Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sarah Palin’s PAC continues to spend and receive

Roll Call’s Money Line is reporting that Sarah Palin’s political action committee, Sarah PAC, spent more than $700,000 in the last six months of 2013.

According to Roll Call, the PAC took in $717,264 and spent $713,551. It still has $1,117,684 on hand:

The PAC spent $242,673 on direct mail and postage; $101,500 on consultants; $69,000 on consultants for fundraising and compliance; $35,750 on research; $26,000 on speechwriting; and $9,909 on Harper Collins books for donors; among other expenditures. The report stated the PAC “did no advocacy.”The PAC gave $5,000 on 10/8 to Lonegan for Senate in the New Jersey Senate special election.

Read more here. Continue reading


Crawford throws his hat in the race to run against Giessel

Harry Crawford, a former Alaska state legislator and contender for the U.S. Congress, said on Thursday that he’s going to challenge Republican Alaska state Sen. Cathy Giessel in 2014. “Unless something drastic happens, that’s how I’m going to spend 2014,” Crawford said.

Crawford was in the House from 2001 to 2011 when he stepped down to run against U.S. Rep. Don Young, to whom he lost by a large margin. He also ran for the state Senate primary in another district in 2012 against fellow Democrat Bettye Davis. Davis lost to Sen. Anna Fairclough in the general.

District boundaries have since changed, and some say that the new district lines, which includes the upper Hillside area and Girdwood, are more favorable to a Democrat generally, and specifically to Crawford.

Crawford is a pro-resource development Democrat, an increasingly rare breed in Alaska. Although he wants to repeal the tax breaks made to the oil industry last session, he voted against ACES in 2007, believing that we should tax more on the low end and less on the upper end.

But he’s highly supportive of “getting Alaska back to work” and of big projects: the gas line, damns and mines, to name a few. Or, as he puts it: “Getting the projects out of the ground and the iron in the air.”

Crawford came to Alaska in the 1970s to work on the trans-Alaska pipeline, and was an iron worker for 37 years. He’s from Louisiana and although he said he’s worked in every state west of the Mississippi, he hasn’t lost his home state’s accent.

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Senate candidate Dan Sullivan releases first ad of campaign season

U.S. senate candidate Dan Sullivan released his first ad on Thursday which will only appear online. Sullivan is running against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and Joe Miller in the Republican primary. The ad serves as an introduction to Sullivan’s time as Alaska attorney general, former commissioner of DNR, and his service in the Marines. It doesn’t mention the other candidates. A series of radio ads produced by an Anchorage-based super-PAC earlier this month did hit Sen. Mark Begich, calling him “Malarkey Mark,” among other things.


Shell Oil suspends Arctic drilling plans for summer 2014

Royal Dutch Shell announced on Thursday that it was suspending Arctic drilling plans for summer 2014. The company is reporting a 71 percent decline in fourth-quarter profits and is undertaking a $15 billion asset sale. Shell did not indicate that it was selling its Alaska assets.

The company has spent about $5 billion and more than eight years of work for its Arctic oil exploration off Alaska’s coast in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Much of that work has been fraught with mistakes and mishaps.

The decision follows a federal court decision that said that the government used “inadequate information” in the process of awarding licenses for exploration in the Arctic. Part of that process was an environmental impact statement. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the agency that awarded the licenses, did so based on a much lower amount of oil than will likely be produced in the Arctic, the court found.

“This is a disappointing outcome, but the lack of a clear path forward means that I am not prepared to commit further resources for drilling in Alaska in 2014,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said, according to news reports. “We will look to relevant agencies and the court to resolve their open legal issues as quickly as possible.”

Many environmental groups will be overjoyed. Alaskans less so, many of whom are in favor of oil exploration and production. In addition to jobs and community investment, it was hoped that oil from the Arctic was going to help keep the trans-Alaska pipeline full. In 2013, an average of 534,480 barrels of oil a day flowed down the pipeline, down from more than 2 million barrels a day in the 1980s.

Although the federal court’s decision appeared to have more to do with sloppy bureaucrats than with a Democratic administration, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich will likely take a hit from his Republican challengers. He recently released an ad touting Shell’s activities in the Arctic and last week said that he remained “confident that we will see continued safe exploration in the Arctic this summer.”

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Loose Lips: Gassy oily Wednesday in Juneau. Repeal gets a generous donor. Higgins is in.

15770860_mIt’s oily, gassy Wednesday in the state capitol building. Among the oilies, ConocoPhillips Alaska President Trond-Erik Johansen and his posse spent the day roaming the halls. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association hosted a lunch today for leggies. The keynote speaker was BP Alaska President Janet Weiss.

Speaking of gas, gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker is still speaking about it. Expect much more of him as gasline legislation moves along.

From a fundraising letter from Vic Fischer “And now, for a limited time, a donor has agreed to match any contribution to Vote Yes! – Repeal the Giveaway 100% up to $25,000.”

As of last Friday, Fischer’s group, which is trying to repeal the oil tax legislation passed last legislative session, had raised about $104,000. Those who are urging voters to vote against the repeal, mainly oil companies, have raised more than $1.6 million as of Jan. 22.

So far, most of the $81,000 the repeal group has spent has gone to signature gatherers.  On the other side, nearly all the money the group has raised has gone to Poccarro Communications.

Some Anchorage Dems gathered at Barbie’s Café in Anchorage to watch the State of the Union, where the loudest applause line of the night came while Obama was speaking about women’s issues. The event was organized by, among others, Patti Higgins, who announced that she was running for state House against Rep. Charisse Millett, who just the day before told the press that doctors had discovered a brain lesion that might indicate that she has MS.

A panel was convened at the same gathering to talk to us after the speech and tell us what to think about issues. It was moderated by Dr. Carl Shepro. The inimitable Ivan Moore was on the panel. So was spokesman for the Democratic Party Zack Fields. The President of the Young Democrats Joe Samaniego and Dennis Knebel with the IBEW were also on the panel.

I was told that Shannyn Moore was invited to attend but didn’t show. Perhaps she was spent her evening somewhere in the company of women, who weren’t sitting in front of her telling her what to think about issues.

Not all Dems in the country are talking at women. Anchorage’s Gloria O’Neill, President of Cook Inlet Tibal Council, has been invited to participate in a White House discussion on employment with the President and his cabinet secretaries from Commerce and Labor. They want to hear what she has to say. Besides her work at CITC which includes several employment and training related programs, she also is on the University of Alaska’s board of regents.

What else? House Minority Leader Chris Tuck has been busy moving into his new, relatively palatial office, with a sitting room even! Outgoing Minority Leader Beth Kerttula had it pretty cozy. I remember throw rugs and pillows and plants and books. Since he’s the state’s most eligible bachelor, I was curious about Tuck’s designing plans, so I called his office a few times, but no one answered.

Speaking of the state’s most eligible bachelor, I’m told that he and Bernadette Wilson aren’t seeing each other anymore. Perhaps she was sick of calling and not getting an answer.

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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.

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Democrats will choose one of 9 candidates to replace Kerttula’s seat

The names are in and it looks like the Tongass Democrats will have a total of 9 candidates to choose from to fill the seat left vacant by House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula. The list will be whittled down to three based on interviews this weekend. Those names will then be sent to Gov. Sean Parnell by Feb. 4, who will make the decision.

Here are the names and the bios of the 9 candidates:

  • Ken Alper is owner of Silverbow Inn and Bakery with his wife Jill Ramiel. He has worked as an aide and oil and gas analyst for Rep. Kerttula and other House Democrats for the past nine years.
  • Nancy Barnes is executive assistant to the president and CEO of Huna Totem Corporation. She worked in the legislature for 26 years, serving both the House and Senate. She is Tsimshian and Alutiiq, president of Eyak Corporation, an Alaska Native Federation board member, Sealaska Heritage Institute trustee, and active in the Yees Ku Oo dance group.
  • James Betts is a 27 year resident of Juneau and owner of local business Betts Boat Repair. Dedicated to charity and value building in his community, he is presently the Alaska State Leader of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal and charitable organization.
  • Sara Hannan is a lifelong Alaskan. She has lived in Juneau the past 25 years and has taught for the Juneau School District for 18 years.
  • Jesse Kiehl is a lifelong Alaskan. He serves on the City and Borough Assembly and is a legislative aide. His 15-year history of civic involvement in Juneau is rooted in his passion to build a bright Alaska future for his two daughters.
  • Sam Kito III is a lifelong Alaskan with family roots in Petersburg. Born in Anchorage and raised in Fairbanks and Anchorage, he is a civil engineer and has worked on several projects throughout the state. He has lived in Juneau 18 of the past 22 years and is the proud parent of a 14-year-old freshman at JDHS.
  • Tim Lamkin is Alaska grown, with a background in outdoors, tourism, state politics and the education system. He has served as a legislative aide in the Capitol for the past 17 years, and during the tourism season has been a mining history commentator in Interior Alaska.
  • Kim Metcalfe is a fourth generation Alaskan and lifelong Juneauite. She currently works as a business agent for the Alaska State Employees Association representing members of the General Government Unit.
  • Catherine Reardon is a senior legislative aide. She formerly served as a Division Director for the Dept. of Commerce and as vice-chair of the Alaska Democratic Party.

Bruce Botelho chairs the selection committee. He told KTOO that interviews will revolve around basic meat and potatoes Democratic issues like education, health care, labor relations, and the state’s “fiscal future.”

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Palin defends McCain who received censure from state party

Sarah Palin defended Sen. John McCain on Facebook on Monday after the Arizona state Republicans voted to censure McCain for not being conservative enough and for occasionally crossing the aisle to vote with Democrats on immigration and healthcare. This sounds much like the same faction of conservatives that voted to censure U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2012 for conspiring with “far left groups.”

From Palin’s Facebook post:

During this time of dangerous lawlessness in the executive branch, those who agree on stopping the intended transformation of our country had better unite to fight. So at this time, it’s perplexing to see Senator McCain’s good efforts to uncover the Obama agenda being ignored and perhaps even hindered now by those wanting to censure the Arizona senator…We live in a time of diminishing virtues because of societal influence towards total self-centeredness. This is unfortunate and makes raising families, conducting business, and governing that much more challenging. I know how important the virtue of loyalty is because in politics it’s pretty much nonexistent. I stand on that most important virtue and answer those asking today: ‘Yes, I am proud to have been asked to run with him in 2008, and he is my friend.’ One more thing, if you’ve met his beautiful mother you know where he gets his tenacity. Roberta McCain is one tough Mama Grizzly.

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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.

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Another capital move? This time from D.C. to Nebraska.

On the first week of the 2014 legislative session, pea-soup fog settled over Juneau and as of Sunday night, it has still refused to get slurped up. Alaska Airlines was forced to cancel flights and other flights had to pass over and not land because of poor visibility. People were stranded everywhere. At various times all week, Sitka’s airport was over flowing with those so close yet so far.

This is nothing new. Juneau’s the only state capital not on the road system, and you can count fog and sleet and rain among the fans of the capital city. In the past this particularly bad spate of weather would give fodder to those who have been pushing for decades to move the capitol to Southcentral Alaska. Talk of such a move has been so pervasive throughout the years that many of us believed that it would never end. Until it did. It seems that all of the studies, expensive campaigns, and votes, have resulted in absolutely nothing but a weariness that has appeared to mute the capitol move-boosters.

So I was surprised by a headline that read, “Senate candidate proposes moving the capitol.”

Turns out however, that the proposed move would be far more costly than moving our state capitol from Juneau to Willow. This proposal by Nebraska Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse, is to move our nation’s capitol from Washington, D.C. to Nebraska. He believes that such a move would help cure dysfunctional Congress, cast light on lobbyists and special interests, etc. Substitute Nebraska and D.C. for Willow and Juneau, and the spot could have aired in Alaska, sans 1995.

Sasse knows what it took decades for Alaskans to learn: Nothing’s going to come of it. But it has gotten him some attention. He is running for an open senate seat being created by. Republican Sen. Mike Johanns. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Club for Growth, Senate Conservative Fund and Rep. Paul Ryan (R- Wis.) to name a few.

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Cowbells, rain and drama won’t keep politicians from Juneau

Here’s the first part of my new weekly column that was published in today’s Anchorage Daily News. Please know that I’ll continue to update this blog throughout the week, so check early and often:

It’s an unstable world. Couples break up. Friendships die. Stars and governments form and then explode. A vital appendage, the Daily News’ Ear, up and falls off on us. But know this: Politicians will always descend on Juneau in January, where rain and sleet greet them, and so does a lonely microphone, just awaiting the speeches of Rep. Les Gara.

And, of course, you can count on drama mounting as the rain continues to fall, as men beat their chests and women weep over education reform, natural gas taxes, cutting out the Department of Revenue’s purview over cattle branding.

The latter is a bill by House Speaker Mike Chenault, who got a little write-up in the Washington Post, courtesy of Alaska Robotics, for welcoming the session with a cowbell, or as he put it, a “cow bill.” He smiled for the camera. But we all know that Chenault wouldn’t mind having a cattle prod or branding iron on hand, particularly as the session heats up.

It all makes you wonder why anybody, particularly the young, would want to get into politics. Maybe it’s a desire for conflict and drama, much of which was on display when the Young and the Restless Republicans chose their new officers. To the surprise of some, the once-demure Harmony Shields, staffer to Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, turned Superwoman and snatched the No. 2 spot from the hands of those who wanted to keep it from her.

Read the rest here.


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.

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Jeff Landfield starts campaign to draft Rebecca Logan to run for lt. governor

Jeff Landfield, the young, outspoken 2012 challenger to Alaska state Sen. Lesil McGuire, has begun an effort to draft his friend and fellow outspoken conservative, Rebecca Logan, to run for lieutenant governor against fellow Republicans McGuire and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Landfield began a “Draft Rebecca Logan for Lieutenant Governor ” Facebook page on Wednesday. As of Thursday evening, it had 34 “likes.” Landfield is doing this because he’s dissatisfied with the current choices for the number 2 spot on the Republican ticket. “The same people keep on being recycled in different offices,” he said. “She’s smart and hard working. She’s a catalyst for the bigger issue.”

Since he started the page, Landfield said that his phone is ringing off the hook.

Logan is the head of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance, a pro-oil industry group. She’s also no stranger to Republican Party politics. In 2012, she was a member of the natural resources committee of the Republican Party, which, at the time, was in the hands of tea party activists. During a meeting of those activists, she brought a resolution to the floor to vote to withhold Republican Party funds to any member of what was then a bipartisan Senate coalition. Republican members included current senators McGuire, Kevin Meyer, Bert Stedman, and Gary Stevens.

Logan also voted on a resolution to censure certain officials of the Republican Party of Alaska, including outgoing chair Randy Ruedrich, former assistant treasurer Frank McQueary, and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski. The censure for Murkowski was for joining “far left interest groups” and “maliciously attacking” Joe Miller.

Full disclosure: At the same meeting, Logan tried unsuccessfully to get fellow attendees to kick this reporter out of the room, calling me the “opposition.” After she did so, I mustered the courage to call her a name under my breath, which she heard. The name rhymes with snitch.

Former lawmaker Jerry Ward led the successful charge to allow me to stay and report the meeting.

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Democratic challenger Mallott reacts to Parnell’s State of the State

byron mallottBelow is Democratic gubernatorial candidate Byron Mallott’s press release reacting to Gov. Sean Parnell’s State of the State on Wednesday. Mallott, like Parnell, wants more jobs, greater diversification, safer communities, and a robust investment climate.

The two areas of disagreement are on education and expanding Medicaid.

Late last year, Parnell rejected federal money to expand Medicaid, a joint federal/state insurance program for poor Alaskans. “Governor Parnell’s refusal to accept the Federal Medicaid Waiver must be reversed so that 40,000 vulnerable Alaskans can receive the health care they urgently require,” Mallott wrote.

In his State of the State, Parnell called for reform of the state’s educational system, including allowing the public to vote on whether or not public money should go to private and educational institutions.

“Public dollars must go to public schools,” Mallott wrote.

Here’s Mallott’s press release in full:

Alaska is a state of great promise and our future as Alaskans can be bright. But we need leadership to match the challenges and opportunities of today. Alaskans are faced right now with a public education funding crisis that demands immediate legislative action. Governor Parnell wants to divert public dollars to private education when every public education dollar must go to making Alaska’s education system the very best. Public dollars must go to public schools.

Alaskans together must address the challenge of a $2 billion budget revenue deficit that is expected to grow in future years. This session of the Alaska Legislature must focus diligently on reshaping spending to meet the urgent needs faced by every Alaskan, their families, and communities. Governor Parnell’s refusal to accept the Federal Medicaid Waiver must be reversed so that 40,000 vulnerable Alaskans can receive the health care they urgently require. Public safety and a justice system that is responsive to the need of every Alaskan must be strengthened. Job creation and economic diversification is crucial. Reducing the cost of energy for electricity, heating and transportation in Alaska must be a priority. A gas pipeline project that meets Alaska’s need for in-state energy, stable long-term export revenue, and jobs for Alaskans must be a priority that all Alaskans can understand and embrace. A stable, durable oil tax that is needed both for vital oil industry investment and robust public revenue must be agreed to by all Alaskans.

Governor Parnell’s agreement with Alaska democratic legislative leaders’ call for funding Alaska’s pension retirement gap is a step in the right direction to meet both responsible budgeting and a constitutional obligation. I urge the Legislature and Governor in these critical times to reach out to all Alaskans so that together in open, transparent, and responsible dialogue and decision making we can make the best choices for Alaska’s future.

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Quote of the day: ex-Shell USA president on legal corruption in politics

“I feel extorted. Every time I wrote a check I felt that it was a form of extortion, the price of entry, because of the reception that you got when you contributed versus the reception when you did not contribute… We talk about corruption in Third World countries. In this case, the corrupters have written a law to make it legal to the corruptees. And I consider that atrocious in the name of democracy.”

John Hofmeister, who ran Shell Oil USA from 2005 through 2008, talks to CNN about the country’s political fund-raising system.