The Council of State Governments (CSG) and CSG West are both having their national conference in Anchorage starting this weekend through the first half of this week. More than 1400 people are expected to attend. One of the biggest names on the list is CNN political analyst David Gergen who has been an advisor to four U.S. Presidents. But most will be politicians, some will be Alaska state politicians. And although the subjects will vary from the economy to energy and land policy issues, you can expect most of the Alaskans attending will be buzzing about the announcement that Rep. Craig Johnson is going for Mike Chenault’s House Speaker position. Already, I’m told, people are jockeying for positions under the new organization.
Biggest news from Sunday’s KTVA/ADN GOP Senate debate:
— Becky Bohrer (@beckybohrerap) August 11, 2014
Don Young enjoyed a belated birthday celebration on the deck of former Gov. Bill Sheffield’s house on Wednesday evening. About 150 friends and supporters showed. Young always draws an interesting crowd – some might call some of them odd ducks–and Wednesday was no different. Harley riders mixed with lawyers and businessmen, many of whom couldn’t get a handle on the guy wearing the orange safety helmet, big rubber gloves, whose suit with what appeared to be military kpins. Everyone made way for Dawn Linton’s straw hat. Spotted: Anchorage mayoral candidate Dan Coffey; Perry and Gloria Green; DC lobbyists Jack Ferguson and C.J. Zane; Ed Rasmusson; Sen. Lesil McGuire; Luke Miller and Tyson Gallagher from the Parnell campaign; Bill Bittner; Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker and his wife Donna; Ron Duncan; Diane Kaplan; Palmer Mayor and state Senate candidate DeLana Johnson; Laurie Herman; and Randy Ruedrich. Most uncomfortable: Forrest Dunbar staffer Wiley Cason, who was keeping track of the evening and who Young was surprisingly gracious to. Heard: Rep. Dan Saddler singing a version of “Forever Young,” the lyrics of which he declined to send to me, but I know there was a reference to Young’s large Oosik, which never gets old. Best line of the night: “Perseverance overcomes intelligence every day of the year… I never claimed to be a rocket scientist, but I will chew your leg off,” by Don Young.
Speaking of Don Young and Forrest Dunbar: The latter played a rock star in a campaign video. The former knows a rock star, Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler, who’s dating an Anchorage girl:
Word is that Joe Miller has a new campaign staffer. Shawn Dow served as the Ron Paul presidential campaign director for Arizona in the last election, which begs the question: Do the national libertarian leaning Republicans have plans for Miller if he loses the primary?
A few tidbits from the most recent campaign disclosure reports: GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s July FEC report listed former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who maxed out. Also listed: skinny conservative, best known for creating a diet empire, Jenny Craig. Sen. Begich’s campaign counts Barbra Streisand as a supporter. Also surprising: Bill Walker’s most recent APOC filing listed conservative activist Jim Minnery as a contributor.
This will be the last week that Speaker Mike Chenault’s COS Tom Wright will be staff chair of the National Conference of State Legislators. While chair, he oversaw the updated NCSL’s website, which is truly a great resource for anybody who wants to know what’s going on with state Legislatures and laws across the country.
Crashing on ATVs: With the incumbent mayor’s seat up for election in Wasilla this October and with the mayor running as an independent candidate for state House, for a long time it looked like the mayor’s guy, Bert Cottle, might be running unopposed to be the next mayor of Sarah Palin’s home town. But then there was the mayor’s proposal to ban ATVs inside the city limits which has provoked OUTRAGE a new entrant into the race. Just before the filing deadline, general contractor Loren Means announced his candidacy. Means says he’s going to self-fund his race and is adamantly opposed to the proposed ATV ban. The race is non-partisan. However, it is interesting to note that Cottle in the last election cycle ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat from Valdez against Rep. Eric Feige for the state House. Means is a registered Republican and a super voter.
In other Wasilla political news: The seat currently occupied by Wasilla City Council member Colleen Leonard -Sullivan (Anchorage Mayor Dan’s sister) and the Wasilla-area borough Assembly seat held by Steve Colligan, didn’t get any interest from challengers. They will both run unopposed, news which is more exciting for some than others.
The outspoken Anchorage Republican Women’s Club prez Judy Eledge is again being outspoken about her disdain for former GOP chair Randy Ruedrich. This, from a recent Facebook Post. The article in question is a scathing letter to the editor Ruedrich wrote about Mead Treadwell, whom Eledge supports. Ruedrich is a Dan Sullivan guy. (FYI: SEC=State Executive Committee. SCC=State Central Committee). Will the two make up in heaven? Probably not.
Say what you want about Ruedrich, he knows how to get votes. As of late last week, Republicans, who make up about 27 percent of voters, requested 6,221 absentee ballots. Dems, who are about 14 percent, only requested 1,097. The independents, who make up 53 percent of the voters, requested 3,198.
This one on Kodiak state House candidate Carol Austerman’s campaign page is supposedly causing Randy Ruedrich fits. Remember, Austerman is in a three-way Republican primary race. She’s running against Louise Stutes, and Rich Walker:
Here’s the caption to the photo: “I was happy to welcome Mark Begich to Kodiak today as he opened his campaign office here. I have made the commitment if elected to State House to work across party lines to get work done to benefit our District and that commitment extends to working with Congress as well.”
Result of the Tanana Valley State Fair League of Women Voters Straw Poll, which is likely the most unscientific poll taken this election season:
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