Landing Strong — Some might have worried about the long-term employability of the two highly regarded staffers Sen. Lesil McGuire threw under the bus during the legislature’s “Travelgate scandal” last fall. I had more than one legislator at the time tell me they would love to hire either, but with the media attention still fresh they were both too hot to hire for awhile. Well, it seems the storm has passed and both have landed back with solid gigs in the Capitol with employers who think the heat’s died down. Genevieve Wojtusik is now a finance assistant to House Finance Co-Chairman Mark Neuman, and Amy Michel (Saltzman) is now Chief of Staff to Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.
Takin’ On Don — Well, it had to happen. Some poor Democrat had to step up to take on the biennial exercise in quixotic politics that is a run against Congressman-For-All-Alaska Don Young.
In a conversation yesterday, respected veteran Alaska newsman and former CEO and General
Manager of Alaska Public Media Steve Lindbeck confirmed to me it very well may be him.
When asked if he intended to run against Young this year, Lindbeck said, “I’m exploring it pretty seriously. It’s time for some new blood. Things are changing in Alaska and we need to look forward to the next ten years, instead of back to the last forty.”
As a professional journalist Lindbeck says he has been “studiously and carefully nonpartisan” for his whole career, but he acknowledges that “temperamentally, [he’s] always been a Democrat.” When asked the question more directly, he says he’d “most likely run as a Democrat. ”
Would he have a chance against Young? If recent polls are any indication, the Congressman is vulnerable. But doesn’t it always seem that way with Don?
I’m just wondering what nickname Dandy Don will conjure up for Lindbeck. You just KNOW it will be a good one.
Patiently Waiting — It’s now been 10 days since Alaska GOP Chairman Peter Goldberg said he was suing us at The Midnight Sun for accurately reporting on what his crew was up to.
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.
Tough Decisions — Senate Finance Co-Chair Pete Kelly felt the need this week to tell reporters that the Legislature still has plenty of fat to cut from the budget. Shucks–he said they cut $400 million from the budget last year and nobody noticed. And he’s right. Even with that massive cut and the state facing a fiscal crisis, legislators didn’t even have to give up their Legislative Chef (hired after Palin decided her own kids could make their own sandwiches in The Big Mansion, and, yes, that chef job is a real position–insert your own joke as to what dishes may be cooked up) to the tune of $5,000 per month. Some things are just mission-essential.
Help Wanted — This posting popped up yesterday and I thought, “Where else in Alaska are so many employable political and communication eyes trained here at the Midnight Sun?” So, if you know anyone who is interested, send them Strategies 360’s way. And if you have any political job postings, send them our way at [email protected]. We’ll help get the word out.
The Other Midnight Sun…or One Of Them, Anyway — Rumors have been swirling for weeks the fine ladies over at the Midnight Sun Republican Women’s Club are on the verge of endorsing Nick Begich over Amy Demboski in the Chugiak-Eagle River Assembly race. My inside sources say there is quite the fight going on over the decision. Many in the group known for its moderate “Lisa Murkowski-ish” politics have no love for the stridently conservative Demboski–and Demboski and her crew at the Anchorage Republican Women’s club have made it abundantly clear that they have no love for them–but will Midnight Sun really pull the trigger on endorsing the relatively unknown Republican Begich over Demboski? We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled.
Anti-Demboski Fizzle — Speaking of Demboski, plenty of political insiders have been buzzing for weeks about the independent expenditure (IE) that is being formed to take her out. The most incredible part of the story is that it isn’t union thugs, Berkowitz acolytes, or moderate Republicans leading the effort–but Randy “Palpatine” Ruedrich himself who is said to be behind the whole thing. In fact, there are those in Demboski’s camp who believe the most unbelievable: the IE is a partnership between Ruedrich, Assemblyman Bill Evans, and Mark Begich.
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Well, not to fret Demboski disciples. Word is the IE hasn’t attracted the money Ruedrich thought he could bring to it, so it won’t be the player in the race some were hoping.
He Who Shall Not be Named — Earlier this week, the Alaska GOP was forced to issue an apology to School Board candidate David Nees after The Midnight Sun reported they had sent out a robocall encouraging voters to vote for Kay Schuster in the School Board race even though there’s another Republican (David Nees) in that race. There had been no official party action endorsing her over him, so many wondered how that happened.
In their apology, the Alaska GOP said:
“The individual who arranged the recording and broadcast of the telephone message has expressed regret for failing to include Mr. Nees in the message.”
I am told the unmentionable regret-ee is former Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich. He is steamed Nees is cluttering up the race with multiple Republican choices. Without getting current Party Chairman Goldberg’s or anyone else’s sanctioning, Ruedrich is said to have orchestrated the call to let area Republicans know who the “real” party choice in the race was.
As you can tell, that didn’t go well for anyone.
Red Handed — The case continues to build that “Independent” U.S. Senate candidate Margaret Stock is anything but. First, she hired Democratic Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley staffer Michael Edwards to run her campaign, then she went on the record to say she was open to running in the Alaska Democratic Party’s primary.
Now for the piece de resistance: Here is Stock’s campaign donation page. See that little icon at the bottom for “NGP VAN”? That is the company Stock is using for her campaign fundraising and data management, as you can see here.
Well, when you click on that icon on Ms. Stock’s donation page this is what comes up…
Is there any more doubt Ms. Stock is the DEMOCRAT candidate for U.S. Senate?
Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column please email me at [email protected].
Some New Events You Can Find On Our Political Calendar —