Candidates gather in Wasilla for Alaska Republican Assembly convention

There’s going to be a time, I predict sooner rather than later, when reasonable Republicans aren’t going to be able to sit through a speech like the one given at the Alaska Republican Assembly convention in Wasilla by Assembly President Sharron Angle, the Nevada politician who ran for Senate in 2010.

“One out of every six bundlers on the Democratic side is homosexual,” she told the 150 or so people at the Wasilla Sports Complex on Saturday. “Are you starting to see the trend? If we want to stop their agenda we have to stop their money,” she said.

One day reasonable Republicans in the room will get up and walk out, in the same way they’d walk out if she substituted “black” or “Hispanic” for “homosexual. “

They’re not there yet, however. We’re not there yet. And most of the politicians and want-to-be politicians who showed for the much hyped Assembly meeting on Saturday sat safely behind their tables. Among the attendees: Reps. Bill Stoltze, Lynn Gattis, Shelley Hughes, Wes Keller, and Lora Reinbold. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan worked the room. Sen. Lesil McGuire made an appearance, as did Russ Millette, the former GOP chair who just announced that he was running for governor as a Republican. Bill Walker had a booth, manned by his running mate Craig Fleener. Anand Dubey, who’s running for state House in West Anchorage, and John Cox, a candidate for the U.S. House, were there. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan also had a booth. Mead Treadwell had a presence. Joe Miller was there, getting the most shout-outs from the speakers.

Most of them sat or stood around the edges, chatting with occasional passersby, and occasionally even rolling their eyes at some of the speakers’ more fulsome pronouncements. None of them, however, left. The people in the room represented a slice of the electorate that they’re going to need in in the primary, and they can’t afford to offend them.

The Alaska Republican Assembly is a member of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a group that’s been around since the 1950s. Its profile has risen with the Tea Party’s profile in the last few years — the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. It considers itself the Republican Wing of the Republican Party.

The precursor to the National Federation of Republican Assemblies was formed in California in the 1930s and spread to Arizona, claiming success in getting both Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater elected in those states. In those years they were known as the “Young Turks.” Still Turks today, perhaps. But young, not quite so applicable these days, as anyone who has recently attended a Tea Party rally can attest.

At any rate, it was certainly a greying crowd at the Wasilla Sports Complex, with the exception of Mead Treadwell’s volunteers. Somehow Treadwell manages to attract a kind of young, well-groomed volunteer who calls to mind tennis matches and 5 o’clock cocktails on the porch overlooking an emerald green lawn.

But on Saturday, they weren’t on that porch. They were in Wasilla, wearing neon reflective shirts with Treadwell’s name written across them, listening to Sharron Angle talk about the gay agenda, and the profitable “baby killing industries,” which she continually repeated, and which, because the acoustics weren’t good, came out as ‘baby killing in the streets.”

You can say a lot about Sharron Angle, but at least she doesn’t yell. Two of the other keynote speakers did a lot of that. For hours. God. Guns. Socialism. Obama.

Richard Mack, a sheriff from Arizona, yelled about how Alaska should be able to elect sheriffs. Right now!!!

“Are you a David?” he yelled. “Do you have the courage to go against the Goliath?… Did you know that gun control is against the law?… How many God given rights are in the First Amendment?”

“Five!” he yelled.

Ted Cruz’s father Pastor Rafael rounded out the afternoon. Like the sheriff, the senior Cruz’s voice rose. But the sheriff’s shouts seemed aimed at hitting you, individually, in your gut. The senior Cruz’s voice was the voice of stern pastors everywhere, the one that rips right through you, through the walls, into some land beyond that only they envision.

“Nobody is taking my gun or my bible,” he shouted. “Vote according to principle.”

He talked about his son Ted, and how Ted went to Washington “not to compromise but to fight for our freedoms.”

While in Alaska, he was going to visit other men of God, to try to enlist them in the effort to “wake up pastors that are hiding behind their pulpits,” and won’t tell their people the truth. He’s going to tell them that much like the frog in the warm pot of water, “You’re being boiled to death because of your complacency.”

A straw poll was taken at the end of the day. The winners: Gov. Sean Parnell for governor. Joe Miller for Senate. John Cox for Congress. Mayor Dan Sullivan for lieutenant governor. Ted Cruz for president.

Alaska Republican Assembly will officially endorse sometime before the primary.

Contact Amanda Coyne at

Correction: The initial post misspelled Sharron Angle’s name. 


13 thoughts on “Candidates gather in Wasilla for Alaska Republican Assembly convention

  1. Mae

    Of course the Mat Su valley low information idiotic citizen would have this display of stupid.
    And they paid for that kind of speech.

  2. brbr2424

    The Dixicrats did not go away. They joined the Republican party. I’m not saying that to be pithy. That is objectively what happened.

  3. Lesa J.

    This is a very interesting post written very well. I didn’t pick this event up from any other news outlet which surprises me. It makes me wonder what else the media is intentionally selecting not to cover. From my point of view, I feel that this was, even though it is not my type of politics, a rather important political gathering that espouses a political philosophy that I find disturbing and even scarey. I appreciate your coverage. I guess this is one of the reasons for the growing popularity of your blog.

  4. Clark

    Sounded like there was a wacko right-wing hootennanny going on in the Valley on Saturday. I’ve never quite understood the politics of hatred which seems to be the driving force with these guys. Just like the KKK wrapped their organization is scriptures, so do today’s right-wing groups. Did they forget their childhood prayers? My prayers starrted off “God is good, God is great…” He’s not mean or hateful. Heard from someone else that a couple of these clowns were walking around wearing holsters and sidearms. To me that is as ridiculous as showing up dressed like clowns. I support the 2nd amendment and am a member of the NRA, but have no reason to wear a gun on my hip to a political rally. I have a hard time accepting these people; but, I do. Wish they could have tolerance and respect for others too.

  5. Registered True Blue

    As a Democrat, I welcome these conservative right wingers to Alaska. I have to believe that their message turns off more people than anything. Where in the world do they come up with their so-called data points ? I also find it sadly amusing their hypocriisy of using God’s name and teachings to bash those that don’t agree with them.

  6. Lynn Willis

    You are correct Amanda – a sane, rational, courageous politician would have walked out after that slur. Fiscal reality is soon enough going to dim the appeal of these hypocrite Alaska politicians who after taking their state paychecks with full benefits and then after filling out their PFD applications for even more state money, proceed to dam to hell those who would dare to propose government spending on social welfare programs, or worse, even tolerate the presence of those who don’t look like them or share their particular idea of “traditional family values”.

  7. Kathleen

    Who in the world decides to invite has-been Sharron Angle? (Check your spelling, by the way, unless you’re being ironic.) She was a second-rate candidate in NV who won only because the primary field was so crowded. A great Republican spokesman she is not. The Repubs now looks to election-losers to motivate the party? For crying out loud.

  8. Roger 49

    Can’t stop laughing over this post. Sounds like your weekend was the equivalent of a trip to the bar scene from the Star Wars movie. Particularly enjoyed the comical description of Mead Treadwell’s out-of-state boytoy team.
    Hopefully in the future these gatherings will continue to decrease in size to the point that candidates won’t have to pay any attention to them.
    Missed your posts over the holiday weekend. Glad you’re back wriiting.
    FYI. ICYMI: POLITICO.COM cited you as one of the key political reporters in the seven key battleground states for the US Senate. Conratulations for being named. You are the #1 source for politoical news in Alaska for me and most everyone I know that follows politics. I appreciate your hardwork, insights and analysis. You add more value than the simplistic journalism of who, what, when and where.

  9. Dennis

    Now I better understand how Harry Reid was reelected in Nevada. It would take someone like Sharron Angle to make Harry Reid look like a reasobale and alternative choice. Think about how unbelieveable that is. At first, I thought you may have sensationalized your characterization of Mrs. Angel; however, a quick Google search shows her to be as crazy, if not more so, that your article demonstrates. The saving grace and hope for the future was that our own elected officiaolling their eyes. Hopefully, the Tea Party days of the Republican Party are beginning to fade.

  10. Jen

    OMG. This sounds more like an assembly of kooks. As a registered Republican, I want to say that I am embarrassed by these people’s closed-minded ness and bigotry. It sounded as if their expectations in terms of the size of crowd they were expecting was significantly less than they planned for. Hopefully this wing of activism will go by the wayside of the KKK, Dixiecrats and other groups that preach hatred and prejudice.
    These people disgust me. Invoking the Lord’s name with their cause is even more disgusting.
    Thank you for covering this despicable event. The public needs to know and be reminded that these pockets of right wing zealots continue to preach hatred in the Lord”s name.

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