Friday In The Sun!!! (Dec 18)

On This Side — Right about this time last week we broke the news Forrest Dunbar was throwing his hat into the ring for the East Anchorage Assembly seat. We hear Dunbar is bringing on board John Henry Heckendorn of Ship Creek Group to run his campaign. Heckdorn has become the en-vogue campaign manager for left of center candidates this cycle, having already scored the gigs helming assembly candidates Eric Croft and John Weddleton’s campaigns.

On The Other Side — Yesterday we broke the news former state house candidate Don Hadley was stepping up to be the conservative candidate taking on Dunbar for that same seat. Breaking all these stories really takes alot out of a blogger/journalist. Word is Hadley will be using long time political consultants Marc and Jean Hellenthal for his campaign.

Moving On Up — Congrats to Miguel Rohrbacher. He’s been brought on board to Rep. Harriet Drummond’s office. Rohrbacher had previously served as an intern in the office of Rep. Jonathan Kriess-Tompkins.

Falling Off The High Ground — After hearing the news that Senate Democrats were bringing on vitriolic liberal blogger Jeanne Devon the Alaska Republican Party proved once again no one can give up the high ground like they can. They couldn’t resist tweeting out this diddy:

red headed loon

When asked what she thought of the AK GOP’s tweet Senate Minority Leader Berta Gardner said “Name calling seems childish and frankly doesn’t warrant much of a response.” Say what you will about Devon, and trust me I could say a whole damn lot, but Gardner is right. It’s one thing to attack elected officials, it’s another to attack their staff. The Dem leader wins this round by simply being an adult. It’s a bit sad that’s all it takes these days.

From A Reader — Every week we tell you if you send us information that checks out, we’ll put it out there. Well one loyal reader who has earned our trust by sending in what proved to be solid info from time to time sent us this, judge it for yourself:

AG Richards has put a gag order on all the attorneys in dept of law to keep them from talking to Governor’s office without express permission. Lawyers cannot talk to Walker or his upper management on any topic whatsoever without express permission and approval of message from AG himself.

Therefore, the only lawyer who is advising Walker on any matter is the least experienced State lawyer there is. This is unprecedented.”

Bad Study Habits — Earlier this week TMS posted the audio of radio talk show host Duane Bannock interviewing Governor Bill Walker on the budget during which the Governor admitted he hadn’t actually cut the operating budget. It was an extraordinary interview worth listening to.

In the aftermath the Gov’s people called us to say the truth was a lot more complicated and that Bannock had gotten “in the weeds” with budget numbers the chief executive couldn’t be expected to know off the top of his head. They asked to amplify the Gov’s points and out of a sense of fairness we posted their points to the end of the story.

When we asked Bannock if he felt he had essentially asked budget “gotcha questions” he bristled and sent us this. Its an email he sent to the Gov’s communications people listing the questions he intended to ask in the interview.

Just to recap, the Gov went on a radio show to talk about his budget, was given the questions about his budget in advance, couldn’t effectively answer them, and his people think it is the radio host’s fault. Ok.

Speaking Of Governors — Former Governor Sean Parnell has been keeping a low profile lately, at least in Alaska. Outside, according to Politico he has been working for the U.S. House Republican leadership to “improve coordination, collaboration, and communication between Republican state elected officials and House Republicans.”

In new numbers released by Congress it turns out the former Gov is not only making $10,000 a month for the job, he is apparently traveling in style. He charged taxpayers $4755.56 for a trip from 6-25 thru 6-29 and $3741.23 for a trip on 7-30. For comparison both of those totals are higher than travel costs that got many state legislators and staff in trouble earlier this year, and more than what two Senator Lesil McGuire staffers cost the state for their travel and lead to them no longer being employed by the legislature.

Just sayin’….

How It Happened — It was just 8 days ago that the East Anchorage Assembly race seemed like a snoozer. Vaguely progressive incumbent Paul Honeman was eligible to run again and no one from the right seemed to be stepping up to take him on. Now, just days later the race has Forrest Dunbar on the left and Don Hadley on the right. How’d that happen so fast?

Here’s the story, those on the right who select candidates have polling data that says Honeman and Dick Traini are unbeatable so assumed they would definitely run again. As such they didn’t get anyone to run against them. Then, in his campaign announcement Dunbar also dropped that Honeman wasn’t running and would be supporting him. So the scramble began to find someone to run so some money could be raised before the end of the year. Hadley is who they found.

Dunbar has to be kicking himself. If Honeman had done nothing more than file a letter of intent to run and Dunbar hadn’t filed until the last day, chances are he wouldn’t have had a serious conservative opponent at all. Sorry Terre Gales, until we see you do something you don’t count (in fact, we won’t bold your name here until you earn it).  

So It Wasn’t A Fundraiser But — The political event of the week had to be the Nog-a-Thon shindig thrown by political renaissance man and owner of this site Jim Lottsfeldt. Attendees included Senator Lisa Murkowski,IMG_1118 (1) Governor Bill and First Lady Donna Walker, Susanne Fleek, Ona Brause, Forrest Dunbar, Ira! Perman (even though Jim and Dawn are supporting Eric Croft), Bonnie Jack, Jim Kubitz, David Ramseur, Lisa Mauer, lobbyist Kris Knauss, NEA’s Matt Moser, former state senator Mike Syzmanski, Diane Disanto, Commissioner of Administration Sheldon Fisher, Leslie Ridle and many, many more.

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About the Author

Casey Reynolds
Reynolds served as communications director for the Alaska Republican Party from 2008-2011. He left the Party in 2011 to host his own popular morning radio political talk show on AM750 / FM103.7 KFQD. Reynolds now runs The Midnight Sun (midnightsunak.com), crowned by the Anchorage Press as “Alaska’s best political blog.”