It’s time for our weekly trip through the grand, gross, weird, wild, and wonderful world of Alaska politics.
Here we go… It’s Friday in the Sun!
Top Dog — Now that the Muni elections are over and new Assemblymembers have been elected, the next question to be answered is: Who will the next Chair of the Assembly be? Dick Traini and Eric Croft are two names I’m hearing are up for the position. Nominations take place April 18.
Process — Check that. The Muni election isn’t quite over, at least not for School Board candidates Kay Schuster and Andy Holleman. They’re only separated by 58 votes, with all of the absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted. There are also a couple of ballot propositions that are still too close to call. In case you have a burning interest in the outcome of any of them, here is the ballot counting process the Muni Clerk explained in an email yesterday:
Election officials have begun the review of absentee ballots and will continue the review of both absentee and questioned ballots on Friday, April 7, 2017 from approximately 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Election Center. The review will continue Monday-Friday, and possibly Saturdays, until completed.
The public is welcome to attend. The Municipal Clerk’s office will provide updates to the timeline and processes for the review of ballots.
Days Until The Next State Election — 578
Days Until Muni Election — 361
Looking For Work? — U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski has a few openings in her office. According to the Alaska Bar Association’s website, Murkowski is looking for the following:
Washington D.C.: Legislative Assistant – Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
- serves as the Senator’s principal advisor and representative on legislative matters within [a] particular substantive area[s]; and
- exercises discretion and independent judgement in the performance of his/her duties; and
- provides leadership and support to junior staff assigned to portfolio.
For more information click HERE.
Washington D.C.: Press Secretary – Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski
Seeking a talented, experienced, and highly motivated communicator with strong writing skills and the ability to establish a strong rapport with the press. The individual selected for this position will be responsible for ensuring that the objectives and achievements of the Senator are communicated efficiently and effectively to the media and public. The individual needs to simplify complex issues to convey the Senator’s objectives and achievements utilizing print, digital, and social media. This position is based in Washington, D.C. and will work closely with the Communications Director and Digital Media Specialist.
For more information click HERE.
Power Outage — Remember those national Make America Great Again rallies that were held around the country on March 25? They were supposed to rival the anti-Trump protests in size and energy. Well, one was held for Alaska in Wasilla, yet I couldn’t find any mention of it. There was nothing in the media, nothing on Facebook, and nothing on any of the right-wing websites. So, what happened?
From what I hear, only a small smattering of the usual right-wing activist suspects showed. It wasn’t enough to make the media take notice or for #MAGA-ers want to draw attention to it online. Whant-whaaaaaan…
Hot Rumor — It sounds like the State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Alaska, Jeremy Price, is exploring the idea of running for Lt. Governor on the Republican ballot. Is it just me, or does that not sound like a demotion? But hey dude, do what you wanna do. The scuttlebutt is that Price was looking at running for Rep. Don Young’s seat, but has been waved off that plan, at least for now.
I asked Price if he is planning such a move and he said:
“Right now I’m focused on securing a state spending cap that actually works. Beyond that I’m not ruling anything out.”
That is a caaaaalassic non-denial. And how about him fitting in a plug for the issue his group is working on to boot? Nice.
Props — When I did the elections winners and losers piece earlier in the week, I was immediately inundated with a bunch of “you missed” messages. Most of them were just flat wrong, but one caught my eye. Downtown Assemblyman-elect Chris Constant thought his campaign consigliere Grant Johnston of J and E Media Group deserved notice.
I was initially skeptical since at best Johnston helped Constant win a race he would likely have won anyway, but then again, Constant did have the best designs and merch I’ve ever seen from a municipal candidate, so, sure, I’ll give Johnston some props.
Fond Adieu — Unfortunately, this will be my last Friday in the Sun. I am leaving TMS this weekend to take the position of Communications Director with the ACLU of Alaska.
The decision was not an easy one, as TMS owner Jim Lottsfeldt has been a joy to work with and I am proud of the unique and lively coverage of Alaska politics we’ve brought to our readers.
The ACLU, however, is the place to be to fight what I consider to be mean-spirited, self-serving, and many times unlawful policies coming out of the current occupant of the White House, while still offering me the opportunity to find and promote uniquely Alaskan instances of inappropriate government infringement on the rights of citizens.
I thank Mr. Lottsfeldt and you, the reader, for all of your support over the last two years. The Midnight Sun will go on, so keep checking out our website, Facebook, and Twitter feeds for the most interesting coverage of Alaska politics out there.
Radio GaGa — I’ve been asked quite a bit this week about what really happened in the Anchorage radio shake-up that cost Mark Colavecchio his mid-morning show on KFQD and saw KENI cut Rick Rydell’s show back an hour and expand Mike Porcaro’s show by an hour.
Colavecchio took to Facebook to claim his firing was caused by Alaska’s recession. Is that true? Well, only kind of. KFQD is losing a revenue stream from the loss of Alaska Aces games on the station so they had to made cutbacks. The decision of what to cut and when came from the Alpha Media corporate offices in Portland, Oregon, not from local station management, and the corporate guys undoubtedly only looked at ratings and what was generating revenue. Colavecchio was simply not producing acceptable ratings or generating enough ad revenue so he was the one let go.
As for KENI, their move makes sense based on the last set of ratings. National radio did very well and local political talk radio was down. With someone in the Oval Office for the next four years who will always generate strong opinions, KENI moved to strengthen and expand its live broadcasts of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and augment its local radio products around that.
Appointment Listening — Join the throngs of The Midnight Sun The Podcast listeners who wait eagerly for the latest episode to drop every Sunday morning. If you aren’t already addicted, you soon will be. This week I will be joined by pollster Ivan Moore to discuss all the drama in Juneau and what exactly happened in Tuesday’s Anchorage elections.
Public Service — I’ve received a few inquiries from legislature types this week about whether Rep. Lance Pruitt’s absence from a House Finance Committee meeting that he attributed to a court appearance had anything to do with his wife’s lawsuit against radio talker Dave Stieren over the dissolution of their PR firm PS Strategies. I checked the court records and, no, there has been no activity in the case in the last few weeks. Sorry, maybe next time.
Dunleavy Out –— Social media was all abuzz last night over Sen. Mike Dunleavy declaring he is running for Governor in 2018. Well, technically he didn’t say that outright, but he might as well have when he voted against the Senate Majority’s budget and thus left the Majority Caucus.
The question for the moment is what will happen to Dunleavy’s staff he was allocated due to his membership in the majority, as well as his seat on the Senate Finance Committee. We expect to hear an answer to that today.
Also, who will replace Dunleavy on Finance? I’m hearing Sen. Shelly Hughes is the frontrunner (she is also from the Valley so she would preserve the regional balance on the committee) and Sen. Bert Stedman is a potential dark horse to get the seat.
Political Fly Into The Sun — If you have morsels you’d like shared in this column, please email us at [email protected].