Mark your calendars: next Friday is the perfect evening for the politically confused. Neighbors Bill Sheffield, former governor and current Railroad board member, and Mark Pfeffer, the politically active developer most recently known for his role in the Anchorage legislative office deal, are hosting side-by-side fundraisers for Alaska’s junior and senior senators. Begich’s event has a pay-for-access hour for the deep pocketed followed by an event for everyone else at $100 each. The hosts are planning a snow shoveled walkway between the houses for those guests interested in making it a bipartisan evening.
Politico is calling Jim Messina the Democratic version of Karl Rove. Messina, former campaign manager to President Barack Obama, is using his long ties to the Democratic Party, political operatives and donors to build “a political fiefdom.” Some Alaskans will remember Messina from the time he spent in the state in 2004 trying to get former Gov. Tony Knowles elected to the U.S. Senate. It was a tight race, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski ultimately prevailed, despite the fact that she had been appointed to her seat by her increasingly unpopular senator-turned-governor father. According to an interview with High Country News, Messina still has “nightmares about that loss. I have replayed it several hundred times in my head,” he said.
Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration has four commissioners that need to be confirmed before the adjournment of this year’s legislative session. Consequently, those commissioners from Revenue, Public Safety, Administration and Natural Resources are spending considerable time in the Capitol going door-to-door visiting legislators to make nice and insure their confirmations. Around the Capitol it’s called speed dating.
Senate candidate Mead Treadwell gave a long, four part interview to a reporter writing for a publication called State of Reform, where he talks about repealing Obamacare, his support of Gov. Sean Parnell’s decision not to expand Medicaid, the death of his father, and lackluster fundraising compared to another GOP candidate Dan Sullivan, who is from Ohio. “The fact of the matter is, we certainly have a lead on him at home. I haven’t done as well with the business community in Ohio as Dan Sullivan has, but I have done very well with the business community in Alaska.” In the last FEC report, Treadwell had about $95,000 cash on hand. His campaign debts totaled more than $141,000, including money that Treadwell lent his campaign. So it appears that he was operating in the red. Sullivan’s campaign says that it has about $1.1 million cash on hand. Begich has $2.8 million.
According to Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Democrats are headed toward a tough midterm election this fall — and nowhere will it be worse than at the state legislative level. Political junkies are familiar with the so-called “six year itch” effect in federal elections. If you’re not, it goes like this: The party of a re-elected president tends to get walloped in the following midterm election.
A new lobbying firm with deep Alaska roots was recently formed in D.C. Capitol Strategies, headed up by longtime former Fairbanks resident and former Ted Stevens staffer Wally Burnett, appears to be starting off strong. It already boasts 18 clients, including Boeing, Cook Inlet Region Inc, Raytheon Missile Systems and Washington State Department of Transportation, to name a few.
The National Organization for Marriage, the group that’s fighting same sex marriage, has been using Alaska’s Attorney General Michael Gheraty as a model for AGs who are standing up to“judges across the country.” In an interview with the Associated Press, Geraghty said that although other AG’s across the country are calling a ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional, he will continue to support Alaska’s Constitution, which forbids same sex marriage. The organization is calling on its members to send a ‘thank you’ note to Gheraty “for his commitment to the rule of law and the sovereign voice of the people of Alaska.”
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