It’s time for our weekly stroll down the frigid back alleys of the Alaska political world. As always, take all of this with a pinch of salt. It’s rumors and gossip, after all.
As always, you can find me with your tips, suggestions and hate mail at [email protected].
‘Sooner rather than later’
Rep. Edgmon on Zach Fansler: “It’s my belief that he does plan to resign sooner rather than later.” #AKleg
— Nat Herz (@Nat_Herz) February 2, 2018
Welp. That was fast. While writing this article, Fansler’s resignation became official.
— KYUK News (@KYUKNews) February 2, 2018
Not on the list
Rumors are true that Walker could be considering a pick other than Rep. George Rauscher to fill the seat left vacant by Sen. Mike Dunleavy. It probably doesn’t help that Rauscher made light of recent allegations that Fansler assaulted a woman, rupturing her eardrum, with an office window sign that declared his capitol office a “BDSM FREE ZONE.”
We’ve heard that Mat-Su Borough Assembly Member Randall Kowalke could be one of the folks the governor’s considering for the position. Kowalke has filed a letter of intent to run for the position. In an interview with KTNA, Kowalke described himself as a centrist.
It’s Denali, get over it
Ohio Republicans made headlines this week for once again whining about the name of a mountain more than 3,000 miles away. There’s at least one jerk in Alaska for who cares about this fight, and now he’s under investigation for using a racial slur in the comments of a story about the latest effort to undo the name change. That’s because Terry Russell also serves as the chief of the volunteer fire department and board member of the Interior Region EMS Council.
Bowling league update
The Legislative Bowling League kicked off in earnest last night with the first week of competition. House Majority Deputy Press Secretary Drew Cason was the breakout star of the week. His score of 225 was the highest of the night and more than doubled his previous best average. Cason credited last-minute coaching for the sudden increase, but we’re not so sure he’s not a ringer sent to scare previous league high score winners Reps. Gara and Chenault.
Walker’s dubious distinction
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is down to a 26 percent approval rating in the latest ranking of governors conducted by The Morning Consult. Walker’s disapproval rating is at 55 percent according to the poll, which puts him at the fourth least popular sitting governor in America (he would’ve been sixth, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback are no longer in office).
According to the site’s quarterly rankings, Walker will be the least popular facing reelection this year with a net approval rating of -26 points.
Murkowski not that far behind
Sen. Lisa Murkowski also makes The Morning Consult’s list of least popular U.S. Senators. Also ranking in at sixth on the list with a disapproval rating of 41 percent. Unlike Walker, however, she has a net positive approval rating because 45 percent of Alaskans approve of the job she’s doing. Meanwhile, 50 percent of Alaskans approve of Sen. Dan Sullivan while just 32 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing.
Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, got the boot from the Legislative Ethics Committee this week for violating ethics laws by allegedly disclosing a confidential investigation. He took to the floor to defend himself against the charges before the vote, wearing medals that a lot of people are having problems placing. Any ideas?
— Jeff Landfield (@JeffLandfield) January 31, 2018
I asked @davideastmanjr about the decorations he’s been wearing on his suit jacket this week. He said they were made by a Native woman who supports him and specializes in beadwork, and he promised her he’d wear them for a week. #akleg
— James Brooks (@AK_OK) February 2, 2018
A burn most severe
The Alaska Journal of Commerce’s editorial board has not been shy to get aggressive in its editorials, but this week’s take down of Rep. Justin Parish was particularly savage. It includes the line:
“The problem is that everything that comes out of the Juneau Democrat’s mouth regarding oil taxes following his baritone ‘Madam Chair’ reveals a depth of knowledge that is shallower than a contact lens case.”
Someone call the fire department. Perhaps Walker will be able to apply for some federal disaster relief for a burn so bad.
The annual legislative compensation report is out and circulating around the building (we’ll have more on it when we get a chance to drill into it), but the moving expense line of a certain fiscally conservative representative from the Mat-Su Valley is turning heads. It’s only second to the legendary moving expenses of Sen. Donny Olson.
Hitting the big times
The Alaska Landmine is apparently just as #HigheEnergy as its author, Jeff Landfield, would remind you. In addition to breaking all sorts of gossip (some good, some bad), The Alaska Landmine also had the high distinction of being mentioned in a United States Senate Committee on Natural Resources meeting where U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was discussing the recent earthquake that triggered tsunami warnings, including one put out by Landfield in the early morning.
“A tsunami warning that came from… I guess it was… the Alaska Landmine dot com… I don’t know where that one comes from.”