In The Bag — Republicans are suffering a collective brain cramp trying to figure out how to deal with Sen. Bill Wielechowski’s lawsuit over Governor Bill Walker’s veto of half of this year’s PFD. Wielechowski clearly outflanked Republicans, who could have overridden the veto or at least scheduled a vote on it but chose not to. Sitting Republican legislators are among the approximately 100 people who have asked to join the East Anchorage legislator in the suit.
Between his handling of the PFD issue and receiving an endorsement from the NRA this week, Wielechowski has effectively sewn up re-election.
Which Way Will It Go — Rep. Ben Nageak’s lawsuit over the District 40 primary certainly has been entertaining this week with Nageak himself going back and forth as to whether he wants to actually be in the lawsuit.
Over the last week we have been struck by conversations with political leadership and how diametrically opposed both sides are on the lawsuit. We have heard from several high-level Republicans that former Alaska Republican Party Chairman and a named plaintiff in the case Randy Ruedrich has been all but guaranteeing them the suit will lead to either a new election or an outright victory for Nageak. Several Democrat leaders we’ve spoken with have uniformly expressed equally unqualified confidence the case won’t meet the legal threshold for the election results to be changed.
Rarely do we see both sides in a fight so confident of victory. Only one of them can be right.
Out and About — This week we took notice of Kenai-Soldotna area Republican candidate for Alaska State House Gary Knopp saying on The Tall, Dark and Handsome Show hosted by Duane Bannock that he wouldn’t be returning a donation he received from Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux’s PAC.
Several loyal readers of The Midnight Sun contacted us after we posted the story with another note. In the interview, Mr. Knopp claims he “does not know” Rep. LeDoux. That seems like a stretch giveen the two of them were spotted huddled up earlier in the week at Kenai restaurant Louie’s along with Rep. Bryce Edgmon and Rep. Paul Seaton.
That particular foursome getting together sure makes it seem like they were getting on the same page about creating a bi-partisan house majority next year. But since you can’t conspire with someone you don’t know, we must be mistaken.
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.
Empty Your Inbox — Tonight at midnight is the end of the latest fundraising reporting period for federal candidates and they are all assaulting voter email inboxes with pleas for last minute money to make their reports look as robust as possible.
Brace yourself, the onslaught will only get worse as the day progresses, but take solace in the fact it will all end at midnight.
Correcting The Record — Rep. Andy Josephson took the unusual step this week of using his official newsletter to admit a mistake. It stated:
“Correction and Clarification:
I previously wrote that my part-time aide, Caroline Storm, is a “retired” Architect which is not at all the case. She is a practicing Architect and working part-time in my office until December as she has a tremendous interest in Public Process and Advocacy.”
The record is now correct. Don’t let it happen again counselor.
Days until the General Election — 39
On The Move — Maybe the smartest person of the election cycle is Rep. Lynn Gattis staffer Tyson Gallagher. Word is Gallagher, who has been a hot free agent on the legislative staffing market since his boss inexplicably lost her bid for state senate last month, has eschewed offers from several potentially powerful players in a variety of possible new leadership coalitions to move to the private sector. Several sources say Gallagher has accepted a role on Megan Baldino’s government relations crew at GCI, though not in a lobbying capacity, but more in an analytical role.
We can’t blame the guy. When one of those big telecoms comes in and throws money, a stable work environment, and a private sector sensibility at you, why would you stay in the political grinder instead?
The End — The longtime home of the Alaska Republican Party on Fireweed Lane in Midtown Anchorage is no more. Here is a pic of the current state of the site that used to house party offices.
It’s like they paved paradise and put up a parking lot. Well, If by “paradise” we mean “shithole.”
In The Wind — Rumor has it former Speaker of the House turned lobbyist John Harris is in the process of buying out the practice of fellow lobbyist Ray Gillespie. According to APOC, Gillespie currently has 9 clients, including a fat $100K contract with the Alaska Municipal League.
The problem is lobbying is all based on relationships with clients, which can’t simply be purchased. With these rumors swirling, we’d expect to see other lobbyists start to swoop in and see if they can pry some of the contracts away for themselves in the coming weeks.
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Here are just some of the other events you can find on our Political Calendar —