Monthly Archives: June 2014

New ad features Sullivan as job creator, Begich as job killer

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan released another ad on Wednesday. This one features Richard Faulkner, president of Anchorage-based Steelfab, and Peter Macksey, head of customer relations at Steelfab, the steel plant that U.S. Sen. Mark Begich featured in one of his own recent ads.  In that ad, Begich boasts that he got Steelfab “more business because I got the administration to allow more drilling.” When reached on the phone, however, Faulker called Begich’s claim “totally false” and was “upset,”  to put it politely, when he saw it.

The Sullivan ad says that as DNR commissioner, Sullivan got results, “1200 jobs worth of results,” Macksey says.

Macksey is referring to the North Slope’s Point Thomson, an oil and gas field about 60 miles east of Prudhoe Bay. The field was originally discovered in 1977 Continue reading


Loose Lips: Murkowskis endorse. Naked Mabel. GOP’s salad mess.

Loose LipsA few weeks ago, I wrote about House District 36 in Southeast and the seat that’s being vacated by Rep. Peggy Wilson. I said I had heard that Patti Mackey, who’s the president and CEO of the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, appeared to have a leg up on other Republican candidates: Borough Assemblywoman Agnes Moran and Chere Klein. Some people took issue with that. One even implied that I was part of some sort of vague conspiracy. Machinations in the Misty Fiords! Alas. Just chatterers who might have been wrong. Moran sure has some supporters out there. Including none other than former Gov. Frank and Nancy Murkowski, who still consider Ketchikan home. Nancy confirmed that the two are endorsing Moran, which is not a small deal in Ketchikan. Continue reading


AFL-CIO endorses French for lt. gov.

The Alaska AFL-CIO, the state’s largest largest labor organization, has endorsed outgoing Democratic Alaska state senator and lieutenant governor candidate Hollis French. Bob Williams, a teacher in Wasilla, is also running for that seat. AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami said that although the union likes Williams, French has been supporting labor for 14 years and “we don’t turn our backs on old friends for new friends. ” Among other thing, the endorsement will now allow the AFL-CIO to write PAC checks to French. Other unions will likely follow the AFL-CIO’s lead.


Crossroads GPS runs new Begich attack ad

Bill Vivlamore, the president of the Frontier Supply Company in Fairbanks, is featured in a new Begich attack ad by Crossroads GPS. “Mark Begich doesn’t understand what voting 97 percent of the time with Obama is doing to businesses in Alaska,” says Vivlamore, who focuses in the ad on Begich’s vote for ObamaCare. The ad will run statewide and is backed by $450,000. Unlike American Crossroads, Crossroads GPS isn’t a super-PAC, and runs issue ads instead of ads advocating for a candidate. As such, it’s not required to disclose its donors.


Yes on 1 campaign attacks former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles

The “Vote Yes – Repeal The Giveaway” campaign, which is advocating repealing the oil tax overhaul that recently passed the Legislature, sent out a fundraising email on Friday accusing former Gov. Tony Knowles, who is against repeal, of corruption, cronyism, and for being a “paid shill” for the oil companies.  A young “aggressive” intern sent the email, the campaign said.

“This is the same Tony Knowles who gave his friends at BP a $200 million dollar oil lease for free while receiving several hundred thousand dollars in a secret bank account for his own personal use,” the email written by Andrew Lessig said.

“Knowles continued his crony ways by attempting to allow BP to monopolize the North Slope by taking control of ARCO.” Continue reading


New York Times digs into V.A. scandal in Alaska

The national media has done some great investigative reporting about problems plaguing the V.A. health system nationwide. Until now, Alaska, which has the largest population of vets per capita in the U.S., has largely remained out of the headlines, save for the issue being used as political fodder by both sides in the Senate race.  As such, it’s largely been assumed that the problems in Alaska, compared to V.A. systems in the rest of the country, have been relatively benign.  Continue reading


Will war in Iraq and high oil prices play a part in Alaska’s election?

Energy and natural gas guru T Boone Pickens told CNBC on Friday that if Iraq’s oil supplies dry up as a result of unrest in the country, crude could hit $150-$200 a barrel, providing ammunition for those who want Alaskans to vote on an initiative in August to repeal the oil tax regime that passed the Legislature in 2013.

Iraq produces about 3.3 million barrels a day, and has the world’s fifth-largest proven oil reserves. It’s OPEC’s second-largest producer, after Saudi Arabia. Continue reading


Loose Lips: Gay pride meets oilies and Libertarians. Bridges and Crossroads. IBU needs navigation?

18955141_mA mix of people marched downtown on Saturday in the gay pride parade. State senator and lite gov. candidate, Hollis French, who’s long been an advocate for gay rights, was part of the mélange, as was U.S. Democratic House hopeful Forrest Dunbar. More unlikely: The oilies made a showing. A group of BP employees marched with the best of them, and about 10 people carrying “No on 1” signs joined the rainbow. Libertarian Mark Fish was the only U.S. Senate hopeful to show. Continue reading


Unrest in Iraq could skyrocket oil prices, providing ammunition for repeal

Energy and natural gas guru T Boone Pickens told CNBC on Friday that if Iraq’s oil supplies dry up as a result of unrest in the country, crude could hit $150-$200 a barrel, providing ammunition for those who want Alaskans to vote on an initiative in August to repeal the oil tax regime that passed the Legislature in 2013.
Continue reading


Begich fires back at VA allegations

Below is the response from U.S. Sen. Mark Begich’s campaign to the American Crossroads ad released earlier this week, accusing Begich of not taking enough action on veterans’ healthcare. It’s a powerful response, as is the radio spot that goes along with it. Although there are problems, the veterans system here has largely avoided being plagued with the problems that the facilities are plagued with in the Lower 48. That’s in large part due to the work of Begich, along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who fought to allow some vets in rural Alaska to go to local clinics.


Independent governor candidate Walker is first up with TV ad

Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker is on the air, making him the first candidate in the governor’s race who has bought television time. The ads, four in all, three of which so far are on TV, highlight Walker as a man of action, a family man who isn’t afraid to take risks. The best one, I think, is the one below that’s running in Fairbanks. It isn’t the slickest commercial, but the question Walker asks in it is very good one. Watch here:

The answer for most residents is a resounding “No.” Fairbanks is not better off than it was six years ago. Home heating costs have skyrocketed in Fairbanks. The air is not cleaner. The quality of life is not better. It’s a stretch to say that Parnell is responsible for all that ails the Interior city. But that Fairbanks sits only a few hundred miles from the largest energy fields in North America, and yet some residents are being forced to choose between food and heating oil, is if nothing else, a stark display of lack of leadership, which appears to be exactly Walker’s point.


National poll has Senate candidate Sullivan up in GOP primary

It’s not the very best time to take polls seriously, considering how startlingly wrong pollsters got the Virginia House race. Even the group which released the most recent public poll on the U.S. Senate primary in Alaska, got it wrong in Virginia. That said, the Daily Caller/Vox Populi poll didn’t get it as wrong as some other groups did, one of which had House Majority Leader Eric Cantor up more than 30 points. And it did sound the alarm a few days before the primary, saying that Cantor was “struggling.

Continue reading


Treadwell’s new web ad: ‘The True Alaskan Conservative’

On Thursday, GOP Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell released an ad today, entitled “The True Alaskan Conservative.”

The theme of the commercial is that Treadwell is the true conservative who will fight the federal government for Alaska. It feels a little uninspired, say nothing of jumpy, but maybe I’m already inured to political ads. I liked his old ones better, when he hesitated and stuttered some, like a wise professor you want to drink tea with. This one feels a little like he’s been shoved in a suit and told to play a role. The message, however, might resonate with primary voters.

His spokesperson Tom Intorcio, tweeted that it was a TV ad, but it’s not. It’s a web ad.


Loose Lips: Treadwell loses state staffers. Fagan and Biegel to share a mic. Chenault fires back.

18955141_mTwo of Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell staffers are leaving his state office. Although I didn’t talk to her, I’ve been told his chief of staff, Michelle Toohey, is on her way out. I did talk to his communications manager, Colleen Cox, who told me that her last day is Wednesday. She said she’s leaving for “other opportunities.” Cox has been with Treadwell since his win in 2010. Before that, she volunteered for Gov. Sean Parnell’s campaign. Cox, an Anchorage girl, has a degree in English literature from Fordham University in New York, and then moved to Ireland to get the equivalent of a master’s in Irish literature, where she focused on James Joyce. If I were God, I’d make her my second. Anybody who can get through Finnegan’s Wake deserves it. Anyway, coming from neither of them: I’ve heard things are tense there.

Conservative radio talk show host Dan Fagan checked in on Thursday. He said that he’s still “golfing his way” to Alaska from California, where he’s been talking to audiences about… who cares what he’s been talking to Californians about? That’s the point. He didn’t care much either. Hence his return. He and uber conservative Glen Biegel will be co-hosting a show between 6 to 9:00 a.m. on KOAN, starting June 30. Fagan, a man with a changed heart, will be the softer side of the male-dominated, conservative duo. We’ll see how long that lasts. Sears tried that old “softer side” trick too, until it realized that its core consumers were white males with power-tool fetishes. Anyway, Fagan said he sleeps better at night now that he’s changed. Take it from one who knows: Ambien’s easier.

Tuesday evening was certainly a better evening for Alaska House Majority Leader Lance Pruitt than it was for Congressional Majority Leader Eric Cantor who was a victim of a major and unexpected upset. While Rep. Cantor was making his concession statement in Virginia, more than 30 Alaskans were heading to Pruitt’s fundraising reception at Simon & Seaforts in downtown Anchorage. Some familiar faces spotted at the event included: Rebecca Logan from the Alliance; Marie Evans from ConocoPhillips; Dan Fauske, the state’s gas czar; Joe Beedle from Northrim Bank; Paul Quesnel from BP; Natasha Von Imhoff, Alice Hanley, Sen. Click Bishop and Jim Udelhoven.

Ron Arvin and Cathy Tilton, two Valley GOP candidates vying for state House seat in District 12 being vacated by Rep. Bill Stoltze, also held events Tuesday evening. Arvin’s event was at the Petroleum Club in Anchorage and Tilton’s at the Regan Pavilion in Wasilla. Both events drew respectable crowds. The verdict: Arvin raised the most money and Tilton drew the most voters from the district.

Quite possibly the biggest political fundraiser Tuesday was in the Valley at construction mogul Dave and Dana Cruz’s home where they hosted a crowd of more than 80 people who showed to support GOP senate candidate Dan Sullivan. The event capped a long day of politicking in the Valley. I was there, trailing Sullivan, and am in the middle of writing a James Joyce-sized opus about the day. Don’t bate your breath waiting.

North Slope Borough Mayor Charlotte Brower was also in Anchorage Tuesday evening for a fundraising event hosted by members of the Associated General Contractors. From all accounts, this event was not as well attended as some of her previous campaign events.

The American Association of Political Consultants has selected New Orleans as the venue for their March 2015 meeting.

Upcoming Events:

• June 26, 5:30 – 8:00 pm. Campaign kick-off for Rep. Lynn Gattis’ re-election at the Regan Building Pavilion, Wasilla.

Sen. Anna Fairclough and Rep. Lynn Gattis are in San Francisco attending a national conference on education this week. Gattis chairs the House Education committee and Fairclough sits on the Senate Finance Committee that funds education.

Ellie Lottsfeldt, daughter of Jim and Dawn Lottsfeldt, was in Portland for a Jamie Cullum concert; however, a bigger thrill than the concert itself was when she found herself side-by-side Jamie at a sidewalk cafe. Needless to say, when Jim isn’t promoting Sen. Begich, he’s got some pics of Jamie and his daughter to share.

The June 10th edition of Fortune Magazine lists Alaska as one of the most corrupt states in the nation. That might seem like bad news to some. The Alaska Democrats, however, appear to be reveling in it. The party sent out a press release about the study, and went further, implicating Republican Sens. Cathy Giessel, Peter Micciche and Kevin Meyer. On the House side, it was Reps. Lynn Gattis, Eric Feige and Speaker Mike Chenault, the latter of whom particularly didn’t take kindly to the accusations of corruption. He fired back:

Reps. Feige and Gattis are some of the most honorable people that I have worked with. I’ll be damned if I sit back and watch while their integrity is questioned based on twisted versions of reality…If the Democratic Party feels that a member of the House is corrupt they should contact the appropriate law enforcement agency for an investigation. I personally welcome any scrutiny. I have nothing to hide.

Contact Amanda Coyne at 



Quote of the day: A reader weighs in on the historic Eric Cantor upset

From my most faithful reader, John R. Coyne Jr., who also happens to be my father, responding to the piece I posted on the historic win of Dave Brat in Virginia. I’m going to brag here: My father is a former White House speechwriter and currently contributes to a whole host of esteemed right-wing publications, which I read mostly because he writes brilliantly for them.

Also interesting that the major media, all of which are heavily represented in D.C. and have been devoting exhaustive coverage across the country to this year’s elections, didn’t have a clue about what was going on just across the border in Virginia, their own back yard, apparently content to rely on a few bad polls. Now they’re trying to spin it as a Tea Party triumph, but none of the organized Tea Party groups were backing Brat, instead, like the media, concentrating on Mississippi, where an amiable old goat was apparently finally being put out to pasture.