South Side Bummer — Earlier this week candidate for the Anchorage Assembly seat representing South Anchorage David Jensen announced he was dropping out of the race saying:
“About three months ago I filed a letter of intent to run for a seat on the Anchorage Assembly. I announced my desire to bring an objective, fiscally responsible voice to city government. Today, I am withdrawing that interest with the possibility of pursuing a similar seat in 2017.”
While conservatives were expected to back Joe Riggs and progressives John Weddleton, Jensen was seen as the a relative long shot to win. His exit simplifies things significantly. The other two candidates and their brain trusts who can now look forward to a straight-forward two man race.
South Side Bummer Part Deux — Speaking of southside candidate Joe Riggs, he announced via Facebook yesterday “The company that I derive almost all of my income from decided not to renew my contract.” Losing your job is rough for anyone, but there are political realities at play here too.
Riggs included in his post:
“I’m not sure yet how this will impact my assembly race. Some of you will say to focus the extra time into the race and deal with the work thing later. This would be an attractive option if we weren’t a family with young kids. Stay tuned.”
I followed up with Joe and asked if this would cause him to drop out and he said “Too soon to tell.”
The ramifications of this personal challenge for Riggs could be huge for the Anchorage Assembly. Riggs is considered the favorite to win the south side seat and his dropping out without a conservative replacement would make it all but impossible for conservatives to win control of the assembly for the next three years.
South Side Beaming — Thankfully there was at least one candidate in South Anchorage who had some good news this week. John Weddleton rolled out a bevy of endorsements including high profile names Andrew Halcro, Mike Hawker, Ernie Hall, Berta Gardner, Dick Traini, Pat Abney, Economists Scott Goldsmith and PJ Hill, and a host of local business people. You can check out the full list and what they have to say about him here.
D.C. Reshuffle — In case you missed it there were quite a few moving parts yesterday on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s crew. Michael Pawlowski, Nathan Bergerbest, Garrett Boyle, and Karina Petersen all received promotions while Robert Dillon moved to the private sector and took gig with Strategies 360. Congrats to all.
Finding Lisa — Thanks to a loyal reader for pointing out one final note on the President’s State of the Union speech. During the speech the President dropped this stanza:
“Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future, especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don’t show them where the trends are going. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the cost they impose on taxpayers, and the planet.”
In response Senator Lisa Murkowski told Alaska Public Media:
“I’m not quite sure what the president means,” Murkowski said. “Whether that’s placing a price on carbon, whether it is a carbon tax, whether it is cap and trade. I don’t know. I thought that his words were probably purposefully opaque.”
That isn’t just a bit ironic since many conservatives in Alaska and beyond have had their own fits trying to follow Murkowski’s position on carbon management issues. Here are a couple of things she’s said, you tell me if you can discern what she means any more than you can Obama:
Anchorage Daily News (9/25/09) “That’s a poor option fraught with all the pitfalls of a bureaucracy writing regulations, Murkowski said, and urged her colleagues to “step up and pass workable, intellectually honest climate legislation — whether a system of cap-and-trade, a carbon tax, or something else — that removes the Clean Air Act from the equation.” “Nearly every participant in this debate, from elected officials, to businesses and the environmental community, has stated their preference for legislation over regulation,” Murkowski said.”
Denver Post (September 2009 )“Negotiators on both sides of the aisle are holding ongoing talks, some exploring an alternative to cap-and-trade. [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski said she would be willing to consider a carbon tax, which would still create strong incentives for companies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions but in a way some industries say would be more fair.”
Snowed Under— The good Mayor Ethan Berkowitz probably thought late January would be a good time of year to get the family out of Alaska, get everyone some more sunlight, and maybe teach the kids something about the world. The problem? He chose to do that right now and in Washington D.C. Latest word is hizzoner’s Friday night flight back was cancelled in preparation for Winter Storm(blizzard) Jonas so he’ll be there a few more days. An Anchorage Mayor stuck in the Lower 48 by a little snow? Come on Ethan, you are better than that.
Sorry Charlie — Out in the valley things could start heating up with primary challenges. This week Senator Charlie Huggins officially got a primary challenger in the form of Wasilla City Councilman David Wilson. If you don’t know Wilson just look for THE black guy at Valley Republican events, he’ll be easy to spot. (Come on Valley Rs, don’t act like that isn’t true.)
I poked around with some elected valley R’s. They all said they respect Wilson but expressed extreme caution about him running in the Republican primary. They say his time on the city council shows he is really a D who knows he can’t get elected in the valley as that so he’s running as an R. But hey, what good Republican hasn’t been called a RINO at some point?
You Tell’em — If you are one of the poor, tortured souls who is actually paying attention to what the Legislature and Governor are doing, and maybe even watched the State of the State speech, the State Senate Majority has developed an online poll so you can tell them what you think. Check it out here. The good news is there is no control to stop multiple entries, so vote early and vote often.
Fun — Since we are on the subject of the Governor’s State of the State speech here are a few memes floating around in response. They are from each side so you are sure to like at least one of them. :)