Did 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.
We all know that politicians, at least on the outside, have healthy egos and are self-confident. Still, it must be a little disconcerting if you’re a politician and a pollster calls and asks you if you have a positive or negative opinion about yourself. Do you answer truthfully, like really truthfully and say, “Well, not always?” Anchorage House candidate Matt Claman faced such a conundrum this week, when he got one such phone call. Did he have a positive opinion of himself? Yes, he told the pollster, although like any good, honest human, there was some hesitation.
The residents of Houston, Alaska watched their population triple on Saturday as the community celebrated Founders’ Day. From all accounts, it was a wholesome event. Free food. Egg tosses. Blueberry pies. A drunk… I mean a dunk tank. It was sponsored by BP and Gorilla Fireworks, the store on the side of the highway with the big gorilla out front, for which Houston is best known. The grand finale of the fireworks display that spelled out, as you might guess, Vote No on #1. Politicians spotted: state House candidates Roger Purcell and Cathy Tilton; Sen. Mike Dunleavy; and, Rep. Wes Keller.
Local radio talk show guru Rick Rydell, along with co-hosts Anchorage Assembly member Amy Demboski and Rep. Bill Stoltze, hosted a fundraiser at the Time Out Lounge to support the Honor Flight Network which provides transportation for WWII vets to visit the WWII memorial in Washington D.C. Some of the other politicians that turned out for the event included: gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker; Rep. Don Young; Rep. Lora Reinbold; Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell; Sen. Charlie Huggins; and Anchorage Assemblyman Bill Evans.
The House race in the Valley between Republicans Cathy Tilton and Mat-Su Borough Assemblyman Ron Arvin has until very recently, been pretty civil. On Saturday, however, Valley residents got a rather dark mailer reminding them that Arvin spent months out of the country last year, missing more than half of the Assembly meetings during his second term “What would happen if you showed up only 40 % of the time to your job?” the mailer says. It reminds voters that Arvin wasn’t at the Assembly meeting where his absences were discussed. (According to a resolution excusing Arvin, he was working in Taiwan, “building a facility for the U.S. government to use for diplomatic purposes.”)
As is the tradition, the Anchorage Baptist Temple hosted their “candidates Sunday” on the 17th. Among those who showed: Gov. Sean Parnell; Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker’s wife, Donna, was there representing her husband with his running mate Craig Fleener; Democratic lt. gov. candidate Hollis French; GOP Senate candidates Dan Sullivan, Joe Miller and Mead Treadwell; former convicted state legislator and now AIP senatorial candidate Vic Kohring; Rep. Don Young; Sens. Kevin Meyer and Cathy Giessel; Reps. Mike Hawker, Gabriel LeDoux, Lance Pruitt, Mia Costello, Geran Tarr, Lora Reinbold and Bob Lynn; The only non-incumbent senate candidate attending was DeLana Johnson from Palmer; State house candidates who showed included: Cathy Tilton, Liz Vazquez, Matt Fagnani, Matt Moore, Don Hadley, Kevin Castner and Sherry Jackson. Folks representing both sides of Ballot Measure #1 were on hand with information as well. Not there: Anchorage Mayor and Republican lt. gov candidate Dan Sullivan.
Two big announcements at the ABT event: State Sen. Cathy Giessel announced that her Senate district, N, stood for “New Life In Christ,” which probably surprised Rev. Jerry Prevo as much as it did the hippies living in Girdwood, who are part of that district. And, the big one: Rep. Don Young introduced his girlfriend Anne Garland Walton as his “fiancé,” which appeared to catch his staff off-guard, but happy for the couple. Young is a widower; his wife, Lu, died in 2009. Walton’s a former flight nurse from Fairbanks, and is said to be a very nice woman. Democratic U.S. House candidate, Forrest Dunbar sent out a release, congratulating the couple. “Campaign season can be tough—doubtlessly it will be tough in the coming months—but it’s nice to pause for a second and just appreciate two people being happy together, free from politics,” Dunbar wrote.
Later Sunday evening, between 500 – 600 well-wishers attended the 50th wedding anniversary of Rev. Jerry Prevo and his wife Carol. People from all walks of life were there. Some of the political types in the crowd included: Sen. Kevin Meyer, RPA chair Peter Goldberg and former RPA chair Randy Reuderich, Rep. Lance Pruitt, DOA commissioner Curtis Thayer, and Catherine Stevens who flew all the way from D.C. to attend the event.
I’ve received a few mysteriously-made candidate spoofs in my inbox. Most of them are trying to be funny but are actually offensive, stupid, or both. This one is actually kind of clever:http://youtu.be/N1JTTXi3RDs
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org