Friday in the Sun!!! (August 26)

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The Party Of What, Exactly — Remember when American politics were simple? A person would run in the GOP or Dem primary and if the party members voted for them they were the nominee the party supported? Not anymore. In addition to the GOP and Dem establishments in Alaska who have been waging wars on candidates within their own primaries — a practice we have been critical of — now we have this admission from a Margaret Stock fundraising email :

“The Alaska Democratic Party knows how important it is to defeat Lisa Murkowski, so they’ve even signed an agreement with our campaign to share crucial campaign data.”

We called and asked the party if this is true and they said it is. So, you now have the Alaska Democratic Party providing access to resources for a non-party nominee in a race where there is a party nominee, Ray Metcalfe, just not one the party establishment likes.

This action begs the question: what is the point of a primary election? If party leaders are going to provide party resources to candidates opposing the primary winner in the general election, why don’t the party leaders just pick the party’s candidate themselves? Why should there even be a pretense that primary voters matter?

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.

Hell Hath No Fury — Many people have wondered what exactly is the source of the shrill rage exhibited by the Alaska Republican Party’s Communications Director and party sponsored blogger Suzanne Downing. She seems to have a lot of pent-up frustrations that has come out as angry writing, particularly when it comes to the Governor and his staff.

We don’t know the exact cause of her vitriol, but we do seem to have identified when it started.

Back in the final days of the Parnell administration, when Downing was a speechwriter for the Governor, and making $100,000 a year plus benefits from the state government, she apparently didn’t want to leave. On December 4, 2014, she addressed Gov. Walker’s staff asking to stay on under Walker, at least until the legislative session began.

There are those who believe Downing was hoping to use the offer of temporary service as a way of staying under Walker permanently rather than take a substantial pay cut and ego hit of staffing a backbencher freshman house member.

At that time she showed no animosity towards the Governor or was repressing those urges pretty well.  In her email, she wrote it would be an “honor” to work with the Governor and his staff.

Sadly, though, the Governor rejected Downing and by early spring, when Downing took over communications at the Alaska Republican Party, she was all of the sudden full of viciousness towards Walker.

Like we said, we don’t know where her enflamed passions came from, but they appear to have started on December 4, 2014.

Tough Times — The Alaska Family Council (AFC) is having a tough time of it lately. This week their President Jim Minnery sent out a fundraising email that read:

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Maybe the fundraising drought has to do with their results at the polls on primary election night. Remember this appeal from the AFC:

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Three out of the four of the candidates they said not to vote for ended up winning, and the fourth, Jeff Landfield, couldn’t win because he was in the same race as Natasha Von Imhof, who did. And that was in Republican primaries, the AFC’s home turf.

A loyal reader of The Midnight Sun crunched the numbers and showed 63% of primary candidates chose not to respond to AFC’s candidate survey, but of those who did, 67% lost their races.

Little money and few victories, it’s been a tough summer for Alaska Family Council.

Days until the General Election — 74

Looking For A Job? — There are lots of good comms job opportunities out there right now:

          AEDC — Communications Director

          AHFC — Communications Manager

          Rasmuson Foundation — Communications Manager

Voting Anomalies — This coming Monday Sen. Bill Stoltze is convening a hearing into the voting irregularities in the District 40 polling places during the primary election. Stoltze is the king of legislative-hearings-as-show-trials, so it’s not clear right now what exactly the point of the hearing is, but it should be good political theater.

There are real questions to be asked and answered when it comes to how elections are conducted in rural Alaska. Here is a response one Democrat, a major Dean Westlake supporter in Barrow, received from the Division of Elections (DOE) after the poll workers told him he couldn’t vote in the Westlake-Nageak race, but would have to vote the Republican primary ballot instead:

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It is rare to see DOE so easily acknowledge such problems.

Speaking of D-40 — Today DOE will decide the fate of 98 outstanding questioned ballots in the Westlake-Nageak race. Dean Westlake currently leads by a razor thin 3 vote margin.

From what we hear, only about 38 of those ballots will likely be deemed valid. Of those, 12 are from Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) associate people. ASRC came down heavily for Nageak in the closing days of the campaign. 26 of the votes come from NANA Regional Corporation areas where Westlake did well so this race is still too close to call.

Problem With This Picture — Is it just us or does it seem like the Alaska flag outside the LIO has an extra star?

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Sign Wars — We here at The Midnight Sun follow Alaska politics pretty closely and even we don’t know who this guy or gal is, but we’ve seen about half a dozen of their yard signs up around West Anchorage.

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You know what we haven’t seen in those same neighborhoods? Any Lisa Murkowski, Ray Metcalfe, or Margaret Stock yard signs. We all know signs equal votes, so maybe Murkowski is headed for another monumental upset in November.

Odd Run-Ins — Word is that while traveling in Wyoming on Wednesday Gov. Bill Walker ran into maybe our favorite politico of our lifetime, former everything under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, James Baker. We’re told there was no agenda for the meeting, just two guys talking. The Governor is said to have loaded up on political advice from Baker, so his political opponents had better watch out.

If you’ve lived under a rock and don’t know and admire the work of Mr. Baker, check out the HBO movie Recount about the fight to win Florida in the 2000 presidential election. It shows how Baker opened up a great big can of whoop-ass on the entire Democratic Party.

IMG_0796Hello Hillary — Hillary Clinton’s campaign opened an Alaska campaign office in Anchorage last night.

It must be required by Alaska law that all campaign offices are located in the corridor between Fireweed and Northern Lights and between the Seward Highway and Spenard. Hillary’s is on campaign alley, formerly known as Fairbanks St, right along with Don Young/AKGOP HQ, Alaska Democrats HQ, and Steve Lindbeck’s HQ.

The event was sparsely attended. Congressional candidate Steve Lindbeck was there, but then made a beeline for the door as soon as we showed up. Others there included Alaska Democratic Party Chair Casey Steinau, Elvi Grey-Jackson, Rep. Andy Josephson, Rep. Geran Tarr, Ed Wesley and Vic Fisher.

Political 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 of the other events you can find on our Political Calendar

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  • Charles Bingham

    You mentioned the new Clinton-Kaine campaign office is on the corridor between Northern Lights and Fireweed, and Spenard and Seward Highway, where several other major campaign offices are located. You might check into the history of some of the campaign office sites. Several election cycles ago Rep. Don Young used a building in the corridor that previously had been the site of the infamous Cindy’s Massage Parlor (from Kim Rich’s Johnny’s Girl memoir).

  • ratfishtim

    Re Suzanne Downing: Thanks for hitting the nail on the head.

    There appears to be an interesting typo in the division of elections response to a Barrow voter, as the voter appears to be told that he or she has the options of selecting only the ADL or Measure Only ballot in “the Generals.” That may have been true for the primary election, but in “the Generals” everyone regardless of party affiliation gets the same ballot- as far as I know.

    One would think someone in the division would know the difference between a primary and general election. Or am I missing something?