Friday in the Sun (Jan. 5): A New Year Edition

Friday in the Sun is here

Welcome back from the holidays, everyone. It’s that time of week to dive back into the gossip, the rumors and the just plain weird from the Alaska political world. The Midnight Sun had a particularly wonderful time pretending like none of this existed during Christmas week, so we’re slowly getting back into gear. As always, you can find your humble editor at [email protected] with any tips, suggestions or hate mail.

(Also we don’t have any insider news on the replacement of Rep. Dean Westlake at the moment, but expect developments on that before too long.)


After our Naughty or Nice list before Christmas, some readers wondered what sort of resolutions our elected officials and other players in the political world might have for 2018. Below are our best—and because these things need a warning nowadays completely satirical—guesses. (Ours was to get these Friday in the Sun articles done earlier in the day. Oh well, there’s always next year.)

  • The Senate majority: Get a bigger paper shredder for the governor’s tax bills.
  • The House majority: Decide if being the majority was ever really worth it.
  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski: Get a bigger voicemail inbox.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan: Never forget that it’s all Obama’s fault.
  • Rep. Don Young: Order new Dean of the House business cards.
  • Gov. Bill Walker: Keep holding fundraisers until the host list is long enough to guarantee a 2018 victory.
  • The Legislature #1: Get around to checking out that free trial for You Need A Budget.
  • Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz: Let the snowplows and police stay out after midnight.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidates: Figure out why everyone likes John Binkley more than us.
  • Mark Begich: Keep lurking in Republican nightmares.
  • #akleg Twitter: Continue to pretend to be experts.
  • The Legislature #2: Keep hands to yourself.

Doesn’t quite add up

We see Rep. Tammie Wilson‘s resolution is to no longer be outdone by her colleagues Rep. David Eastman and Lora Reinbold. Having only really made headlines in 2017 for accusing the state of “legal kidnapping,” she hit the ground running today with a bizarre press release calling for the resignation of Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux for “placing legislative staff safety at risk” for failing to take action on sexual harassment allegations.

We might mention that most of the publicly available record on Rep. Dean Westlake suggests that the matter, which was at the time not a formal complaint of sexual harassment, was only known to Majority Leader Chris Tuck and possibly House Speaker Bryce Edgmon. Why, then, go after LeDoux? Is it because LeDoux is on the outs with the Republican Party? Or is it because Wilson really doesn’t want to go along with the mandatory sexual harassment training and could stand to lose out on staff if she refuses? Oh, it’s the last one because Wilson says as much in the press release.

Polling season

According to polling results published by our friend over at the Alaska Landmine, the still yet-to-declare John Binkley tops the field of possible Republican gubernatorial candidates by a mile. The total interest in Binkley tops 43 percent while no other announced candidate tops 10 percent. There’s Mike Dunleavy (8), Scott Hawkins (7), Charlie Huggins (4) and Mike Chenault (0, OUCH!). (We’ll also take a moment to note that Landfield’s posting of the poll, which was paid for by The Midnight Sun owner’s Lottsfeldt Strategies, is the first we’ve heard of it.)

The polling also found that in a three-way race between Binkley, Walker and Begich (who’s teased a run), Binkley tops the field with 31 percent of the vote to Begich’s 21 percent and Walker’s 18 percent. There’s 30 percent undecided up for grabs.

Another poll circulating over the holiday break asked callers about the usual suspects–Walker, Sullivan, Murkowski, Begich, Berkowitz and the Republican gubernatorial candidates–as well as a few interesting inclusions like Andy Holleman and Forrest Dunbar. The poll asked about a head-to-head race between Sullivan and Begich in 2020.

Legislative coverage

We hear that Steve Quinn will be taking over legislative coverage for KTVA. Quinn’s worked numerous odd jobs for different outlets both in and out of the capital, including (but probably not limited to): Bloomberg BNA, Alaska Magazine, We Alaskans, several First Nations publications, Petroleum News and Bradner’s Legislative Digest. He’ll be replacing the talented Liz Raines, who is in the transition over to anchor duty.

Horizontal vertical video syndrome

We spared Dunleavy for the… technical difficulties in his pre-Christmas announcement that he would be getting back into the race, but our friends over at Alaska Robotics couldn’t help having some fun.

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