Friday in the Sun!!! (July 8)

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New To The AGDC — It hasn’t been announced yet, but the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC) did some hiring this week. Coming on board Wednesday was new Marketing Manager Kathy Dunn who came over from running the state’s tourism marketing program at DCCED. Hired, but not starting until the 18th, will be new Communications Manager Josie Wilson. She held the same title at CH2M Hill.

Out Campaigning — It’s the time of year when you expect to see the ambitious legislators out campaigning, so it wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear Rep. Lance Pruitt has been out and about.PruittTiltonFundraiser, Front2

What is interesting is where he is doing it.

Instead of spending his time in his East Anchorage house district where he would look to have a stiff challenge from his predecessor Rep. Harry Crawford, Pruitt has been spending a lot of time in the Mat-Su. Last week he was seen at two valley events put on by former Senator Lyda Green and he held a joint fundraiser with Rep. Cathy Tilton in Wasilla last night.

So what gives? Pruitt is seeking the support of Valley legislative candidates who could elect him to be the next Speaker of the House.

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.

Let The Races Begin — Maybe the biggest signal sent by the Governor’s veto of PFD checks wasn’t his intended “Wow, he must really be serious about this fiscal crisis thing, I guess we need to replumb the Permanent Fund”, but rather “He went after people’s PFDs? There is no way he is running for reelection in two years.”

As a result, I am hearing several Republicans around the state including John Binkley, Charlie Huggins,and Sen. Anna MacKinnon have all ramped up their exploration of a run for Governor.

Change of Heart — Jeff Landfield was recently endorsed by the Central Labor Council of the AFL-CIO, and a loyal reader sent over his 2012 responses newly Central Labor Council (unions) endorsed candidate Jeff Landfield gave about unions on his Anchorage Tea Party candidate questionnaire he filled out when running for the same seat four years ago:

Question – List any restrictions you personally will have (or have) on contributions to your campaign such as a dollar cap, accepting contributions from public-sector or private unions, PACs, etc. Please provide details and justification.

Landfield – I will not solicit nor accept any contributions from unions. I do not agree that the State withholds public union dues from employee’s paychecks and then the PAC’s make substantial contributions to many legislators, such as my primary opponent. I also think Alaska should be a right-to-work state and people should only pay union dues if they choose. I have no issue accepting personal donations from supporters and privately funded PAC’s who have the same goals of cutting spending and improving the business climate in Alaska as I do.

I guess he has changed his mind on the subject.

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

He’s At It Again — Remember this spring when conservative David Nees angered Alaska Republican Party insiders by running for Anchorage School Board instead of making room for their chosen candidate Kay Schuster? The Party responded by excluding Nees from Party election efforts.

Nees stood up and forced the Party to treat him equally to all other Republican candidates.

David Nees

David Nees

It looks like history is repeating itself. Nees is running against the establishment’s officially endorsed incumbent Rep. Liz Vazquez in House District 22. And again Nees is battling for fair treatment from the AK GOP.

According to Nees, who is a registered Republican, the Party is withholding access to resources generally available to all registered Republican candidates such as walk lists, voter data, emails to party email lists, etc. And once again he is vocally demanding fair treatment.

Party officials should tread carefully with Nees, not only did he win his fight with the Party this spring, he actually ended up coming very close to beating their chosen candidate. Maybe this time, he will.

From The Rumor Mill — Word from an attendee of Ross Bieling’s fundraiser last night is that he is floating the idea of Republicans effectively hijacking the canceled Governor’s Picnics by holding events in their place to protest his actions on the budget and other policies. It’s an interesting idea. Let’s see if he has the juice to make it happen.

Days until the Primary Election — 40
Days until the General Election — 124

Grenn Event — Republican-turned-Independent Jason Grenn held his in-district campaign launch Wednesday evening; by all accounts, it went well. In attendance were Diane Kaplan, Ira! Perman, Glenn Cravez, Bill Falsey, Andrew Halcro, Andre Horton, Tim and Annie Rittal, and Clint Campion. Grenn must be drawing from a diverse crowd. Spotted in the parking lot was a Saturn with a Fran Ulmer sticker parked right next to a truck with a Joe Miller sticker.

Alaska Supports Gun Control? — Another loyal reader sent over more numbers from that Steve Lindbeck / Alaska Democratic Party poll conducted by PPP we told you about earlier in the week.

Here is what the poll had to say about Alaskan’s views towards the new gun control measures offered by Democrats in congress:

Q: Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a law requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows or online?

Strongly support…………………………………… 56%
Somewhat support………………………………… 18%
Somewhat oppose………………………………… 10%
Strongly oppose…………………………………… 15%
Not sure……………………………………………. 1%

Q: Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a “no-fly / no-buy” law that would prohibit potential terrorists from buying guns?

Strongly support…………………………………… 62%
Somewhat support………………………………… 13%
Somewhat oppose………………………………… 8%
Strongly oppose…………………………………… 12%
Not sure……………………………………………. 4%

Those are shockingly high numbers for any gun control measure in the Last Frontier.

Are they so high they call into question the credibility of all the numbers from this poll or should it make us rethink our view of Alaska as unflinchingly pro-gun?

I’ll leave it to you to decide. It’s food for thought either way.

Ellis with former staffers

Ellis with former staffers

Honoring Johnny — Late word from the grapevine is the Alaska Democratic Party fundraiser in honor of retiring Senator Johnny Ellis was the event of the week. We’re told over 150 people attended including former Senators Joe Paskvan, Al Kookesh and Joe Thomas, former Gov. Bill Sheffield, former Lt. Gov. Steve McAlpine, former Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and First Lady Mara Kimmel, former Rep. Reggie Joule, Rep. Matt Claman, Rep. Chris Tuck, Joelle Hall, Rep. Les Gara, Rep. Geran Tarr, former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, Deborah Bonito, Sen. Berta Gardner, Kay Brown, Sen. Bill Wielechowski, Rep. Harriet Drummond, former Sen. Jim Duncan, former Rep. Tom Vaska, Assemblywoman Elvi Grey Jackson, former Assemblywoman Melinda Taylor, Rep. Andy Josephson, former Sen. Joe Josephson, Chris Constant, Vic Fischer, Amory LeLake, Jordan Marshall, and….you know what, I’m done typing names, just suffice to say anyone who has ever been a registered Democrat and got elected to something was there.

Here are just some events you can find on our Political Calendar

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About the Author

Casey Reynolds
Reynolds served as communications director for the Alaska Republican Party from 2008-2011. He left the Party in 2011 to host his own popular morning radio political talk show on AM750 / FM103.7 KFQD. Reynolds now runs The Midnight Sun (midnightsunak.com), crowned by the Anchorage Press as “Alaska’s best political blog.”