.
The Juneau Empire proved that it’s not entirely predictable. Today the paper endorsed Gov. Sean Parnell for another term, citing Bill Walker’s potentially reckless approach to the natural gas pipeline and his vague answers to specific questions. The best line of the piece: “Walker, while a strong candidate, feels like a rogue. We’ve had enough of rogues.” That was a risky endorsement considering that Walker’s lt. gov. candidate, Byron Mallott, lives in Juneau.
The Hill has a piece about growing Republican confidence in Senate control. That might have been a bit premature since Salon and the New York Times both report that the latest polls putting Sen. Mark Begich in a lead is throwing “Senate calculus” into the air.
Here’s the most terrifying chart of the day, courtesy of Business Insider, illustrating a story about how crude dropped below $80 a barrel on Monday. Please tell me again why anyone wants to be governor?
Below is a summary from local pollster Ivan Moore’s most recent poll that shows Sen. Mark Begich up about 8 points against GOP senate candidate Dan Sullivan. Depending on what sample is used, the poll also has Rep. Don Young beating Forrest Dunbar by 2 percentage points, or losing to him by about 6 percentage points. Moore’s polls are at odds with other recent polls. Moore does polling for a number of different clients; however, he’s most well known for polling for unions. He declined to say who paid for this one, but did say that it wasn’t paid for by a candidate, a candidate PAC or independent group. “Just a regular run of the mill private client,” he said. Here’s the summary: Continue reading →
In a normal race, the Republican Governor’s Association would have been making its presence known to Alaskans a long time ago, instead of one week before the race. However, the governor’s race in Alaska has been anything but normal. Trying to explaining the formation of the Unity ticket to someone in D.C., makes you understand the way Ron Paulites feel when they try to explain the Federal Reserve conspiracy. It sounds too odd to be taken seriously. However, someone—likely former AK GOP Chair Randy Ruedrich, who’s the treasurer for an RGA-funded Independent Expenditure group that began Monday running ads here– convinced someone, somewhere to take it serously. However, instead of focusing on Bill Walker and his vague gasline plans, promises to cut to the budget, the millions have been spent by him by the Alaska Gasline Port Authority, this commercial focuses on Walker’s alleged support for ObamaCare, as if we weren’t ObamaCare saturated already.
First, to be clear, Walker has said that he opposes ObamaCare and that he would have voted against it had he had the chance. However Walker has also said that one of the first things he’d do if elected governor would be to accept federal money to expand Medicaid, which Gov. Sean Parnell has refused to do. There was a pretty good argument to be made early on that the success of ObamaCare was tied to Medicaid expansion, and if enough states declined the funds, then the Act would eventually fail. In fact, Sarah Palin, who endorsed Walker recently, made that case herself and urged governor’s not to support expansion. However, at this point, it’s clear that not enough states rejected those federal dollars to have an impact. And the states that have rejected expansion are losing out to state’s that have taken the money. It’s also clear ObamaCare is here to stay, whether we like it or not. Will the ad have an impact? Who knows. This state continually surprises.
Last night’s gubernatorial debate hosted by KTUU was captivating due to the high stakes from the Walker/Mallot campaign. While the footage from the debate isn’t up yet, you can read the interesting tweets about the event to get the gist of why many believe last night was Gov. Sean Parnell’s. The AP’s Becky Bohrer has a more objective account.
YourAlaskaLink spotted U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan at an Eagle River Gun Show at the local VFW on Saturday. It appears that Mr. Sullivan has taken a page from Sen. Mark Begich’s “no gathering is too small” campaign playbook by working the crowds that could be the deciding factor in who wins on November 4. Just hanging around a gun show also helps support the Washington Examiner’s affectionate nickname for Sullivan as “Alaska’s Happy Warrior.”
An outlier poll released Friday shows a surge in support for U.S. Senator Mark Begich against Dan Sullivan. Nathaniel Herz has the lowdown on who’s behind that poll. Another poll conducted by Senate Majority PAC shows the race in a dead heat at 44 to 44 percent. The same polling firm had Begich up 45 to 40 percent in early September.
Local realtors, smarting over the fact that the National Realtors PAC is supporting Sen. Mark Begich, had a fundraiser for GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan on Thursday night that drew about 75 people. Sen. Lisa Murkowski showed and reportedly gave a rousing speech. The hosts included Michael Droege, Bob Baer, the recent named Realtor of the Year in Anchorage, and Buddy Bailey of Bailey’s Furniture fame, sans basketball. Others spotted: Dan Wolf, Mike Mosesian, Gabe Stephan, state Sen. Lesil McGuire, Kevin Sweeney, Frank McQueary and a gaggle of real estate agents.
With just a little over a week to go until Election Day, many candidates are at each other’s throats. Not so with Fairbanks candidates in Senate District C. The incumbent Republican candidate Sen. Click Bishop was seen having lunch on Friday at the Lucky Wishbone Restaurant in Anchorage with his Democratic opponent Dorothy Shockley who is also a cousin to Bishop’s wife. Others seen at The Bone during the same lunch hour: Barrow resident and former ASRC executive Oliver Leavitt and, DOA commissioner Curtis Thayer and his son Matthew.
From the grumbly and disgruntled: Did an APOC commissioner really move to North Carolina and is still serving on the Commission? Is the state going to have to pay for the travel?
Is peace in the Middle East at hand? Don’t count on it. Rev. Jerry Prevo and a group of about 50 Anchorage Baptist Temple parishioners are in Israel this week. Continue reading →
Sunday night saw the biggest, and likely the most important gubernatorial debate of the election season on KTUU. All the hot button topics were touched on: the National Guard scandal, the budget, gay marriage, and of course, the natural gas pipeline. The debate was particularly important for Bill Walker, the Republican turned independent, who many hadn’t heard of before the Democrats agreed to endorse him as governor. Polls have shown him leading, but with a large margin undecided. Gov. Sean Parnell has never been a strong debater—and has wilted in the past on the stage. On Sunday, however, he didn’t do that. It’s hard to say if he did well, or if Walker just failed to shine. But the general consensus is that this one went to Parnell.
Here’s some tweets about the debate, in no particular order.
Great job by Steve MacDonald. He’s been fantastic this campaign season. Guess I’ll leave it at that. #akgov#akelect
From Sarah Palin’s Facebook page on why she’s supporting Bill Walker and Byron Mallott:
Unfortunately, in desperation to halt Team Walker’s momentum, lies are running rampant. Sadly, one such lie is about their faith. Don’t believe the million dollar Outside money ads perpetuating misrepresentations; just ask the guys themselves where they stand. For example, on the issue of respecting a culture of life, a pro-family group is grossly misrepresenting Bill’s position. He is unapologetically pro-life. Groups, individuals, and incumbent politicians telling you otherwise are untruthful, and that says everything about their character. Shame on people who know better and are in positions to counter lies but turn a blind eye instead. This kind of politics of personal destruction is why our country is hurting; adding to the pain are attempts here in Alaska to destroy a good man. Participants in this do not deserve your support.
Everyone will tell you that the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem. Rep. Don Young did that in a speech at AFN today, where he said that he “mangled” some statements about suicide recently as a result of personal issues with the issue: namely, the suicide of his own nephew.
“I will tell you how many times I’ve asked myself, ‘Did I do enough? Did I take a nephew away from an abusive father? Did I love him enough? Did I do enough?’ And apparently I did not,” he said.
Young’s even running an ad, kind of sort of admitting to the problem. Listen to that here:
The AFN crowd is generally a forgiving bunch. And it all might have ended there, if not for this video from KTUU. Whether or not it’s fair or legit, is beside the point, it’s out there. And it’s going to hurt.
Here’s the latest ad from the pro-Begich PAC, Put Alaska First, going after Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. The ad has the feel of a closer. (Though trying to tie Sullivan into the National Guard scandal will be tempting, but risky, because it appears there’s no there there.) In any case, it’s kind of a compilation of the ads that have run before it, all with the same theme: Sullivan’s not one of us, and he’s willing to sell Alaska out to corporate masters. Although it’s nearly completely funded by Senate Majority PAC, Jim Lottsfeldt, from Anchorage, runs Put Alaska First, and understands what sets Alaskans off: land and fishing rights, to name a few.
Harstad Strategic Research, which is polling for the Senate Majority PAC and Put Alaska First, released yet another poll, showing the race between Sen. Mark Begich and GOP challenger Dan Sullivan in a dead heat: 44 to 44 percent, with 4 percent going to Libertarian Mark Fish and 7 percent undecided. The poll surveyed 700 likely voters October 18–22.
I don’t have the poll’s cross tabs, but the memo accompanying the poll says that Begich is doing better among Democrats than Sullivan is among Republicans: 94 to 82 percent, respectively. It also shows Begich 9 points up with women, and with a wide lead among independents: 47 percent to 29 percent. It has Sullivan up with men by 11 percent. According to the pollsters, “This race in the Frontier state could not be closer, and the outcome will probably depend upon which side has the better field operation.”