AYERS: Mike Dunleavy doesn’t measure up and there’s nothing Outside money can do to change that

Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, and Republican gubernatorial front-runner Mike Dunleavy.

Jim Ayers served as chief of staff in the Tony Knowles administration. You can submit letters, op-eds and cartoons for consideration to The Midnight Sun editor, Matt Buxton at matt@midnightsunak.com.

By Jim Ayers

As Alaska’s chaotic governor’s race comes down to the wire, I keep recalling a couple of nuggets of wisdom from experience as a Marine Corps veteran and more than 30 years as an observer of Alaska politics.

The first, which was pounded into my head by our surly drill sergeant during 14 weeks of Marine Corps boot camp and infantry training, and which I still try to live every day: honor is the bedrock of the Marine character.

The second is the old adage: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

Twenty years ago, Alaska faced a remarkably similar race for governor. In 1998, the Republican candidate was an obscure educator with a checkered past, John Lindauer. His Democratic opponent was a well-known incumbent governor with a long list of accomplishments, Tony Knowles.

The Lindauer campaign was among Alaska’s most entertaining. Many Alaskans recall the infamous “radio mirror,” a tale Lindauer conjured to explain a scandal involving a questionable consulting contract with a Chicago thug known as “Terrible Eddie” and hundreds of thousands of dollars in mysterious campaign cash eventually traced back to Lindauer’s second wife. Lindauer’s failed campaign was overseen by an affable Republican henchman well known to political operatives, one Tuckerman Babcock.

Today, Alaska’s Republican candidate for governor, Mike Dunleavy was equally obscure before winning the primary and equally has dough rolling in from who knows where. Mike Dunleavy’s public service experience is limited to a partial term in the Alaska Legislature. He quit that post, as he had previous jobs. Much of his mysterious campaign cash comes from his wealthy East Coast brother. And the brains behind the Dunleavy campaign? Yes, the same would-be kingmaker, Tuckerman Babcock.

Adhering to the Marine Corps sense of honor, which empowers Marines to strive to exemplify the highest in character, served me well. It taught me to judge character based on a person’s word and performance of duty; including the general standing order to stand your post until properly relieved.

Mike Dunleavy does not measure up, and there is nothing that money from Outside or Tuckerman Babcock can do to change that. In fact, Tuckerman would benefit from my grandfather’s advice, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear.”

With the enormous challenges facing us, Alaska can’t afford to turn the clock back two decades. That’s why today my choice in the Alaska governor’s race is an easy one. Mark Begich is a proven fighter for Alaska who has lived his life with integrity, stick-to-it-ness and honor. I am proud to support him.

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5 Comments on "AYERS: Mike Dunleavy doesn’t measure up and there’s nothing Outside money can do to change that"

  1. Don’t insult the East Coast! Dunleavy’s brother lives in Houston, Texas. If I can believe what the group funneling Outside money to Dunleavy says. Not that I want to insult Texans!

  2. We should not repeat our mistakes like electing Governor Knowles. Jim Ayers was Knowles’ Chief of Staff when Knowles became only the second Governor in Alaska history to have a budget veto overridden. That takes a 3/4 vote of entire legislature and it happened more than once. He lead the push for an income tax so massive it failed 0-20 in the State Senate with even every Democrat voting against what Knowles and Ayers proposed. These are failures of leadership.
    And let’s not forget his failed Gas Line Project – “My way is the highway” through Canada that cost the State hundreds of millions in wasted public money. Alaska cannot afford another ultra-left Governor. Dunleavy is by far the best choice.

  3. Thank you Jim Ayers. As Alaskans of all kinds of political allegiances get more familiar with Dunleavy they are less and less willing to vote for him. I see the surge for Begich as more of a surge against Dunleavy.

  4. As Alaskans of all kinds of political allegiances get more familiar with Dunleavy they are less and less willing to vote for him. I see the surge for Begich as more of a surge against Dunleavy. Thank you Jim Ayers.

  5. Dave Donley, if we hadn’t completely done away with our income tax, the people would have kept better tabs on the legislature, and hopefully wouldn’t have let them fritter away all our oil wealth. We had more money than Norway, but those danged socialist Scandinavians somehow managed to save theirs and live so very comfortably now. While we capitalists are broke! All you have to do to see the difference between Dunleavy and Begich is visit their websites. Dunleavy’s tells you nothing, Begich’s gives detailed ideas and solutions on every challenge that Alaska is facing. I hope the surge for Begich continues and he wins, because we cannot afford a know-nothing figurehead like Dunleavy at this critical time in our state’s financial history.

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