It what may be the closest Alaska will ever come to a clash of political titans, Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami has filed to run against conservative stalwart Sen. Cathy Giessel for the State Senate seat she currently holds.

Sen. Giessel represents a district that covers the Muldoon/Tudor areas of East Anchorage and parts of Hillside and South Anchorage.

Sen. Cathy Giessel

Vince Beltrami

The announcement also means former Rep. Harry Crawford, who had filed to run for either Giessel’s Senate seat or Rep. Lance Pruitt’s house seat, is all but certain to take on Pruitt.

A race between Beltrami and Giessel is immediately the signature race of Alaska’s 2016 election cycle.

Both Beltrami and Giessel are well known as aggressive advocates of their political perspectives.  Giessel is unabashedly pro-oil industry, and socially and fiscally conservative. Beltrami is well known for his progressive views on workers rights and challenging the oil industry on issues such as taxation and local hire.

This race certain to be the best funded and most contentious race in the state this fall.  


Here is a statement released by Beltrami’s campaign:


May 31, 2016

CONTACT: Vince Beltrami, (907) 336-7500

Vince Beltrami to Challenge Cathy Giessel for State Senate Seat N

Anchorage, AK – May 31, 2016 – Vince Beltrami, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor organization, has filed to run for the Alaska State Senate today as a non-party affiliated candidate.

“I’m running because our current senator is the biggest contributor to the hyper-partisanship that has put Juneau in perpetual gridlock. Cutting our state’s university system, attacking public education, refusing to vote for a balanced comprehensive fiscal plan, and catering to the furthest right element in the Alaska political landscape are leadership failures that threaten our way of life, our economy, and the future of the Permanent Fund. I intend to offer bold leadership, not blind partisanship,” Beltrami said.

Beltrami has never held elected public office but has been deeply engaged in the legislative and electoral process on the state, federal, and local level for the past decade. He has spearheaded successful ballot initiatives and worked across the aisle to support working families.

Beltrami and wife Marja have resided in Alaska for three decades. He has raised his family in Alaska, is proud of the accomplishments and successes of his three daughters, and is happily enjoying a growing band of grandsons.

“I came to the conclusion that I MUST run,” Beltrami said. “I don’t NEED to run. I’ve had a successful career and am just a few short years away from playing with my grandkids full time. I realized I needed to do this so that my kids and grandkids can have a bright future in Alaska.”



More from TMS


  1. You forgot he assembled the Unity ticket

  2. “I intend to offer bold leadership, not blind partisanship”…….yeah, sure, the ultra Liberal won’t be partisan……at all.
    Seems totally legit.

  3. Well I know very little about Beltrami, but Cathy Giessel makes Pat Robertson look like a flaming liberal. Her stances on women’s reproductive rights are horrible. Anybody but Giessel, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Roe vs. Wade has clear guidelines to protecting the unborn which are ignored. Disgusting

      • Could you be more specific? If you are talking about not allowing states to regulate abortion until the third trimester, then I’m pretty sure that Cathy Giessel is ignoring the part that says that a woman’s right to privacy is the important thing in the first two trimesters. There’s also viability, which appears to be getting pushed earlier and earlier. However, extreme measures need to be performed to save those 24 week fetuses. I went into early labor at 24 weeks, and if they hadn’t eventually stopped it, I would have had to helplessly stand by while they took extreme measures to save my baby, who would then most likely have had severely debilitating problems. And then I would have had to pay their million dollar plus hospital bill, and then been on the hook for a lifetime of additional medical bills. Never mind having to watch a child struggle through her life with major disabilities. And the fact that I would have had to become a full time caregiver to my disabled child, which would mean that I couldn’t have earned the money to pay my astronomical medical bills. If I had given birth at 24 weeks, my own wish would have been to let nature (God?) take it’s course, but I would not have been given that choice.

        The complexity of pregnancy, as well as the potential ramifications, are such that every woman should be left to decide what is moral and appropriate to her own situation. In other words, unless a particular woman asks for advice on the subject, everybody else in the world should just butt out and live their own lives as they themselves see fit. Cathy Giessel does not get that………..she wants to ram her own rigidly ultra-conservative views down everyone else’s throat. Her “black and white thinking” should have no place in our government.

        • Specific to this conversation is there are women and doctors who are going through with abortion after the third trimester. This is a clear violation of the law which is ignored. It is also a legitimate question whether states should be able to make this decision. Certainly our Constitution gives this right to the respective States. Currently States decide on the death penalty. Why should States not be allowed to legislate for life?

          • akbatgirly | June 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm |

            Since there are only two or three places in the entire country where a woman could terminate a third trimester pregnancy (even with severe fetal abnormalities), I’m pretty sure that states are actively legislating it.

            On a personal note, I feel that anyone who tries to force a woman to give birth to a child whose life will be nothing but suffering, is a horrible person. A mother who would choose the peaceful passing of euthanasia for her child instead of pain, is by far the better human being.

            But back to Cathy Giessel. My understanding is that she believes that a woman should be forced to continue a pregnancy that results from a rape (and then gets the lovely lifelong experience of co-parenting with a rapist). I also vaguely remember that she was a sponsor of the invasive “transvaginal probe” bill that would have forced the procedure on any woman who attempted to seek a legal termination of a pregnancy (the vast majority of terminations occur very early on when an embryo is a tiny clump of unrecognizable cells, so not sure what the point of that was, unless it was humiliation). Having had the procedure myself, I can only imagine how it would affect a woman who had been raped.

            As a woman who tried for over a dozen years to have a child of my own, I could never be so self-righteous or sanctimonious as to try and make a decision for any other woman when it comes to the subject of pregnancy or childbirth. People need to leave this extremely personal decision to the one person who will be affected most by any pregnancy……….the woman!

  4. John Zebutis | May 31, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Reply

    I take issue with the statement that Harry Crawford is all but certain to take on Rep. Pruitt…. I look forward to being the District 27 Republican candidate.

  5. Vince Beltrami accusing Cathy Giessel of putting the PFD in harms way is a serious deflection of the truth. Vince Beltrami is one of the kingpin tyrants who peddle the snake oil that we need to give the government a portion of the PFD in order to save it!! What a putz!

  6. What is with all these democrats not running as democrats?

    • AngloTransplant | June 1, 2016 at 5:38 am | Reply

      Cause the current lame stream Repubs are so Awful. The King is dead, long live the King, eh?

  7. Division of Elections doesn’t show Giessel having a challenger (as of 10:50 am 6/2) … Did Beltrami miss the filing deadline?

    • Whoops, forgot that non-party candidates are on the general election list rather than the primary list.

  8. My bad, I forgot that non-party candidates are on the general election list rather than the primary list.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.