Monthly Archives: October 2014

Local pollster has Parnell up 2, Senate candidate Sullivan down 10 against Begich.

Anchorage based pollster Marc Hellenthal released a poll of 403 like Alaska voters interviewed October 15- 21. The poll asked about the Senate race, the House race, and the governor’s race. It was paid for by lobbyist Sam Kito. The polls show Gov. Sean Parnell with a slim lead over unaffiliated and Alaska Democratic Party-endorsed candidate Bill Walker. Rep. Don Young has an 18 point lead over Democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar. What’s most surprising, however, is that it shows GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan down 10 points against Democrat Sen. Mark Begich. That number’s greatly at odds with other polls released. However, Begich has been fighting hard for the seat in the last weeks, particularly in rural Alaska.  That said, the sample size is small and the time in the field is long. Here are screen-grabs of charts from Hellenthal’s poll. The “general percent,” category is Hellenthal’s prediction if the undecideds were divvied up between the candidates.

hellenthal sullivan begich Continue reading


Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.24

  • Those who purchased tickets for yesterday’s NRC debate between U.S. Senator Mark Begich and his challenger Dan Sullivan, saw some sparks flying over Begich’s record regarding resource development, particularly on his refusal to answer how he voted on SB 21’s repeal. But much of the debate was centered around U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Don’t take my word for it; Nathaniel Herz and Austin Baird also made the same connection.
  • Note to self, if you own a bar that is directly across the street from where a huge annual convention takes place, maybe it’s best not have a Mondo sign advertising beer specials using said convention’s logo, as was the case with McGinley’s, the bar that Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan owns a slice of. AFN, who noted the unpleasant history with the product being sold, complained. McGinley’s took it down. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez has the story.
  • KTVA has some explaining to do. First, they “accidentally” played U.S. Senator Mark Begich’s original Hortonesque Jerry Active ad earlier than planned over Labor Day weekend, and then yesterday the highly dissed Active commercial “accidently” was played again 12 days before the election. Maybe in a post-Citizens United election year, when they’re raking it in by the barrel-full, they could make sure to try to get these things right.
  • Didn’t know anything about First Lady Sandy Parnell? Neither did I. Read about her here.

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Meet Sandy Parnell, the First Lady you wish you had met sooner.

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


Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.23

  • Both GOP candidate Dan Sullivan and Gov. Sean Parnell have said, including in a statement in response to a question by a KTVA reporter, that Sullivan knew nothing about the National Guard scandal when he was Alaska’s AG. However, that fact didn’t stop KTVA reporter Kate McPherson from reporting that Sullivan won’t answer questions about it. It also kept her from including a statement from Sullivan in her original storyThe Daily Kos, to name just one, salivated. “The scandal that threatens Alaska Republicans,” they wrote. For sure.
  • In a recent interview Sen. Mark Begich has made a few remarks that have caused a mini uproar. In an interview with both the Alaska Dispatch and the Washington Examiner, Begich said what many other Democratic candidates have been too scared to do, admitted that he had voted for Obama. That’s not the only eyebrow raising remark said on record, oh no. “Obama is not relevant” is beginning to trend amongst Outside media groups. USA Today, the HuffingtonPost, The Week, Fox News, BritBart and many more.
  • Don Young is making another media cycle stemming from his apology about what he said to a group of school children two days ago. According to the Dispatch, Young is now standing behind his comments to the kids and has added government to his blame game.

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Loose Lips: Saving souls and votes. Tolstoy saw Wasilla from his house. Grrl power in the House.

loose lipsIn 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:

Paln welcome to the tea party

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Comment of the day: Palin’s Walker-Mallott endorsement causes consternation at home

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.)


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.)

palin walker endorsement

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.


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.

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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:


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:


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..

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