Friday in the Sun! (July 22)

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Unreported — I don’t know why it is getting the silent treatment in Alaska, but this report out of the Wall Street Journal stating ConocoPhillips will be cutting 6% of their workforce–or about 1,000 jobs–is worth noting. One of the company’s people in Alaska told me yesterday they estimate that there will end up being about 120 job losses in Alaska when all is said and done.  

The Pipeline To Nowhere — That is how Lower 48 news site The Motley Fool is characterizing the Alaska natural gas pipeline project. Despite the odd name of the site, the article is actually quite instructive on how out-of-state industry folks see the project.

Fish Story? — The political gossip of the week revolves squarely around the alleged beating of political consultant and Association of American Political Consultants board chairman Art Hackney at the hands of politically-motivated thugs.

CaptureOkay. Some of you are going to think I’m an a-hole for exploring this, given the obvious injuries Mr. Hackney exhibits, but what I’m about to say is the absolute truth. The overriding sentiment I am hearing from around the Alaska political universe is not, “Oh my god, how terrible for Art,” it’s “That story is super fishy–what is Hackney’s angle?”

I have no idea if that is a fair response or not, but I can say it is the most prevalent–actually the only–one I am hearing from folks across the political spectrum.

For those who don’t know, the story Hackney is telling is that while walking his dog outside his office earlier this week he was beaten by three men. He and his surrogates claim, always vaguely, that the attack was politically motivated and that he has no plans to call the police to investigate or prosecute the matter because he does not want to exacerbate a situation involving his attackers. However, he did alert the Alaska Republican Party so they could post about it on their blog.

I have been told by several sources that there is a whisper campaign attempting to lay blame for the attack at the feet of Jennifer Johnston’s son Ross. The theory being that the attack was retaliation for this pretty nasty attack against her Hackney produced for her opponent Ross Bieling:

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The whole affair has many questioning elements of Hackney’s story. Why wouldn’t he call the cops? His office is in an area of Spenard that surely has surveillance cameras at a number of locations. Why not investigate and see if any of them picked anything up? Or see if anyone else in the area saw the attack and can provide any leads?

Also, why tell the story to the Alaska Republican Party for publication on their blog and post about it on facebook, but not talk about it with mainstream news outlets like KTUU?

The appearance the incident is being used for political purposes and Hackney’s aversion to going on an official record with the story or  having anyone not allied to him look into the matter does have an Anthony Weiner scandal feel to it.

What does it all mean? I don’t know. It could just as easily say something about how people view Hackney as it does about how cynical we as Alaskans are about our politics. But Hackney won’t let it be investigated and those who want to cast blame won’t say so publicly, so there are no facts to go on. The story can and will just marinade in our imagination bounded by whatever facts we want to conjure and attach to it.

Battle Lines Drawn — The Eagle River State House primary between Rep. Lora Reinbold and challenger Crystal Kennedy has always looked like a battle between establishment troll Reinbold and establishment darling Kennedy. The APOC 30-day reports have now verified that. Kennedy’ report is littered with Republican establishment names like Rep. Dan Saddler, former legislator Randy Phillips, Former Anchorage Assemblywoman Debbie Ossiander, Republican Party insider Sue Hull, and Eagle River Chamber President Susan Gorski.

Reinbold did not receive a single donation from any of her House or Senate colleagues.

Dem-ie Downer — Wednesday night Democrat Congressional candidate Steve Lindbeck officially opened his Anchorage campaign office. The office is located on Fairbanks st in between Fireweed Ln and Northern Lights Blvd, since that is apparently where every campaign and political party office in Anchorage must be located.

By my count, about 75 people showed up to help Lindbeck christen his new place. Mark Begich and Forrest Dunbar spoke, because if you are a Democrat in Anchorage you are required to have those two names on your event flyer.

Lindbeck continued to press his attack on Rep. Don Young over the congressman’s close ties to Edison Chouest.

IMG_0735Most notable about the event was the booze bait and switch of the Lindbeck campaign. When many arrived to find the room sweltering, they immediately made a b-line for the refreshments which included a selection of soda, wine, and, of course, Beefeater gin.

Just as a group of us were admiring the awesomeness of that, a Lindbeck staffer showed up to take away all the alcohol, saying it was a liability issue.

What? Who wants to do Alaska politics sober? What is the point? I’m voting for Don Young. He’ll get boozy with anyone.

Now It’s A Republican Party — In what may be the most awesome and completely predictable development of the summer, the Anchorage Young Republicans, to whom party leaders turned over control of the annual party picnic, have decided to go in the exact opposite direction of the Lindbeck campaign.  How? Two words: BEER GARDEN.

That is right, the picnic that used to be the epitome of bland, fully conveyed by the terms “Republican” and “family friendly” will now at least be interesting. Think about this, the picnic used to be dry and held after the primary election, now it will inject booze and pre-primary inter-party tension into the mix.

There is no way something worth being there to see doesn’t happen. Complain if you will, but don’t act like you are now less likely to go.

That Is Just Wrong — Not long after the State Senate formally adjourned the latest special session, this began circulating among legislative staff.  I’m told several staffers were fooled, but only for a minute or two.

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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.

Days until the Primary Election — 26
Days until the General Election — 110

Mightier Than The Sword — You may not know the name, but Bob Lochner is running for U.S. Senate. Want to know what his chances are? Here is his last financial disclosure showing he spent half of the $12K he raised for his campaign on one thing.  Judge accordingly.

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From Facebook — Hilarious

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It’s All Good — Word is Independent State House candidate Jason Grenn was at a public picnic last week when he was introduced to Governor Bill Walker. The Governor was told something like “This is the guy who had to quit his job to run for office” which prompted the Gov to a great big bear hug and say “I don’t even know you, but I love you.” That counts as an endorsement, right?

ROI — A minor kerfuffle was made by the media over this fundraising flyer back in June. Some felt it was inappropriate for legislators and the Party to be planning such a fundraiser with the special session still underway.2cce8b63-cc87-4d4f-b7be-4ac3c3a20f15

As I promised I would do at the time, I went back and looked at the fundraising numbers from June to see how that event went and I was pretty surprised.  

As expected there were a few donations from lobbyists ($2,750), legislative staff ($450), and legislators and candidates for legislative seats $850). Not great numbers, but nothing otherwise odd about them.

What was surprising is how little the overall haul was. According to APOC records the Alaska Republican Party brought in $8,150 in all of their House and Senate Majority fundraisers in June while recording $6,861.75 in “venue and food bill” costs for those events. That is a net of less than $1,300, not exactly a great return on investment.

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

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

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  • ernie_pook

    Wonder who paid for those signs and doesn’t know how to spell HORDES?

  • akbatgirly

    The Hackney-Bieling-Johnston story……….now that’s interesting!