Fitting Tribute — Last night at Congregation Beth Shalom, friends, family, and colleagues gathered to pay their respects to longtime public servant Rep. Max Gruenberg. In testament to how well-liked and universally respected Gruenberg was, the room was filled with high-profile names spanning the political spectrum. Attendees included Gov. Bill Walker, former governors Sean Parnell, Bill Sheffield, and former Lite Gov Stephen McAlpine, legislators Lesil McGuire, Matt Claman, David Guttenberg, Bob Lynn, and Chris Tuck, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Kay Brown, Tom Begich, former state senator Joe Josephson, and many, many more.
Just so we don’t leave this stanza on a somber note, you might get a kick out of Congregation Beth Shalom’s website URL: http://www.frozenchosen.org/
Who Let Him In — Attendees at the Midnight Sun Republican Women’s GOP debate watch party were treated not only to a great venue to watch the five remaining GOP presidential hopefuls duke it out but also to a comfortable place to witness a Begich proudly declare his Republican views. Wait, WHAT? Yeah, I’m told that shocked the GOP ladies, too. But there he was, Republican and candidate for the Chugiak-Eagle River Assembly seat, Nicholas Begich. Word is the ladies liked what they heard. You have to wonder if his opponent Assemblywoman Amy Demboski is worried yet?
Things That Make You Go “Hmm…” — Newly launched “independent” U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Stock certainly raised plenty of questions about how “independent” she really is by recently hiring former Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley staffer Michael Edwards to manager her campaign. Now we have this “Scooby Doo” mystery: I was flooded this week with Alaska politicos forwarding me emails Ms. Stock has sent out proclaiming herself an independent while attacking Lisa Murkowski for her partisanship. Everyone was greatly impressed with how fast Ms. Stock is getting off the blocks with her messaging. Here is the curious thing, all of those people were Democrat insiders or past Democrat candidate supporters, and none of them say they signed up to receive emails from Ms. Stock’s campaign. Hmm…, I wonder, wonder where she could have gotten an email list of people with a history of supporting Alaska Democratic Party backed candidates… It’s a mystery.
One More Into The Breach — Speaking of the U.S. Senate race, this morning the Alaska Libertarian Party is announcing they too have a candidate to run against Lisa Murkowski: former state house candidate Cean Stevens. The announcement freely admits that it will be a “David and Goliath campaign.” If you are interested in Ms. Stevens’ campaign, you can check it out at ceanstevens.com or contact her Campaign Director, Micheal Chambers.
The Landfield Chronicles — Man-About-Politics Jeff Landfield had a fun week. First he had what looked to be a successful fundraiser, as you can see here, and apparently picked up a key endorsement. You see right there standing next to Jeff and donning a “Make Alaska Great Again” cap is radio host and district resident Dave Stieren. First, West Anchorage Assembly candidate Dustin Darden tells the world Stieren is part of his campaign brain trust and now we see him backing Landfield? Where does he find the time?
Sadly for Mr. Landfield, later in the week he found out he has been barred from donating to charity. During the ASRC Ivalu Gala on February 12th, the Arctic Education Foundation (AEF) set up a mobile giving system where folks could donate to the foundation from their phone. Mr. Landfield, being the giver he is, took the time to donate and included his signature hashtag #Landfield2016. Since donations made were projected on a screen at the event the whole room saw the donation and hashtag. That must have ruffled someone’s feathers, because Mr. Landfield received an email this week, stressing, “AEF feels that the gala was not an appropriate venue for this type of donation, therefore we are refunding your donation.” Sorry, Jeff. #donationfail2016
Here candidate, candidate, candidate… — South Anchorage had its first Assembly and School Board candidates forum this week and everyone was there. Well, everyone but Assembly candidate Treg Taylor. Word is when conservative powers recruited Mr. Taylor to run, he had already planned a big two-week family trip to a location more tropical. So he declared his candidacy and with about six weeks left before election day promptly left the state. This comes on the heels of party insiders recruiting Don Hadley to run for the Eastside Assembly seat in December when he freely acknowledged he wasn’t going to be back in Alaska until mid-January.
You’d think whomever is recruiting would ask potential candidates, “Um, so there is only a short time between now and election day… you do plan on being around the whole time, don’t you?”
Lovin’ It — My favorite campaign material so far this year has to go to Kenai-Soldotna area state house candidate Keith Baxter, who had this made up. It’s soooo Kenai, isn’t it?
Lisa Said What? — Here is a letter Lisa Murkowski wrote for the Chinese New Year celebration a few weeks ago. How dare she mock these fine folks! HOW DARE SHE!!! Or maybe it was just a typo… but that is less fun.Make Your Own Caption — The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) dropped this Instagram pic from Lisa Murkowski into their weekly update. It shows a solitary snowman perching outside the Supreme Court. Given the recent dust-up over Lisa’s recent “should get a hearing, shouldn’t get a vote” flip on how to deal with an Obama Supreme Court nominee, I was overcome with a wave of snarky captions for it. I figure I’ll just set it over here and let you come up with your own. Enjoy.
New Additions The Political Calendar —