Last Wednesday seems so long ago doesn’t it? That was the day former Mayor (NOT SENATOR!) Dan Sullivan sent shockwaves through Alaska’s politisphere by announcing he was filing to run against U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary.
The news was shocking. It was intriguing. It was exciting.
It doesn’t seem any of those things now, does it?
It’s only been a week and the race that sent minds racing is already almost an afterthought.
Why? Because after doing a round of media to announce and explain his decision, Mayor Dan appears to have gone into the witness relocation program, been whisked away to an undisclosed location by his security, or, I don’t know, caught a ride on Comet Hale-Bopp out of the solar system.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve talked with over a dozen top Republican campaign players in the state and asked them if they have seen any indication Mayor Dan is organizing a Senate campaign. They all said they haven’t seen or heard a peep out of him.
There is certainly no public indication of movement from Mayor Dan. No campaign website has launched, his campaign Facebook page hasn’t transitioned from his 2014 Lt. Governor run for use in a new campaign, and there is no sign of fundraisers or a campaign kick-off being planned.
The primary election Mayor Dan signed up for is only 68 days away…it’s like Mayor Dan doesn’t exist.
Actually, it’s worse than that.
At this time a week ago, the questions topping the minds of Alaska Republicans were: “Why is he doing this?” and “Can he win?”. Now all of them seem to find different ways to slip into any conversation of the race “Will he drop out?”.
At this point, that has to be considered a fair question.
Mayor Dan is seemingly making no effort to participate in this race, and the Republican chatter mill is nothing but stories of the former Mayor being treated at best like a pariah and worse, being openly and loudly chastised for his run at Republican events he attended in the 2-3 days immediately after filing.
It would seem Mayor Dan isn’t finding the undercurrent of support or at least benign indifference from Republican activists he was hoping would be there. What he is finding appears to be open hostility.
With Murkowski and independent expenditure groups yet to launch what will surely be a multi-million dollar onslaught against Mayor Dan’s record and character, he has to be wondering if getting out now, before any real damage is done to his ability to run for future office is the way to go.