Confession: I usually hate going to political fundraisers. I normally feel out of place, and it can feel really uncomfortable sitting in a corner, squinting at nametags, scratching on my notebook. But I always felt at home at Walker-Mallott fundraisers, and now that they’re over, I’ll miss them. For one, the food’s usually good, and though I never eat anything at these things, I like to be around good food. And good people, who talk about interesting things. At Walker fundraisers, I’ve talked existentialism and German literature with Bruce Botelho, constitutional law with Charlie Cole, and the state of the media with Hal Gazaway. I’ve talked about the good old Valdez days with former Lt. Gov. Stephen McApline, who I always call Steve. I’ve talked about Wally Hickel’s vision for Alaska with Malcom and Cindy Roberts. I’ve talked about subsistence issues with Craig Fleener, and fashion with Donna Walker. I’ve talked about the Catholic church with Cal Williams and about fisheries with Clem Tillion. I’ve talked women’s rights with Rep. Harriet Drummond and the human condition with her husband Elstun Lauesen. If I do something horrible in my life, and my punishment is that I have to spend the rest of eternity at a political fundraiser, I would hope that She will have mercy enough to put me at a Walker/Mallott fundraiser. The last one I went to was last Monday, and the campaign outdid themselves. All the usual suspects were there—plus Jerry Ward, for whom I will always have a fondness after he saved me from the wrath of a group of media hating Tea Partiers in 2012. But this time, there were more. Hundreds, of people of color, ethnicities, and sizes and political leanings were crammed upstairs at Gallos Mexican Restaurant in Anchorage. It was hot crowded and interesting.
With the election less than a week away, I’m told that people are tired of fundraisers. Yet, on Tuesday evening about 50 people showed up at the Embassy Suites in Anchorage for mayoral candidate Dan Coffey whose election isn’t until April 2015. Some of the supporters that showed included: Paula Bradison, Bill Bittner, Cort and Susan Thalp from Anchorage Yamaha, Daryl Thompson, Carlos Gomez, Mayor Dan Sullivan, Keith Burke, Dr. David and Sue Beal, and DC lobbyist Jack Ferguson. The next day at lunch, Coffey was at the Brewhouse’s private dining room with another group of supporters raising money for his mayoral bid.
While most Valley politicians were at the sports center to watch “shut down the government” Sen. Ted Cruz rally with Dan Sullivan, and while Judy Eledge was right in front, in heaven, Reps. Bill Stoltze and Shelley Hughes were hosting a wholesome non-political free public skate at the MTA Event Center in Palmer to urge folks to bring canned goods for the Palmer Food Bank. About 100 people attended, including UAA hockey coach Matt Thompson, along with two Seawolf hockey players.
Meanwhile, Fairbanks Rep. Tammie Wilson is baking bread and coordinating an effort with her friends and neighbors to do the same, in order to ensure that her local food bank has homemade bread to share this holiday season. Just think how many hungry people could have been fed with the $60 million worth of Senate advertisings spent in AK?
Speaking of Tammie Wilson: There are lots of people speaking about her right now, some—of the male variety—with some fear in their voices. Word is that she’s made it known that she’ll be making a play for Speaker of the House. It’s too early to count her in or out but if she does win, she’ll be following in the high heels of Ramona Barnes and Gail Phillips
A few politicos were living like they were dying at the UAA Alaska Airline Sports Center on Tuesday night. The occasion was Tim McGraw. The place was packed. Even though it was exactly one week from Election Day, some from the world of government and politics found time to attend. Angelina Burney from Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office was there. Reps. Charisse Millett, Lindsey Holmes and Chris Tuck were there. Dana Pruhs, Chair of AIDEA, was there too. He had ear plugs in and was seen sitting while people around him were on their feet, hands raised, lips parted, hips gyrating.
Report from a Juneau reader: “This morning (Thursday) the Juneau Downtown Rotary Club had their legislative forum. Standing room only crowd. Rep. Cathy Munoz was there. Her opponent George McGuan was expected. He never showed but a fellow with a beard came in. George has a beard, and so few people know what he looks like that the moderator introduced him as George McGuan, District 34 candidate. Many might have carried the mistake a little further, but the fellow quickly said there was some mistake and he is not running for office. McGuan never did show up.”
To give McGuan credit, at least he’s not spending the last part of his campaign on a safari hunt in Africa, like Juneau Republican state Senate candidate Tom Williams is.
This election cycle, there has been an influx of political operatives from both sides of the aisle. Most, if not all of them, will be leaving next week after the election. One of the RNC’s operatives, Paul Casson, is worried that he won’t be able to leave. He lost his wallet and identification earlier this week and realized that he can’t drive or fly out of Alaska without it. Someone should tell him that’s how people get stuck in Alaska. That’s how they end up growing beards and living in cabins in Talketna, spending their winters writing letters to the editor, listening to short wave radio, believing that people are watching and listening. The good news Paul: you’ll get to apply for the PFD.
Where has Joe Miller been during all the fun? Word is that he’s been traveling out of state, among other things, attending a West Point reunion.
Kenai Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, a Democrat, surprised many this week by endorsing Gov. Sean Parnell’s candidacy. Navarre cited that Parnell deserved “credit for the momentum behind the Alaska natural gas pipeline project. The project is moving forward in large part because of the efforts of Governor Parnell and his administration. This is not the time to change direction.”
With just days before the election, endorsements can provide momentum to a campaign and even change the results of an election. And sometimes not. This week, radio talk show host and former legislator, Tom Anderson, endorsed unlikely trio of Begich, Parnell and Dunbar.
In the best of times, pot people don’t always conduct themselves well. (Neither do booze people, but that’s another story.) During this campaign, however, some of the pro-pot people have acted particularly miscreant-esque. They’ve shouted down volunteers at public meetings,, and one of them even posed as a reporter. Now, signs are being vandalized. And here we were told that pot makes you mellow: