Friday in the Sun!!! (May 20)

Friday in the Sun is here

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One More — The race to replace Sen. Johnny Ellis in the Downtown Anchorage Senate seat heated up this week with letters of intent filed by Assemblyman Patrick Flynn and political strategist Tom Begich.

Word is now that another Democrat, Ed Wesley will be jumping into the race. Wesley is a well-known leader in the black community and the recently elected National Committeeman for the Alaska Democratic Party

Not So Fast — Even though the sudden flood of Dems declaring to run for Ellis’ seat makes it seem like all but a certainty Ellis isn’t running, I’m told that isn’t necessarily the case. It’s said new treatment he is receiving for what ales the longtime Senator is going better than expected so there is still an outside chance the June 1st filing deadline will come and Johnny will ultimately decide to give it another go.

More For Ethan — Sources at the Muni tell me starting next week Mayor Ethan Berkowitz is adding mathematician/data scientist (I don’t know what that means) Brendan Babb to his office staff. Babb is widely considered a top computer and data talent in the Anchorage area who has been involved in projects like Code for Anchorage.

While everyone seems to rave about Babb, I have to admit I don’t know exactly what he does, but it made me feel better when I asked my high-level, tech-friendly Muni source who didn’t really know either. They could only explain it as “something with making the city more tech savvy and connected to citizens.” Fair enough.

This Poll Is Killin’ Me — Remember that poll in Senate District L (Midtown / SW Anchorage currently held by Sen. Lesil McGuire) that supposedly showed candidate Jeffrey Landfield ahead of Natasha Von Imhof? Well, sources keep doling out little snippets from it. The latest, from multiple sources that have seen the poll says that Rep. Chris Tuck would beat Rep. Craig Johnson and Von Imhof by more than 20 points.

You’d think that would be enough to get Tuck to move up and run for the Senate. I’m told that Tuck would rather run for his rather safe House seat and be at worst minority leader next year with a shot at being in the majority if things break right, rather than take a mild risk and run for Senate.

Come on Chris….Do it, you know you want to.

Taking Stock — It wouldn’t be a Friday in the Sun without something about Margaret Stock, right? Here is something interesting you might have missed last week. Leading up to the weekend Stock sent out emails saying:

“We cannot expect better political outcomes unless we can get beyond the pettiness of the two parties.”

“There’s a disconnect between the major parties and the people they supposedly serve”

“There are many Democrats who likewise feel their party has left them”

The Alaska Democratic Party, a proud bunch, were so offended by Stock calling them petty, disconnected, and out of touch with their members that they invited the proud non-Democrat to take the stage to address their convention.

Tails From the Stock Report — One of the tidbits left out of our story last week about Arliss Sturgulewski not taking kindly to Stock using her name to fundraise is that when Arliss’s people contacted Stock’s law office seeking a retraction, they were directed to a Montana number for the fiercely independent Stock’s campaign management firm, Hilltop Public Solutions. Hilltop’s website lists only two Alaska team members, one of which is Mark Begich.

But remember, she isn’t a Democrat.

Shout out — Our Mat-Su based friend and former school board member Erick Cordero started a YouTube channel for some politics, interviews and humor. He was selected to be a  Marco Rubio Delegate to the Republican National Convention and will be recording videos whenever possible to share with everyone. Alaska Unfiltered can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AlaskaUnfiltered/.

Midnight Sun On The Air!!!!  — Master of Morning Radio Rick Rydell (AM 650 KENI) has asked us to come on every week and share Friday in the Sun with his audience. So listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.

Quote of the Week — New Assemblymember Eric Croft is starting to challenge Congressman Don Young as Alaska’s most quotable politician. At a recent Dem fundraiser, while auctioning off some artwork (charitable description) made by Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Croft quipped, “Ethan Berkowitz is what happens when we have a decent candidate and we (Democrats) get our shit together.” It’s funny because it’s true.

Caucus Fail — The oil and gas tax credit issue remains one of the unresolved issues going into the coming special legislative session. Rep. Craig Johnson didn’t help the issue last week when, in an effort to rally votes for his Rules Committee bill over the amendment crafted by majority rogues Rep. Paul Seaton and Rep. Tammy Wilson, Johnson brought an email from Alaska Oil and Gas Association (AOGA) President Kara Moriarty expressing their support for his idea into a majority caucus meeting.

I’ve read the email and there isn’t anything incendiary in it, but majority members I heard from, whom no one would consider anti-oil, were none-the-less offended. They took it as caucus leader bringing marching orders from a special interest into a caucus meeting. It did not go over well, as the final vote in the House to go with the Seaton/Wilson amendment reflects.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm — Is it weird to anyone else that U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan has taken the time to endorse and campaign for Sen. John McCain, a guy who has spent much of his career fighting against Alaska projects, opposing ANWR, and fighting the late, great Sen. Ted Stevens at every turn, but has yet to endorse Sen. Lisa Murkowski? Just an observation.

Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column please email me at mnsunak@gmail.com.

Some Upcoming Events You Can Find On  Our Political Calendar

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