Monthly Archives: October 2014

Walker’s lawyer sends cease and desist letter about ‘false’ income tax claims

Americans for Tax Reform, a Grover Norquist group that has suddenly taken a keen interest in the governor’s race, sent out a press release today, accusing Independent candidate Bill Walker of calling for a state income tax in a 2004 Anchorage Daily News letter to the editor. The problem? Walker says that he didn’t write it. Walker’s lawyer, Scott Kendall, is demanding a retraction. In a letter (see below), Kendall called the claim “patently false and defamatory.”  As he pointed out, there are at least 20 Bill Walkers listed in the phone book. (Full disclosure: The letter was floated by me a few weeks ago. I asked Walker’s campaign about it then, and Walker’s  spokesperson, Lindsay Hobson, said that neither Bill, nor his wife Donna “recognized it as something he had written.”)

In a press release, Walker said that he has never supported an income tax and never “entertained this thought.” He said it was “another attempt by an Outside group to distract voters from Sean Parnell’s troubling fiscal record.”

Kendall said that he sent the letter after East Coast business hours, and after the decision makers had left for the day, which he called ‘unfortunate.” The press release is being spread around social media.

Here’s Kendall’s letter in full:  Continue reading


Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.31

  • Pumpkins-PoliticsThe final debates for the state were held yesterday and they were full of pent-up anger, frustration, and passion; i.e. fireworks were a plenty. The Dispatch has an article about the  Senate and the Congressional debate. Or, you could simply enjoy the actual footage of the debate with KSKA. Be sure to have popcorn ready, some parts are that good.
  • Just in time for Halloween: If you were waiting for the ghost of Ted Stevens to make a presence in the Senate race, wait no more.
  • The latest APOC records came in with candidates’ 7 day and 24 hour reports. Money reveals so much about a campaign, even without considering Independent Expenditures.
  • Sabato’s Crystal Ball is now changing its stance on the gubernatorial race to “Toss-up” from “Leans Independent. “ To quote them, “an we be brutally frank? The governors’ races are really tough to call this year.” They are not the only ones. The Huffington Post also is predicting a Parnell win on Tuesday.

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The ghost of Ted Stevens emerges in the Senate race

I didn’t watch the last Senate debate of the season tonight between Sen. Mark Begich and GOP challenger Dan Sullivan sponsored by Alaska Public Media. But from the post-debate spin, I’d say that both campaigns think their guy won handily, and both of their campaigns thought that the other messed up.

According to the Democrats’ spin, GOP challenger Dan Sullivan avoided answering tough questions about the Patriot Act, tribal rights, the war in the Middle East, and campaign finance reform, to name a few. He did, however, say that banks were over-regulated, which will likely prove to be fodder for attack, particularly given campaign donations that he’s received from the financial industry.

But from what I can see on twitter and in breathless GOP press releases, one of the biggest mistakes of the evening was made by U.S. Sen. Mark Begich when he adamantly denied that he ran attack ads against the late Sen. Ted Stevens who he beat in 2008 after Stevens was convicted of corruption charges, and before those charges were thrown out because of corruption by the prosecutors.

Here’s the exchange between Sullivan and Begich on the ads:

Here’s a 2008 Begich ad that every Republican in the world is sending out:

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What would you ask the gov. and lieutenant gov. candidates?

Dan Fagan and I will be moderating a governor’s and lieutenant governor’s  forum sponsored by the Mat-Su Business Alliance. I understand that the event is sold out, but if you want to come, you might want to call to make sure. Mostly, Fagan and I will be wandering around with mics, taking questions from the audience. However, I’ll have a chance to ask at least one or two questions. I’ve got a few, but I’m curious about you all. If you had one question for any of the four candidates, what would it be?


The dollars and sense (get it?) of some key legislative races across the state

Here are the most recent fundraising numbers from state House and Senate races that I’ve been keeping an eye on. (Some, I’ll admit, a closer eye than others.) They include the mandatory 7 day reports (due seven days before the election) and daily reports thereon out until Election Day. It’s important to note that these numbers don’t include the hundreds of thousands of dollars that are being spent by Independent Expenditure groups on both sides.

Anchorage House District 15

  • Democratic challenger Laurie Hummel: $103,596
  • Republican Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux: $147,743

This one is going to be close, and is getting nasty. Hummel has characterized the National Guard scandal as partly the fault of LeDoux, who sat on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, which is totally unfair. In fact, it’s so unfair that it might warrant a response, considering that Hummel’s husband, Chad Parker, is a colonel in the National Guard, and as such, might have had some knowledge of the issues himself, which he seems to have kept to himself.

Anchorage House District 21

  • Republican candidate Anand Dubey: $39,614
  • Democratic candidate Matt Claman: $109,670

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Big ground game and new radio ad from Planned Parenthood Votes

Here’s the latest really good radio ad from Planned Parenthood Votes, which supports Sen. Mark Begich and continues to have a huge presence in Senate race. It’s organizing the largest get out the vote effort that PP Votes has ever done in Alaska. According to the group’s spokesperson, volunteers have already knocked on over 41,000 nearly 35,000 doors as of Thursday morning and made over 16,000 phone calls. About 50 PP supporters showed up to rally in front of last night’s KTUU Senate debate, where not a single women’s health care question was asked.


Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.30

  • Last night’s U.S. Senate debate was electric. It started out as inspiration to one of the most beautiful pictures of the night, but quickly fell into a winner-takes-all style verbal brawl. KTUU has the entire debate up on their website incase you missed it and are feeling left out of the water cooler banter, but the Free Beacon has a snippet of one of the most passionate parts of the evening. Too dramatic for your blood? The Brookings Institute has the key issues itemized in easy to follow bullet points.
  • The Sullivan campaigned had Moore Information out of Portland (Not to be confused with Ivan Moore) conduct a poll and the results show him with a 4 point lead over Sen. Mark Begich with a 4% margin of error. The Hill points to early voting breakdown as one of the reasons for Sullivan’s surge. 35% Republicans, 19% Democrats and 44% Undeclared/Nonpartisan. What those numbers mean is anybody’s guess, but Moore Information is interpreting it as the extensive ground game by the Democratic Party not coming to fruition.
  • My last midterm election piece for Politico before November 4 is up and ready for your digestion/dissection. Outsiders may think they know Alaska, but they don’t. We are unique, right down to the way we use Crisco.
  • Steve Kornacki with Real Clear Politics explains what a win for U.S. Senator Mark Begich will mean for the future of the Senate. Both Begich and Sullivan could use this to bolster their case for support.

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Walker up big against Parnell in poll question paid for by Walker campaign

Below is a summary from local pollster Ivan Moore’s most recent survey question–paid for by gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker– which shows Walker-Mallott up against Parnell-Sullivan by more than 9 percentage points, or by a whopping 13 percentage points, depending on what sample is used. Only about 5 percent are undecided. Others polls have the race much closer, and the undecided voters much greater. Moore has also been outspoken supportive of the formation of the ticket and has held a fundraiser at his house for Walker-Mallott.  Continue reading


Quote of the day: AFRW compares Walker to Palin

Here’s a letter from Rhonda Boyles, President of the Alaska Federation of Republican Women, urging fellow Republicans to vote for Gov. Sean Parnell. I’m publishing it in full, because I think the comparisons to Sarah Palin are interesting, as is the writing.

Fool me Once Shame on You. Fool me Twice, Shame on Me.

In 2006, our Republican women’s groups helped elect Sarah Palin as governor. We admit that we got burned. If Alaskans follow Sarah Palin again, there is only one place that can lead – back to the chaos and dysfunction that characterized her 18 months as governor. Continue reading


Sullivan campaign poll shows Sullivan up 4 points over Begich

Contrary to other polls that have been recently released (see here, here, and here), an internal poll conducted by Moore Information, a Portland-based firm that’s polling for GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan’s campaign, has Sullivan holding a 4 percentage point lead over Sen. Mark Begich, 42 to 38 percent, while 12 percent are still undecided. Third-party candidates Mark Fish and Ted Gianoutsos each are getting 4 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 500 voters October 26-28, via cell phone and land line. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

The pollster for Moore, Hans Kaiser, has a long history of polling for Alaska Republicans, including for Sen. Lisa Murkowski and former Sen. Ted Stevens.

The crosstabs weren’t available, but Kaiser’s memo accompanying the poll said that Sullivan is leading among men 16 points and is trailing by 7 points with women. Kaiser also said that Sullivan has a significant advantage among those most interested in the race. According to Kaiser, the intensity is squaring with the partisan makeup of early voter turnout. Here’s the numbers he’s crunched from Alaska Division of Elections, as of 10.27:

  • 35% GOP
  • 18.5% Democrat
  • 20.2% Non-Partisan
  • 23.7% Undeclared
  • 2.5% Other

How much does Begich support and listen to women? Ask Murkowski.

It’s nice to be a woman right now. Every time we turn on the television or open up the computer, someone’s telling us how important we are to the political process, and how we must take charge of our own destiny and vote for the man who will best listen to us, not distort what we say, and look out for our interests. It’s great to be in such a position of power. It might, in fact, make some of us feel as important as, say, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the most powerful female politician in the state. I mean, what she does and what she says matters, right?

Except, apparently, when it doesn’t, and except when a certain man decides that it doesn’t. I’m talking about Sen. Mark Begich’s staunch refusal to discontinue using a picture of him and Murkowski for campaign purposes. Murkowski’s office even sent a legal order and he still refused. When GOP challenger Dan Sullivan asked about it at a forum, Begich said that Murkowski “shouldn’t be ashamed” that the two of them work so well together and besides that, the only reason she wanted it taken down is because “she didn’t like the photo.Continue reading


Romney endorses Parnell

Former presidential contender Mitt Romney endorsed Gov. Sean Parnell in a radio spot released by Parnell’s campaign today.

“It’s an honor to receive Mitt Romney’s endorsement,” Governor Parnell said. “Like Governor Romney, I have fought to create more economic opportunity and strengthen our families. I thank Governor Romney for his endorsement and look forward to his visit to Alaska next week.”

Details of that visit are to follow.

Romney got about 55 percent of the Alaska vote in 2012, to Obama’s 41 percent, and is still presumably popular with Republicans in this state.

Listen to the radio spot here:


Inside/Outside morning news roundup for 10.29

  • Everybody is aflutter about the Washington Post’s announcement that Mitt Romney and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz will be coming to our humble backwater to stump on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan. From the amount of attention this announcement is getting from the Alaska Commons, the Dispatch, you would have thought we were getting somebody important like David Bowie.
  • Senate Democrats are banking on a “Big If” to maintain Senate control. What’s the “Big If”? According to Politico and its Beltway Bandits, technology.
  • Who’s got the momentum going into the final days? If you read the papers, it would appear that Sen. Mark Begich does. The News-Miner endorsed him a few days ago, and now the Juneau Empire did also, touting Begich’s seniority. The paper also endorsed Tony Knowles over Lisa Murkowski in 2004. So there’s that.
  • Bless her heart, Sarah Palin told Fox Business that she’ll be “hopefully running for office in the future too.” Yep. That happened. The Juneau Empire has a full set of interesting quotes from that segment as well as backstory for those that have been living under a rock for the past decade.

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Funniest political ad of the year award: Shelley Hughes

Valley Republican Rep. Shelley Hughes, who’s running for reelection, is known for being kind of funny, in a weird kind of way. Some might remember that she made national headlines last session for calling breast feeding “sexy.” Anyway, here’s one of her homespun campaign ads, which actually made me laugh, in a real way.