Tag Archives: mead treadwell

U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller draws large crowd for campaign kickoff

Redemption makes for a powerful story. So does being an underdog who claims to speak truth to power. Of the three candidates running to be the Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate race–Joe Miller, Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan–only Miller can claim both. Both Treadwell and Sullivan have much going for them, but they don’t have the power of those two stories.

This wasn’t lost on the fired up crowd of as many as 200 on Monday night at the Wasilla Lake Resort where they gathered for Miller’s official campaign kickoff. As most know, Miller ran in 2010, won the primary, and then suffered a devastating loss to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s write-in bid. It was a brutal campaign, and Miller’s reputation took a beating.

But some things are different this time. Miller’s official campaign kickoff in 2010 was in the town square in Anchorage. About 12 people showed, said Mark Fish, who has been one of Miller’s main volunteers from the beginning. “I think I begged six of my libertarian friends to come,” Fish said.

And Miller appears to be softer and more relaxed this time around. On the stage on Monday, he was even able to poke fun of the fact that in 2010, a member of his “security” detail handcuffed Alaska Dispatch editor Tony Hopfinger at a campaign event. Referring to his young children who were sitting next to him who are taking martial arts, Miller said that this time “we decided to have in-house security.”

It was probably the loudest laugh line of the night from a crowd that wasn’t shy about laughing, as well as yelling out an occasional “Amen,” or “Say it like it is Joe.”

The event lasted more than 2 hours, and featured national radio talk show host Lars Larson. Tim Macy, vice chairman of the Gun Owners of America, flew up that morning from California for the event. Adele Morgan and Paul Wainamo sang songs about God and country. Speeches about liberty, guns and God were made. It was a classic Wasilla tea party, with some beer on tap.

Before Miller spoke, they showed the above three minute video about Miller and his life. It’s easy to forget that Miller actually has an impressive resume. He went to West Point and has a law degree from Yale. He was awarded the Bronze Star in Desert Storm. He has a masters in economics from UAF. And he was raised by poor parents in Kansas. He has eight kids, and is now a grandfather. And he now will have run twice for U.S. Senate and has developed a large following.

Another thing that’s changed since 2010: Miller has developed a stump speech that is actually digestible. He still talks with passion about repealing ObamaCare, abolishing the IRS, and federal overreach. But he doesn’t go on and on. And on Monday, he peppered his speech with the personal. He told a story about being a little boy with a disfigured lip from a fall. He alluded to being bullied because of it. He talked about working for his father’s bookstore and mowing lawns to get enough money to pay for an operation to fix it. He raised the money, took the bus to Wichita, and got his lip fixed.

He was only in 7th grade.

The money is going to be tight for Miller. Although all told he has about $300,000 cash on hand, he only raised $101,000 last quarter. Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell has less cash on hand, but he has name recognition and long history in the state. The big money is on former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who raised $1.4 million last quarter alone and has about $2 million on hand.

But then again, Miller won the last primary with only $300,000 against Murkowski’s huge war chest.

Miller didn’t mention Sullivan in his speech, but it’s clear that he’s going to attack him as the establishment candidate who is supported by those partaking in “generational theft,” and by the “same forces” that fought him so hard in the last election.

I asked him what’s different since the last election and why he thinks he can win now when he didn’t then.

He pointed to the crowd. “Look at this,” he said. “This is different.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan raised $1.3 million in first quarter

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan says that he raised $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2014, leaving him with just under $2 million cash on hand. Sen. Mark Begich says that he raised $1.05 million during the same period, and has $2.8 million cash on hand.

The official reports are due to the FEC on April 15.

In the last two quarters, Sullivan has outraised Begich by about $700,000. The campaign said that it has “quadrupled our small donors to over 1,000 this quarter.” The campaign hasn’t said how many of those donors are Alaskans. In the last fundraising report, Sullivan’s campaign didn’t list the names of donors who gave less than $200.

Sullivan has been crisscrossing the state and the country raising money, helped in no small part through his family connections, his D.C. establishment credentials, and the fact that the RNC appears to have anointed him the candidate.

“Our growing momentum highlights the increased frustration with the fact that Mark Begich is a rubberstamp for President Obama’s liberal agenda, supporting his policies 97 percent of the time,” Sullivan said in a statement first given to Politico.

Neither Joe Miller nor Mead Treadwell, the other two Republicans running in the race, have released their numbers. Neither are expected to do nearly as well as Sullivan. In the last quarter, Treadwell only raised about $228,000. He had $95,000 in cash on hand, but he also had debts of $141,000. Miller only raised $30,490 in the last quarter.

Remember, though, Miller hasn’t officially kicked off his campaign, and he will use Sullivan’s money-raising prowess against him, which will likely have some effect among his tea party following. Already, Miller is saying that Sullivan “is just another big government crony capitalist,” and that his campaign is funded by “international finance,” and those who advocate “corporate welfare.”

According to Miller, those donors include former Chairman of the Board of the New York Federal Reserve, the CEO of Rockefeller and Company, the former President of the World Bank, and “numerous Goldman Sachs executives.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com 


Single women could decide the makeup of U.S. Senate

A Washington D.C. nonprofit teamed up with pollster Celinda Lake, who is also Sen. Mark Begich’s pollster, to study voter behavior in Alaska. A report released Monday suggests that Alaska’s unmarried women, people of color and voters aged 18-29 could determine who wins the U.S. Senate race in Alaska. However, these voters are less likely than others to vote, and it’s going to take work to get them to the polls in November.

According to the Voter Participation Center, about 23,000 of these voters could stay home this election year, as compared to 2012. The total voting block, combined with other Alaskans who are likely to stay home, could be as many as 25,000 votes in the 2014 election. Given Alaska’s history of close elections, this could easily be the voting block that could decide the race.

According to the Washington Post, the national Democrats are paying particular close attention to unmarried women who are eligible to vote, a pool that’s increased by 19 percent since 2000. By contrast, the pool of married women only grew 7 percent during that time. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is building a national computer model to find and hopefully sway single women.

Neither the Alaska Democratic Party nor the Begich campaign knew about a similar effort by any Democratic group in Alaska. However, Begich has been busy reaching out to both women and minority voters in the state.

“Women for Begich” groups across the state have been meeting. Begich is the only pro-choice candidate running for Senate. The three Republican challengers, Dan Sullivan, Mead Treadwell, and Joe Miller have all claimed the pro-life mantle. And all three of them have said at one time or the other that the abortion issue would factor into a decision to confirm a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Too, in a radio interview with conservative talk show host Glen Biegel, Sullivan appears to support allowing corporations to decide if they will provide contraceptives as part of their health care policies, characterizing a mandate to do so under the Affordable Care Act as an “attack on religious liberty.” That mandate is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Begich has also been reaching out to minority groups in Alaska. Last weekend alone, he met with groups from the Chinese, Hmong, Hispanic, Filipino, Korean, Polynesian, and Cambodian communities.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


GOP Senate candidate Treadwell shakes up campaign

Lt. Gov. and Senate candidate Mead Treadwell is making some changes to his campaign. Treadwell announced today that he’s letting go of communications adviser Rick Gorka and campaign manager Adam Jones, both of whom were brought in from the Lower 48.

“I have had to make one of the toughest decisions to this point in our campaign,” Treadwell said in a release announcing the decision.

Peter Christensen, Treadwell’s personal friend and national finance chair, will be the campaign manager for now. “By restructuring our campaign, I know our campaign will be in a stronger position to make Mark Begich a one-term Senator,” Treadwell said.

Spokesman Fred Brown, who is staying on in the campaign, cautioned against reading too much into the decision. “This frees up resources for a few more things and for Mead to get his message out across Alaska,” he said.

Brown said that despite what appears to be a national drumbeat among party leaders and Republican groups to get him to drop out of the race, Treadwell is in it until the end. “Outside people can say whatever they want. They can’t vote. They clearly don’t know Alaska,” Brown said.

Although Treadwell announced early and was, for a while, the heir apparent to take on Begich in the general, he has had a hard time raising money, particularly since former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Dan Sullivan entered the race in the Fall.

During his first quarter in the race, Sullivan raised $1.25 million. Last week, he was endorsed by the Club for Growth, which paves the way for a bigger haul.

Treadwell raised only $228,000 in that same fundraising period and $196,000 during the previous three-month period. His last filings show that his campaign debts were greater than his cash on hand.

Treadwell’s campaign has in the past pointed to Sullivan’s national contacts in explaining his fundraising success, and has emphasized that 80 percent of Treadwell’s donations have come from Alaskans.

“We have a committed organization and have committed Alaska supporters across the state,” Brown said.

Sources say that Treadwell has talked about self-financing if it comes to that. Treadwell has reported assets worth from $3.4 million to $7.7 million. His debt ranges from $580,000 to $1.2 million.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Miller ‘expressed disbelief’ over Club for Growth’s endorsement of Sullivan for Senate

GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller “expressed disbelief” over the Club for Growth’s endorsement of candidate Dan Sullivan on Tuesday. “Dan Sullivan is just another big government crony capitalist,” Miller wrote.

Miller, Sullivan and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell are all running to be the Republican nominee to run against Sen. Mark Begich in the general election. The Club for Growth, a powerhouse, fiscally conservative group, announced its endorsement on Tuesday, calling Sullivan a “fiscal conservative with a stellar track record in Alaska.”

In his response, which is in full below, Miller listed numerous people who donated to Sullivan’s campaign who Miller says are the “architects of the Big Bank and Wall Street Bailouts.” He also says that Sullivan supports the climate change “scam” and international welfare, presumably when Sullivan was an assistant secretary of state under Condoleezza Rice.

Indeed, Sullivan is more of an establishment conservative than those the Club usually endorses, among them Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake and a bevy of right wing Republicans in the House. In contrast, Sullivan’s endorsement appears more practical than ideological, which makes Miller bristle.

“It is unfortunate that Club for Growth would insert themselves into a contested primary to work against advocates of the free market,” Miller said. “But I never expected to be K Street’s candidate. We won the 2010 primary without their help, and we expect to do it again.”

The Club for Growth endorsed Miller in 2010 against sitting Sen. Lisa Murkowski. However, it did so only after Miller won the primary, and there was some talk at the time they the group didn’t follow through with the money and support that was expected after the endorsement.

The group also endorsed now-Gov. Sean Parnell in 2008 over Rep. Don Young, who called them “one of the most extreme groups in Washington D.C.”

A few things to note: Although he’s filed the paperwork, Miller has yet to officially announce his candidacy. Too, he’s been comparatively silent on the campaign trail and if he’s been actively raising money, he began after the last FEC report was due.

The last reports show Miller only raising $30,490 in the last quarter. However, he had leftover funds from his 2010 run, beginning the year with $426,783 and ending with $231,705.

Treadwell ended the year with $90,000 in cash and $141,000 in debt. Of the three, Sullivan has by far proven to be the best fundraiser, raising nearly $1.25 million in the last quarter alone.

The Democratic incumbent, Sen. Begich ended the year with $2.8 million cash on hand, and has been relentlessly fundraising.

Sullivan’s fundraising success no doubt played into the Club’s decision to endorse so early.

There’s been no reaction yet from the Treadwell campaign, who perhaps had the most to lose with the endorsement. Miller has at least the potential to have another 2010 “movement” type following, if he chooses to tap into it. Treadwell has been trying to argue that he was the true conservative in the race, an argument that will be more difficult to make now.

Here’s Miller’s release in full:

Joe Miller expressed disbelief at the Washington-based Club for Growth’s endorsement of Dan Sullivan in the Alaska senate race earlier today.

“It is unfortunate that Club for Growth would insert themselves into a contested primary to work against advocates of the free market,” Miller said. “But I never expected to be K Street’s candidate. We won the 2010 primary without their help, and we expect to do it again.

“National media has been quick to point out the group’s support of Joe Miller’s candidacy in 2010, but Club for Growth declined to endorse Miller against the most liberal Republican Senator seeking re-election that year. Only after Miller’s stunning primary victory did he receive an endorsement for his run against Democrat Scott McAdams.

Miller continued, “We are undeterred. This is not a time for fair weather friends and sunshine patriots. I am not surprised that an organization thousands of miles from Alaska, inside the Washington DC bubble, may see things differently than the folks on the ground.”

The Miller campaign would like to offer a constructive piece of advice. It may be a good idea to vet candidates before throwing one’s reputation away. It is regrettable that Club for Growth would cast their vote for the status quo. Dan Sullivan is just another big government crony capitalist.

Had they done their homework they would have known that Dan Sullivan’s campaign is funded by international finance – to include former President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick; President and CEO of the International Institute of Finance Timothy Adams; former Chairman of the Board of the New York Federal Reserve Stephan Friedman; the wife of former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson; Jeffery Reuben III, CEO of Rockefeller and Company; numerous Goldman Sachs executives; George W. Bush’s Chief of Staff Josh Bolton, etc. In other words, many of the architects of the Big Bank and Wall Street Bailouts that Club for Growth claims to oppose.

In addition to his ties to corporate welfare, Sullivan has clearly supported international welfare and the international community’s shakedown of American taxpayers for billions for the “climate change” scam, and more . . .

“I know my candidacy will not have the backing of Wall Street or K Street. It will also not have the support of the party elite in Washington or in Alaska. To curry favor with the Establishment is not why I am running for U.S. Senate,” said Miller. “I am running because I believe our nation has reached a critical juncture. As I travel the state, I am stirred with hope, because people throughout Alaska get it. They know the path we are on leads to the downfall of our nation, and they want real change, real reform. With their support on Election Day, I will bring their voice and their vote to our nation’s capital.”

Joe Miller is a husband, father, combat veteran, businessman, and advocate for constitutional liberty, who believes in limited government, individual rights, private property, free markets, and the Right to life.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoye@yahoo.com


GOP Senate candidate Treadwell responds to GOP ‘addicted to Koch’ campaign

UPDATED: As promised, below is a comment from GOP Senate candidate Mead Treadwell’s campaign on the new Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee campaign, “GOP addicted to Koch.” The campaign is drawing attention to the fact that the Koch brothers recently closed an Alaska refinery because of costs while spending $600,000 so far on ads attacking Sen. Mark Begich. The refinery was a mainstay in Interior Alaska’s economy, and took with it at least 80 jobs.

The DSCC is pressing the Senate GOP challengers for a response. Dan Sullivan’s campaign has declined comment. No word yet from Joe Miller. Treadwell’s campaign pointed out that Begich seemed cavalier about the closure when it was announced. Further, Begich’s Great Land PAC took $5000 from the Koch brothers in 2010.  Here’s what his spokesperson had to say:

“Yet again Mark Begich is showing Alaskans they cannot trust what he says. In 2010, his Great Land PAC took a $5,000 donation from Koch Industries. Not only does Begich take Koch money, Begich simply dismissed the news of the Flint Hills Refinery closing as ‘ the private sector making a decision.’ From Obamacare to hypocritical attacks to failed campaign promises, it is clear that Alaskans cannot trust Mark Begich.” Fred Brown, campaign spokesman.

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Fat Taco Tuesday at Mead Treadwell’s office

About 30 or so people made their way to GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell’s campaign office in Anchorage to celebrate fat Tuesday. The food, much like the people who showed, was interesting. Tacos, baklava, cornbread, and Girl Scout Thin Mints. Like the crowd, none of it should have mixed, but it did.

Ramona Specking who manages a hotel and speaks French, German and conversational Spanish was there. Irene Green who runs an international bed and breakfast who speaks those three plus Dutch and Italian had with her an Italian national who biked part of the Iditarod trail. Lars Gleitsmann, a geologist and an airplane pilot was there and spoke authoritatively about Pebble Mine, Tito’s Yugoslavia and Agenda 21. Retired Marine Col. Catkin Burton talked to a woman who is making organic baby food. A smattering of fiercely loyal men who look like they just graduated from Andover stood with crossed arms.

Treadwell isn’t the most inspiring speaker. And to call him quick tempered might be an understatement. So it’s hard to remember, if you ever knew at all, that he surrounds himself with interesting people, people of colors and accents and languages and ideas. Treadwell is billing himself as a socially conservative Republican, but his main followers, his base, are with him less it seems because of his ideology than because they know him, many of them since he came to the state in his 20s.

Treadwell spoke briefly shortly after I arrived. As is his wont, he dug at his main GOP challenger former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, who that night was at a fundraiser in D.C. ‘I’d rather be here in Alaska,” he said.  He promised the crowd that he would continue to run an “aggressive” campaign that will take him across the state to work hard for them and to raise money, something at which he’s not been great.

Let’s be honest: compared to Sullivan, he’s been pretty lousy at it. Then again, most money for a federal race for any candidate comes from Outside, and the thing that Treadwell has going for him doesn’t translate in a stump speech at a fundraiser in Oklahoma, or Nebraska, where men in suits want to bet on someone who smells and talks like a winner. For them, Sullivan — the Marine with a Harvard law degree, the former assistant secretary of state who looks like he just walked out of central casting — is their guy.

To understand what Treadwell brings to the race, you’d have to be at his side at a coffee house in Wasilla, say or talking about fishing in Seward, or about the Arctic in Barrow, or eating tacos and baklava at his campaign headquarters in Midtown Anchorage.

Treadwell said that he has no intentions of dropping out before the primary, and that he’s “in it to win it.” If he is able to hang in there, it won’t be because of the way that he’s tried to out Tea Party Joe Miller, or his constant swipes at Dan Sullivan. In fact, it’ll likely be in spite of those things.

It’ll be because he grew up in this state. “I know him,” Irene Green said. “He’s my friend.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Loose Lips: Beware of the Rushdoonians

15770860_mTHE Alaska GOP met this weekend for its central committee meeting. I have no idea if a central committee is different than a western committee, or if there is such a thing as a western committee or if any of it is referring to geography. I don’t know these things because I so don’t care about organizational structure of any kind. Throw local party politics into the mix and find me in a corner wishing I was reading Sartre.

But I am a trooper, and with heavy heart, I was just about to ask those questions, when the person I was speaking with tried to slip in the fact that someone with a video camera got hauled off by security at this central committee meeting.

And, as things go at Republican Party gatherings, it gets better! The person who was kicked out of the central yadayada is someone named Daniel Palmer, who according to Republicans, is an Occupy Wall Street disciple.

Lance Roberts, who is a district chair, objected and accused the GOP of using Gestapo-type tactics. Roberts is a disciple of John Rushdoony. He’s a Rushdoonian.

Who’s Rushdoony? Good question.  According to Wikipedia, “Rushdoony began popularizing, albeit densely, the works of Calvinist philosophers Cornelius Van Til and Herman Dooyeweerd into a short survey of contemporary humanism called By What Standard?” It goes on, and on. It’s dense. Also, he’s supposedly a Holocaust denier.

I had never heard of Daniel Palmer and his video camera. Nor had I heard of Lance Roberts, the Rushdoonian. But others have. So much so that a whole Facebook page was created about him by those who have a problem with him. It’s called “Lets Lose Lance,” and there’s a picture of him with a red slash through his face.

It has 105 likes.

Why oh why can’t the Democrats have meetings that are so downright Rushdoonian?

ON Friday night, it was the 37th annual Salute to the Military at the Egan Center in Anchorage. More than 500 people showed. Among them were Gov. Sean Parnell and the first lady; U.S. Rep. Don Young and his date Ann Walton; and Mayor Dan Sullivan and the Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, or Lieutenant Colonel Dan Sullivan, he was called that night. In full military dress, he was representing the U.S. Marine Corps as the highest ranking officer of that branch in Alaska. Finally, Margie Johnson showed, sporting a Valentine’s Day hat.

SPEAKING of the Senate: In what universe does a pollster live who says that Senate candidate Dan Sullivan, who barely anybody knows yet, has a “fairly solid lead” in the August primary election? That would be Adam Hays, of Anchorage-based polling firm Hays Research Group, who apparently lives in some sort of Democratic fantasy world. He also has Joe Miller running as an independent. Why would he think that? Well, he just does, that’s all. This is the same group that told us four days before the 2010  election that Democrat Scott McAdams was up over Joe Miller in the Senate race by six points. Oops. McAdams lost to Miller, 23 to 35 percent.

MORE Senate news: Lets all give a big Alaska welcome to the sparky Ben Sparks who joined Dan Sullivan’s campaign. Sparks comes to Alaska via some other places where the weather, women, and politics are comparatively milquetoast. New Jersey, for one.

MEGA CORRECTION: Initially, I had written that Lance Roberts had been kicked out of the central committee meeting. Not so. Daniel Palmer was the one who got kicked out, and Lance Roberts objected.


Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com



Lies, damned lies, statistics and partisan polls

Two partisan polls from both sides of the aisle were released this week. Both of the polls included Alaska issues, and the U.S. Senate race. Both are more interesting than credible, but perhaps open a window of light into the race that has so far released few numbers.

The first poll was from the left wing firm, Public Policy Polling, commonly called PPP, and was conducted earlier this month. That firm is no stranger to Alaska polling. Following the gun control debate in Congress, the organization released an improbable poll that said that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s vote against gun control resulted in a decline of support among Alaskans.

In this poll, PPP polled 850 registered voters including 442 Republican primary voters. The firm’s methodology has changed some. Included in the robo calls are opt-in internet surveys. But it still can’t manage to get its demographics right. This one, like the one on guns, over sampled both women and Democrats.

The second is from Harper Polling, a right-wing firm, which surveyed 677 likely voters Jan. 20-22. Harper also uses robo calling and also appears to oversample women and Democrats, and although it has a similar margin of error as the PPP poll, it comes up with very different numbers. The left leaning group has Begich on top and the right leaning polling group has two of the GOP contenders beating Begich. Surprised?

Here’s PPP’s numbers:

  • Begich beats former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan 41 to 37 percent.
  • Begich beats Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell 43 percent to 37 percent
  • Begich beats Joe Miller 45 to 25 percent.
  • In a GOP primary, Sullivan leads with 30 percent to Treadwell’s 25 percent and Joe Miller’s 20 percent.

Harper Polling comes up with the following:

  • Treadwell beats Begich 47 to 41 percent.
  • Sullivan beats Begich 47 to 41 percent.
  • Begich beats Miller 51 to 32 percent.

All of which perhaps proves the adage that there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

It’s also worth noting that nobody who’s watching this race believes that the majority of the public at this point can distinguish between Dan Sullivan the Senate candidate and Dan Sullivan, the well-known Anchorage mayor.

Also, local pollster Marc Hellenthal, who knows how to poll this state, has Begich doing pretty well in Alaska, particularly in Anchorage, which had been a problem for him.

Hellenthal wouldn’t release the numbers, but he said that Begich seems to “have solved his Anchorage problem.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


National attention given to Sullivan’s success and Treadwell’s fundraising failures

This week isn’t starting off too well for GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. Two stories, one in Politico and the other in The Hill, were published on Sunday, both of which highlight how much money his challenger in the GOP Senate primary, Dan Sullivan, has raised and how little Treadwell raised in the fourth quarter: Sullivan’s $1.25 million to Treadwell’s $228,000. Treadwell was among what Politico called the “10 fundraising losers.”

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich raised a respectable $850,000.

Treadwell has about $95,000 cash on hand. His campaign debts total more than $141,000, including money that Treadwell lent his campaign. So it appears that he’s 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 Politico, internal polls show that Treadwell has a better chance of beating Begich than does Sullivan. However, such low numbers “scare national Republican strategists,” says Politico. It should be noted that so do articles like those in Politico and The Hill.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Alaska U.S. senators and candidates react to Obama’s State of the Union

It might have been a good night in much of the rest of the country for President Obama. According to instant reactions, his State of the Union address was fairly well received. Even some Republicans considered it to be relatively benign, if not even a little bit uplifting. In the 49th state, however, Obama’s speech was not received well by Alaska’s senators and those who are running for Senate

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the State of the Union was “another missed opportunity to demonstrate leadership.” Democratic Sen. Mark Begich was even harsher on Obama, and used the opportunity to distance himself from the president. “I was disappointed I didn’t hear what Alaskans wanted from the President tonight,” Begich said. “Specifically, the President missed his chance to talk about national energy security in any meaningful way.”

Begich also criticized what some pundits say were implicit threats throughout the speech to invoke executive powers. (Other pundits are mystified that that was the takeaway of the night.)

“Alaskans can be sure that I will not sit back and watch any sort of power grab – especially from an Administration that has already demonstrated they do not understand core Alaska issues,” Begich said. (Although such criticism of the president probably doesn’t hurt Begich among his party in the upcoming race, not all Alaska Democrats share Begich’s view.)

Both GOP Senate candidates Mead Treadwell and Dan Sullivan didn’t miss the opportunity to use it for campaign purposes. Treadwell said that the speech made it very clear that “Alaska needs a Senator who will represent our values and will bring decision-making home.”  Sullivan said that the speech reaffirmed that the “country requires a new direction, not another year of liberal policies defined by higher taxes, over-regulation and increased debt, which have been supported 93% of the time by Mark Begich.”

Read the statements in full below:

From U.S. Sen. Mark Begich:

I was disappointed I didn’t hear what Alaskans wanted from the President tonight.  While the President delivered a lot of sound bites that may sound good in a speech, we need to hear a clear plan and commitment to economic growth. Specifically, the President missed his chance to talk about national energy security in any meaningful way.

Alaskans know that to ensure our national energy security, we must be more aggressive on natural resource development. From building the Keystone pipeline to offshore drilling in Alaska, we should be taking advantage of our domestic energy potential and I will keep fighting and using every committee post and option available to do just that. The President said he wants to focus on “fuels of the future” but we should be focusing on the fuels we can develop right now—and that’s Alaska oil and gas.

I also have concerns about some of the President’s comments to increase his executive power on issues where Congress should play a pivotal role.  Alaskans can be sure that I will not sit back and watch any sort of power grab – especially from an Administration that has already demonstrated they do not understand core Alaska issues. 

From U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski:

Tonight marks another missed opportunity to demonstrate leadership from this Administration. Millions of Americans tuned in to hear the President express a willingness to roll his sleeves up and work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to really help move this nation forward – and I count myself among those hoping for an aspirational message.

But what did we hear?  We heard ‘I don’t need Congress – I’ll work around them.

“Go It Alone” politics is not governing.  It is not what the nation expects or deserves – and speeches like tonight are why the public’s faith in government is at a depressingly low rate.  I worry that this “Go it Alone” attitude will only set our nation back, when we need to move forward.  And we move forward on difficult issues best when we are all pulling in the same direction. It’s how our government is designed to work – and the President should not be able to simply decide that it’s too inconvenient for him or it takes too long.  Ronald Reagan’s legacy reminds us that he didn’t dig in his heels against a Democratic Congress.  Instead, he made the decision to pursue a goal-oriented approach – regardless of who got the credit or blame—and successfully passed comprehensive immigration and tax reform.

Tonight, President Obama said he wants 2014 to be a ‘Year of Action.’  If he wants to follow-through on that claim, we need to all be part of the conversation – not just have it be him telling Congress what he wants done.  Let’s talk about jobs and work together to expand opportunities that create jobs.  Let’s work on some of the bipartisan initiatives in the energy sector – which is truly the bright spot in our nation’s economy.  We all want a ‘Year of Action’ but it’s going to take more than the President’s pen and phone.  It will take true engagement with Congress.

Going it alone is not a solution and it’s counterproductive in government.  Consensus-building is hard, but 100 percent do-able.  Let’s get to work.

From Senate candidate Mead Treadwell:

The challenges facing the country and our state are not going to be solved by a speech, a fact that’s become very clear over the past five years. The a president talked about unilateral action.  Too bad he doesn’t believe in the power of states to take action, or our pipeline would be getting fuller now. Alaska’s future is based on access to our  lands. President Obama and Mark Begich have been at the helm as pipeline production decreases and access to the NPRA is cut in half. Washington needs to get out of Alaska’s way and tonight’s speech made it very clear that’s not the Democrats’ plan. He wants jobs.  He wants to improve income equality.   Let Alaska loose and our energy and resources will help power the nation. Alaska needs a Senator who will represent our values and will bring decision-making home.

From Senate candidate Dan Sullivan:  

What the American people heard tonight was President Obama’s desire to double down on the same job-killing policies that have failed to grow our economy, and he has signaled that he will circumvent Congress through executive order to do it.  Ignoring the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution through executive order is troubling and legally dubious. The President’s executive orders have had harmful impacts on Alaska already, such as when the Obama administration locked up close to half of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska from future development.

Our country requires a new direction, not another year of liberal policies defined by higher taxes, over-regulation and increased debt, which have been supported 93% of the time by Mark Begich.  Together, their policies have continued to undermine Alaska’s and America’s full economic potential.

Alaska deserves a Senator in Washington that will defend the rule of law, fight back against President Obama’s liberal agenda, and promote pro-growth economic policies to get this country back on track.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate candidates Treadwell and Sullivan meet on stage for first time in campaign

Following a forum on Monday featuring Senate candidates Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan, the Alaska Democrats put out a press release entitled, “GOP Campaign Heats Up As Candidates Attack Each Other In Contentious Primary.”

In fact, at the forum, the two mainstream Republican candidates agreed on most every issue that was raised. Both candidates promised to work to lessen federal involvement in Alaska’s business. Both are pro-life. Both believe in curtailing NSA’s surveillance powers. Both believe that the EPA went well beyond its authority when it released its Pebble Mine watershed assessment prior to mining companies applying for permits. Pebble Mine is on its last leg, and the EPA’s involvement has contributed to its imminent demise.

There appeared to be tension in the room only one time, when Treadwell referred to a project that he had worked on “before you were here” he said to Sullivan, in an attempt to jab him about his relatively short tenure in the state.

However, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich took the heavy punches.

Treadwell went so far as to accuse Begich of inviting the EPA to conduct the Pebble report. “He said he didn’t, but I don’t believe him,” Treadwell said. His spokesperson couldn’t back the statement up except to point out that Begich and the head of the EPA have traveled together.

The forum was sponsored by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Republican candidate Joe Miller couldn’t make it. It was the first time both Treadwell and Sullivan have shared a stage as candidates, and it served more as an introduction, particularly to Sullivan, who hasn’t yet run for office, than as a heated exchange of ideas.

Sullivan appears to be running on his military record and as a candidate who gets things done. As many readers of this blog know, he is a former Alaska attorney general and DNR commissioner. He’s also had a long career as an active duty and reservist Marine. About five years after moving to Alaska to practice law, he went back to D.C. in 2002 to work for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a fact that he mentions often and most likely won’t serve him well as he continues to get labeled as a D.C. insider.

He’d probably do better to put that in the background and highlight his Alaska successes.

As Alaska’s attorney general, he was one of the first AG’s in the country to sue over ObamaCare. And as DNR commissioner, he crisscrossed the world, touting Alaska’s natural resources. He also successfully negotiated with ExxonMobil to begin work on Pt. Thomson, the huge North Slope oil and gas field, something that has eluded others for decades.

Treadwell, Alaska’s lieutenant governor since 2010, highlighted his long ties to Alaska. He moved to the state in 1978 to work on Wally Hickel’s losing gubernatorial run. He returned in 1982 armed with a master’s from Harvard to work for Hickel’s company, Yukon Pacific which tried, but failed, to build a natural gas pipeline that would run from the North Slope to tidewater in Valdez. Hickel ran again for governor and won in 1990 and Treadwell served as his deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Treadwell was appointed to Bush’s United States Arctic Research Commission, and became president of the commission. Among other things during his tenure, he supported the Law of the Sea Treaty, a fact that won’t likely serve him well with Tea Party activists, to whom such international treaties are anathema.

Throughout, Treadwell invested in a series of successful tech companies.

Vince Beltrami, head of Alaska’s AFL-CIO, said he didn’t see much difference in the two candidates as far as issues went. “They’re like peas in a pod,” he said, which was a sentiment shared by others in the room.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate candidate Treadwell releases fourth-quarter fundraising numbers

On Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell announced that he had raised more than $228,000 in the fourth fundraising quarter, with about 1,000 donations. More than 80 percent of those funds came from Alaskans, he said.

“We are very proud to have received such backing from voters who have a real stake in our campaign to replace Mark Begich,” he said. “Every quarter our campaign to bring decision-making home grows, as each quarter the number of donors nearly doubles the previous one. We are very excited about our constant progress.” (The full release is below)

Federal candidates must file quarterly reports with the FEC. The official fourth-quarter reports aren’t due until the end of the month.

Among Treadwell’s two main challengers in the Republican Senate primary, only former DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan has released the total fourth-quarter fundraising amount. He said that he has raised more than $1.25 million. Much of that money is said to have come from high-powered fundraisers in the Lower 48.

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich hasn’t released his numbers yet. In the last quarter he raised $813,000, and had $2.4 million on hand.

Fundraising has not been Treadwell’s strong point. In the third quarter, he raised $196,000 and only had $155,000 cash on hand.

Expectations were higher for this quarter, as he hired high-powered D.C. fundraiser Lisa Spies.

Here’s Treadwell’s release in full:

Today, the Mead Treadwell U.S. Senate Campaign released their 4th quarter fundraising numbers. The campaign raised over $228,000 with over 80% of donors from Alaska.

The Treadwell campaign released the following statement regarding the 4th quarter finance numbers:

“Our campaign is thrilled with the amount of support we have received, especially from Alaskans. Of the nearly 1,000 donations received this quarter, more than 80 percent came from Alaskan voters. We are very proud to have received such backing from voters who have a real stake in our campaign to replace Mark Begich. Every quarter our campaign to bring decision-making home grows, as each quarter the number of donors nearly doubles the previous one. We are very excited about our constant progress. This is a campaign for Alaska, supported by Alaskans.

“Even with outside money pouring in, Alaska’s votes are not for sale. Mead has led in this race from the beginning and continues to do so. Mead has spent 40 years serving the state, and no one can buy that kind of experience or the loyal support it creates. Alaskans need a senator who understands our state and values. In November we will make a change in the Senate and Mead is proud to have such overwhelming support from those who will make that change.” – Fred Brown, Treadwell for Senate Campaign Spokesman.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Treadwell calls himself ‘pro-life leader’ on 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Calling himself a “pro-life leader,” Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell put out a statement and a campaign video in support of anti-abortion protesters gathered in D.C. and Juneau on Wednesday, the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Treadwell is in a three-way race for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Since entering the race, he has veered to the right, most notably on social issues such as abortion.

“Every person has a purpose and path in the world and I firmly believe life begins at conception,” he wrote. “I have worked with pro-life groups in Alaska for decades. I’ve fought to help pass the parental notification initiative and to clarify ‘medical necessity.’ As Senator, I will fight to make sure tax dollars are spent to save lives, not take them away.”

Recently, the state passed regulations that dictate that the State of Alaska’s Medicaid program will no longer pay for abortions unless a doctor deems such abortions “medically necessary.”

Thousands of people protested in the cold in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. In Juneau, about 30 people protested in the pouring rain in front of the state Capitol Building.

President Obama also put out a release today. “We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” he wrote.

Obama also said that his administration aims to “reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com


Senate candidate Dan Sullivan amasses big war chest

U.S. Senate candidate and former DNR commissioner Dan Sullivan announced on Tuesday morning that his campaign has raised just over $1.25 million since mid October, when he got into the Senate race.

That’s an impressive enough haul that it will likely catapult Sullivan from a relative unknown to a frontrunner in the three-way Republican primary race, which includes Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and former Senate candidate Joe Miller. Whoever wins that will take on Sen. Mark Begich in the general election.

Treadwell announced his run in June. As of the end of September, he had only raised $327,000.He hasn’t yet released fundraising numbers for the most recent reporting period. Meanwhile, Miller seems more interested in organizing his base than in raising big money. He raised $32,000 through September and had $288,000 cash on hand.

“I am honored and thankful for the support that I have received from Alaskans and people across the country who believe that America’s best days are ahead,” Sullivan said.  “This is a clear sign that our message on the need to roll back the President Obama-Harry Reid-Mark Begich agenda is resonating.”

Because official FEC reports aren’t due until Jan. 31, it’s unclear who donated to Sullivan. When they are officially released, the reports will likely be combed over by his opponents, who have at various times accused him of being a consummate D.C. insider and a carpetbagger from Ohio.

Sullivan was born and raised in Ohio. He moved to Alaska in 1997 after getting a Georgetown law degree to clerk for various judges. He left in 2002 to work under President George W. Bush. He returned to the state in 2009 to be Alaska’s attorney general and then the commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. Sullivan has also served in the Marine Corps since 1993, both on active duty and in the reserves. In July he was called to active duty to work on a counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan.

Contact Amanda Coyne at amandamcoyne@yahoo.com