TMS Publisher: Notes from the campaign trail

This post is from the desk of The Midnight Sun Publisher Jim Lottsfeldt, and was written independent of the daily reporting and writing of editor Matt Buxton.

Dunleavy versus Begich

In these last few days of the campaign, a couple of “tells” can be seen from the different campaigns. On the top of the ticket, the pro-Dunleavy independent expenditure group fueled by his brother has made a statement with an ad featuring Dunleavy and Bill Wielechowski together. When Wielechowski objected with a cease-and-desist letter—Wielechowski has been in the Begich campaign since before Mark decided to run—the Dunleavy IE responded with an op-ed by the PAC’s frontman.

Then there is the ad I saw today featuring the Lisa Murkowski endorsement.

It’s crystal clear that the group is worried Dunleavy’s base is too small, so they are signaling with a pro-PFD Democrat (Wielechowski) and the RINO they love to hate (Murkowski). They are trying to woo moderates.

I’ve heard from a few folks in the friends of Lisa circle that they believe Murkowski extracted a few promises in return for her endorsement. One is that Joe Miller won’t be allowed in state government, and no attack on Planned Parenthood or other women’s reproductive health providers. If true, Jim Minnery is going to be sorely disappointed again.

Joe Miller

Bottom line: Dunleavy camp is worried about the Begich surge.

Speaking of the Surge

Recent polling has both Begich and Dunleavy within the margin of error. To close that gap, Begich has had to grow–a lot—and Dunleavy has fallen.  That’s not good news for Dunleavy a week out. Yesterday, the Democratic Governors Association plunked down $500K on the race. That’s not good for Dunleavy. And finally, Begich is now truly a happy warrior. His team is now fully constituted and he has the blessing of Bill Walker. And IF there is a blue wave in the nation, that’s one more tool that helps Begich.

Don Young 

Alyse Galvin and Don Young.

U.S. Rep. Don Young is a political phenomenon. He does things that should disqualify him from re-election, but always manages to win. Conventional wisdom is he will win again.

Young doesn’t really run a modern political campaign. His campaign is a media buy and few appearances. There aren’t a bunch of volunteers and a buzzing campaign headquarters. He will knock on no doors.

Some of the appearances have landed him in hot water. Like when he argued with teenagers about their classmate’s suicide, or he suggested he might kill Forest Dunbar because Dunbar touched his elbow to get his attention, or when he put the hand crush on a Native woman at AFN who was criticizing his suicide comments. There’s more, but you get the idea.

His media campaign feels like it’s on a loop. It has two elements: Don Young is greatest congressman that has ever lived, and his opponent is somehow equal to Nancy Pelosi. Personally, I think the Pelosi thing is tired and too much inside baseball.

Conventional wisdom says Alyse Galvin shouldn’t win, but I think Young’s unwillingness to make any new personal connections with average Alaskans will catch up to him. Maybe this is the time.

Legislative Races

There are four races that have caught my eye.

Jason Grenn

Jason Green is perhaps the nicest, hardest working candidate I have ever observed. He is also a talented legislator. But the concern that Dustin Darden, a pro-Trump “lets require bibles in schools, and outlaw fluoride in tapwater” candidate is running as a Democrat, and he may get too many Democratic votes based on his name ID. He’s run a bunch. That may allow the Republican, Sara Rasmussen to get close or pull off an upset.

On the Hillside, Amber Lee has hit every door in this un-walkable district and is really challenging Jennifer Johnston. Johnston hasn’t done much of a campaign. Will the Hillside embrace a pro-business Democrat rather than a low-energy Republican?

Juneau’s Chris Dimond, the Independent running against Sara Hannan in downtown Juneau, received Governor Bill Walker’s endorsement. This district is Hillary country. Hannan will prevail.

And then there’s this guy.

He’s a Marine and he wants to represent Eagle River. Other than party affiliation, doesn’t it seem like Oliver Schiess is the sort of person Eagle River should love?

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2 Comments on "TMS Publisher: Notes from the campaign trail"

  1. LOL, downtown Juneau isn’t Hillary country. It’s Bernie country. There’s a big difference, especially when you’re trying to use it as a metaphor for Sara and Chris. But ultimately your conclusion might be correct, although I think Chris is out-campaigning Sara by a huge margin.

  2. Jennifer Johnston takes her votes for granted just like she did when on Assembly. Time for her to be “allowed” to stay home and do nothing in Anchrorage rather than pay her to do nothing in Juneau.

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