Live Blog — Our election night live blog was a “yuge” success as evidenced by our website almost crashing by the volume of traffic. Thank you to our loyal readers and new friends for making it a real success. Be on the lookout for future live events and all the insight that The Midnight Sun has to offer. If you haven’t already, go ahead and like our facebook page and follow us on twitter.
Ballsiest Move — Those on the inside of former Anchorage Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston’s campaign have shared with us what we think is one of the boldest moves of the primary election season.
With about two weeks to go until election day, Johnston commissioned a poll that showed her up about 15 points over her opponent Ross Bieling. Kudos to Matt Larkin and Dittman Research for what turned out to be accurate polling data. (that’s what we’ve come to expect from them).
With those results in hand, the Johnston campaign decided to hold on to a big chunk of their campaign funds to use for the general election rather spending then it to guarantee a primary win. That is a remarkable move considering Bieling put over $100K of his own money and had political consultant Art Hackney and Assemblywoman Amy Demboski orchestrating blistering attacks on Johnston.
If Johnston had lost with so much money in the bank we can guarantee you, because we have seen it in person, she would have received an unpleasant in-person scolding from one of her closest campaign supporters, AK GOP Chairman Emeritus Randy Ruedrich.
But Johnston trusted her pollster’s data and showed the resolve to stand by them in the face of nasty attacks. We don’t know what kind of legislator Johnston will make, but damn does she have nerves of steel as a candidate.
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.
Marky Mark — Former U.S. Senator Mark Begich’s appearance in our election night liveblog was definitely a gold-medal performance and the biggest thing anyone has heard from him in quite some time. However, we have to hand out a silver medal in Begich news to a blip buried in a recent Politico piece on Hillary Clinton’s massive environmental policy team is reporting that Begich is now on a short list of candidates for Secretary of the Interior should Clinton win in November. Politico reported:
“Several candidates have also emerged for interior secretary, including Democrats such as former Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, former Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.”
See what an appearance on The Midnight Sun can do for a guy?
Lisa Did It!!!, Lisa Did It!!! — Rumors are swirling in the Mat-Su of a couple incumbents who aren’t ready to concede just yet. It sounds like both Rep. Lynn Gattis and Rep. Jim Colver are seriously considering write-in campaigns to keep their seats.
Write-in campaigns have traditionally been seen as nearly impossible however our very own U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski successfully pulled off the historic feat in 2010. Now, it is still a very tough thing to accomplish, but it is doable under just the right circumstances.
Colver’s path would likely be easier since the only other candidate in the race besides him and Republican George Rauscher will be uber-conservative Constitution Party candidate Pam Goode. She pulled 26% of the vote in the general election in this same district two years ago and will likely do so again. It’s safe to assume that almost all of those votes would otherwise go to Rauscher.
Gattis’ decision appears to be centering around how much Republican institutional support she can lock down from folks like Sen. Charlie Huggins and Sen. Bill Stoltze. We’ve heard there are already two independent expenditure groups willing to support her potential write-in campaign.
Confirmed — We have officially confirmed with former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz aide Felix Rivera that he is running for the Midtown Anchorage Assembly seat this spring. The seat is currently held by term-limited incumbent Elvi-Grey Jackson.
Rivera has spent the past few months running Tom Begich’s now successful state senate primary campaign.
Days until the General Election — 81
Kissing and Making Up — We’re hearing Sen. John Coghill had a fundraiser on the 16th floor of Denali Tower–that’s GCI’s HQ– at lunch on Thursday. We hear GCI President Ron Duncan couldn’t make it, but COO Greg Chapados and External Affairs Director Megan Baldino did and they brought dozens of directors and VPs with them. Interestingly it appears some executives from Armstrong Energy Corp., also showed up.
The GCI folks are clearly trying to make up with Coghill after Duncan and Chapados gave $5K to their IE group, Together For Alaska, that has openly stated an intent to spend money to support Coghill’s opponent Luke Hopkins.
SCOTUS — You’ve probably heard Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was in Anchorage this week. At her event hosted by the Alaska Bar Association, plenty of notables showed up to hear her drop some knowledge (That is a SCOTUS term) including Hollis French, Tom Begich, Lt. Governor Byron Mallott, Commissioner Heidi Drygas, Anchorage City Clerk Barbara Jones, Barbara Huff, Vic Fischer, Mike Bradner, Frank Bickford, Rep. Les Gara, Lisa Kelly and Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.
Burned — Going pretty well unreported is how Ray Metcalf’s victory in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is going to cause headaches and more than a few internal spats for Alaska Democrats.
Don’t think so? Then check out this Facebook beatdown Metcalf received from former Bernie Sanders state coordinator and Alaska Democratic Party District 4 chair Jill Yordy:
Political Cartoon —
Political Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column, please email us at [email protected].
Here are just some of the other events you can find on our Political Calendar —