Friday in the Sun!!! (December 30)

Friday in the Sun is here

Comms Out — House Minority Press Secretary Jeremiah Campbell has made it “Facebook official” (which is apparently now the most official, official there is) that he is moving on from his post to peruse his air traffic controller dreams. Campbell leaves the job on his own terms and without endangering the safety of women or children around him, so sadly enough, that alone makes him one of the more successful Republican leggie flacks in recent memory.

Who will replace the tiny dancer? I’m told interviews for his replacement will be going on through next week. If you are interested in the gig or know someone who should apply let Minority Leader Rep. Charisse Millette know (representative.charisse.millett@akleg.gov).

They could always offer the gig to Frank Ameduri. He was the Senate Democrat spokesman until he quit in a blaze of glory. Say what you will about Ameduri, but he has legislative experience and knows how to bash Democrats. What more are House Republicans looking for?

Days Until The Next State Election677

Days Until Muni Election95

Grinds My Gears —-  Speaking of Millett, she posted this to social media this week:

We can argue about whether that inscription really applies to her or not, but can we all agree that isn’t a fortune, it is a compliment? When did fortune cookies become so needy they started to kiss our asses rather than being honest with us about what was to come? Fortune cookies are now the fake news of the food world.

What Do They Know — Kudos to Brian Brettschneider for doing the legwork of combing through candidate bios to put together this chart of the educational attainment of our incoming legislature:

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.

The League — As we reported earlier in the week, friend of The Midnight Sun Patrick Race has put together a fantasy league of Alaska politics. Race tells us he already has over 20 teams registered and I know there are plenty to come. I haven’t filled out my team yet.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it has an impact on state politics. I’ve already had three lobbyists, a state party official, and a former state senator make unsolicited comments to me about the league. The lobbyists all took note that only certain lobbyists (not them) were listed (important enough) in the league.

Since Alaska doesn’t get polling data very often about how our leaders are doing, Race’s monthly fantasy rankings could influence how lawmakers view the job they are doing as much as anything else. It might even influence policy from time to time.

Race says the deadline for getting in is January 8th, so act soon or lose your spot in what is shaping up to be the place to be in Alaska politics.

Out There — I haven’t gotten into the Chugiak/Eagle River Assembly race to replace termed-out Bill Starr. A conservative is going to win this race so they’re the only ones worth talking about and it sounds like the conservative establishment has solidified around John Brassell.

The way I hear it, Brassell will be holding a kickoff event on January 6th and already has the support of Loren Leman, Nick Begich, Lora Reinbold, and Dan Kendall.

We are also hearing that Independent Joe Hackenmueller is going to run, but so long as Brassell can keep another credible conservative out of the race, it is his to lose.

Too Cool For School… Board — Progressives are pretty happy about their candidate recruitment for Anchorage School Board.

They already had former Anchorage Education Association President Andy Holleman set to run for one of the two seats up this year. Now it looks like they have talked James Smallwood into running for the other. Smallwood is a 38-year old African-American small business owner with kids in the district. He seems like a pretty good, young candidate.

Democrat insiders tell me they now view their slate of school board candidates as set. Their challenge, much like Republicans face in the Chugiak/Eagle River assembly race, is to now keep a like-minded third candidate from getting in these races. That would split the vote and allow a conservative to win.

Not Good Enough — This is the time after the election when legislators start jockeying for the best offices in Juneau. We hear one legislator not happy with what he was initially offered was Rep. Scott Kawasaki. He was originally assigned to an office on the 2nd floor but is now up on the 5th floor.

We asked him what the problem was, and here is what he had to say:

“I wanted to reorient the office so my staff would have the window and I would forgo Juneau sunshine. There wasn’t a door to that office like there is on the 2nd floor and they couldn’t get it done before session. Gotta have happy staff so we’re on the 5th floor facing the channel in a smaller office.”

Downtown — Downtown Assembly candidate Chris Constant continues to solidify his base of support. This week he picked up an endorsement from the IBEW. If everything stays as it is, Constant looks headed for victory, but the question on every downtown progressive’s mind continues to be “will Sheila Selkregg run?”

Appointment Listening — Join the throngs of The Midnight Sun The Podcast listeners who wait eagerly for the latest episode to drop every Sunday morning. If you aren’t already addicted you soon will be. This week Forrest Dunbar and I are joined by current State Senate President Kevin Meyer.

Helpful Tip — Legislators —  mostly Sen. Pete Kelly — really hate it when the media does a story every year on the Legislative Lounge. But it is their own fault. A story about the legislature spending money on its own lounge complete with a chef to cater to lawmakers while people are losing their jobs and PFDs has juice. If they changed the names, all that would go away. I mean, how sexy is a story about the State Capitol Cafeteria and it’s head cook?  No one would read that story, let alone write it.

Who Isn’t On The List? — Alaska Republican Party Vice-Chairman Rick Whitbeck said yesterday on the Michael Dukes Show that he has a list of 46 Republicans who “are either interested in running or people are trying to draft them into running” for Governor in 2018.

That is a pretty good indication of just how vulnerable Republicans think Gov. Bill Walker is at this point.  

Whitbeck went on to say the Alaska Republican Party’s challenge is to keep the number of entrants in the Republican primary from ballooning to the point the Party’s message gets lost. That is pretty clearly code for saying the Party doesn’t want more than 3-4 people in the primary because that would give more moderate or labor-supported candidates like Sen. Click Bishop or a candidate with a track record of opposing resource development like richy-rich Bob Gillam a realistic chance of winning.

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

2017 Alaska Inaugural Gala

(click on image for more info)

 

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