Insider Update From The Legislative Session — Nothing is happening.
Goodbye, Aileen — The Governor’s Deputy Press Secretary Aileen Cole is leaving for more peaceful pastures. After almost exactly a year serving Gov. Bill Walker, Ms. Cole will be taking a position with Kate Consenstein’s crew over at Rising Tide Communications, and ultimately wants to switch things up and pursue a nursing degree.
Industry folks and talk radio mouths have lots of fun questioning the propriety of Ms. Cole working for the Gov when her father, Dermot Cole, writes for the Alaska Dispatch News. I’m sure they’ll find something new to chew.
Exiting Ethan — One of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s Special Assistants, Felix Rivera will be leaving City Hall soon. Word is he will be running Tom Begich’s campaign for the Downtown Senate seat. Sen. Johnny Ellis hasn’t officially said he is won’t being running for re-election and Begich has made clear he has no interest in running if Ellis does, so this move is technically in pencil for right now.
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. Be sure to listen for our inside scoop every Friday morning at 7:35.
Straight Outta D.C. — In U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Stock’s financial disclosure contains an interesting donation from former Democrat Senator Mark Begich. That he donated to her is notable, sure, but more so was the address listed:
That’s right; Stock’s campaign lists Begich as living in D.C. That seems odd for a guy Alaska Republicans are totally, completely, absolutely convinced is running for Governor. He is no longer a Senator, and can’t claim to be living outside of Alaska because of service to the state. I checked with Begich, and his explanation is his family is just waiting for their son to finish out the school year and then will be returning permanently to the 907.
Spotted — A faithful reader of The Midnight Sun spotted Rep. Craig Johnson sharing a cup of joe with state senate candidate Natasha Von Imhof at Steam Dot on O’Malley Tuesday afternoon. Setting aside for a moment that Rep. Johnson was supposed to be in Juneau Tuesday solving the state’s fiscal problems rather than chatting political campaigns in Anchorage, the meeting is intriguing. Rumors are rampant Johnson is on the verge of announcing he will run for the Senate. Was this meeting for him to break the news to Ms. Von Imhoff, who is already running for that seat?
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Please, Let It Be So — The new Alaska GOP leadership is having the best week ever. First, they disavowed the Must Read Alaska newsletter many have had issues with, but now it looks like they may be doing the one thing I’ve been begging them to do for years, move offices.
I get political party offices are supposed to be modest. It shows the party is putting the money where it counts rather than opulent digs for leadership and staff, but the AK GOP office on Fireweed has gone well beyond that to a level of drab and disrepair that is unprofessional. I’ll stop there.
Party leadership tells me the issue will be discussed at their June 11 State Central Committee meeting. While they are keeping their cards close to their vest, I think they might just offer an alternative location and decide to move at that meeting.
In The Valley — This week Wasilla City Councilwoman (and Mayor Dan Sullivan’s sister)
Colleen Sullivan-Leonard filed to run for the House seat currently held by Rep. Lynn Gattis. When I talked to Colleen, she didn’t sound at all like she was interested in running against Gattis.
That make her the third candidate, along with Brandon Wall and Brandon Montano, to file for Gattis’ seat, but say they don’t want to run against her.
The more people friendly to Gattis do this the more it really, really seems like Sen. Charlie Huggins is bowing out and letting Gattis run for his seat.
Poor Nat — Alaska Dispatch News reporter Nat Herz is having a bad month. First, an angry delegate to the Alaska Democratic Party Convention took to the convention floor to excoriate him for “being so far to the right he falls over.”
Then, this week on Speaker of the House Mike Chenault’s office window this was posted:
Hated by partisans on the left and the right, sounds like he is doing a good job.
Back In The Game — Last night Republican Lisa Vaught officially kicked off her run for the Boniface area House seat formerly held by the late Rep. Max Gruenberg and currently held by Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, who is running for re-election.
Vaught previously ran for state house over on the southwest side of town, and I don’t know if she will beat primary opponent Don Hadley or not. All I know is any excuse to post this is worth it:
You are welcome.
Constant Partying — Last Saturday way-to-early 2017 Assembly candidate Chris Constant held a big fundraiser at the home of Pam Tesche. The event was well-attended by lefty notables Vic Fischer, Jane Angvik, Tom Begich, Ed Wesley, Kate Consenstein, Elias Rojas, Phyllis Rhodes, and SJ Klein all showing their support. Word is Constant raised $5,000 at the event. That is a pretty good week for an assembly candidate.
35? — The big political event of the week had to be the Saturday birthday party thrown for Senator Lisa Murkowski. About 200 supporters showed up to help Lisa celebrate. Fellow Sen. Dan Sullivan congratulated Lisa for turning 35 (Hmmm, ok, we’ll just that one go). Among those in attendance were Senator Dan Sullivan and his wife Julie Fate, Gail Phillips, Kara Moriarty, and Jennifer Johnston.
Word is the party topped a good day for the Murkowski family. They all spent the day at the Midnight Sun Shootout where Lisa finally was able to use the shotgun she received for Christmas and her boys Matt and Nic placed in the top ten.
Some Upcoming Events You Can Find On Our Political Calendar —