Happy Day — Happy Birthday to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz who turned 54 on Thursday.
DId You Notice — Lots of people are questioning how the state legislature can pass some combination of massive spending cuts, new taxes, and use of Permanent Fund earnings in an election year. Legislative insiders have pointed out something interesting, that doesn’t apply to the Senate finance committee. Of its members, only Donny “Honey Badger” Olson is up for re-election this year and as his nickname would indicate he isn’t worried about his constituents noticing his activities..
$1,000 Dollar Day — Early word from the Forrest Dunbar campaign is that in the 53 days between when he filed his letter of intent to run for the East Anchorage Assembly seat and the end of the reporting period on February 1st they raised $53,000. If my math is right that puts them at about a thousand dollars per day. It’ll be interesting to see once the full report is filed if that’s comprised mostly of smaller dollar individual donors, and whether there is still 2016 PAC money out there for him to get.
More Assembly Numbers — Anchorage Assembly Candidate John Weddleton from the south side was the first to file and release his fundraising numbers. The report shows that through February 1st, Weddleton raised $43,000, which included $5,000 from Weddleton himself. That’s a good, but not spectacular number. Donors included Andrew Halcro, Sen. Berta Gardner, Pat Abney, state economist Neal Fried, ISER economist Scott Goldsmith, Assemblyman Ernie Hall, Pat and Patti Higgins, Ira! Perman, Assemblyman Pete Petersen, David Ramseur, Bettye Davis, Rep. Andy Josephson, Roselynn Cacy, Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Eric Croft, Rep. Max Gruenberg, Assemblywoman Elvi Grey-Jackson, and Sheila Selkregg.
Filing Fail — It was almost an interesting week for either state Sen. Bill Stoltze or Rep. Cathy Tilton. Bob Lochner, a resident in their Wasilla area district filed with APOC to run for state office. APOC doesn’t require you to say which office you are running for to start raising money, but the only two state offices Mr. Lochner is eligible for are Stoltze’s senate seat or Tilton’s house seat. When I contacted Mr. Lochner to find out which it was and why he said neither. He said he had intended to file to run against Lisa Murkowski. That means not only did he file for the wrong office, he filed with the entirely wrong agency as APOC doesn’t regulate federal races, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) does. Something tells me Lisa’s team isn’t losing any sleep over Lochner’s challenge.
Tuck Free — Word out of the Alaska Republican Party Central Committee meeting, held last weekend in Juneau, is that Chairman Emeritus Randy Ruedrich told the group the party had struck out in finding a challenger for House Minority leader Rep. Chris Tuck. He is said to have told the group finding a challenger for Tuck is at best a three year project. Tuck’s is a choice pick up opportunity for Republicans. It sits right in the center of Anchorage, between the Seward Highway and Minnesota Dr. and was won overwhelmingly by Mitt Romney, Rep. Don Young, and Sen. Lesil McGuire.
Big Money Day For Lisa — Down in Seattle today money is flying in for Alaska’s U.S. Senate race. A big money fundraiser luncheon for Lisa Murkowski is being held today at the Washington Athletic Club and I hear over $200,000 was raised and notables in attendance include:
Mark Tabbutt, Chairman, Saltchuk
Stein Kruse, Chairman, Holland America Cruise Lines
Joe Bundrant, President, Trident Seafoods
Brad Tilden, President, Alaska Airlines
Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines
Kris Knauss, Lobbyist
Mike Pawlowski, Chief of Staff
John Binkley, Alaska Cruiseship Association
Gregg Renkes, Former AK Attorney General\
Ralph Samuels, Vice President for Government and Community Relations, Holland America Line/Princess Cruises
Jerry Mackie, Lobbyist
Mike Tibbles, Lobbyist
Really? Can You Do That — Monday Rep, Max Gruenberg and Rep. Liz Vazquez testified in the state House Judiciary Committee on their bill (HB 147) dealing with animal cruelty. Things got interesting when the two legislators, both lawyers, revealed that rather than following standard procedure and submitting their bill to the Legislative Affairs Agency for a legal review, they had written the bill’s legal review themselves. On the hearing audio you can almost hear legislators thinking wait, you can do that? A clearly dismayed Rep. Charisse Millett, said “so I have some bills I’d be more than happy to get your two legal opinions on.” Gruenberg, not catching up to Millette’s sarcasm, said “We’re here “
For my part, I love the idea. Can’t you just see lawyer Les Gara standing up on the house floor to say “Rep. Vazquez, my legal review of your bill is that it’s unconstitutional.” only to have Vazquez retort “well my legal review of your legal review is that you’re an idiot.” See, then way more people would watch Gavel Alaska.
Hot Rumor — So the fiery rumor I’ve heard from a bevy of sources in the Capitol is that the removal of Education Commissioner Mike Hanley came primarily at the hand of Sen. Mike Dunleavy. It’s said Dunleavy undermined Hanley with the Board of Education and Early Development and threatened drastic cuts to education if Hanley wasn’t removed.
New Political Calendar Events: