Friday in the Sun (Aug. 3): The Complete Ranking edition

Friday in the Sun is here

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another trip down everyone’s favorite trail of unsubstantiated rumor and gossip from the political world. As always, take everything with a grain of salt.

AFA attacks Fogle

Alaska Family Action is going after Republican candidate Albert Fogle in a gay-bashing email penned by the group’s president Jim Minnery. The email is titled “Al Fogle and Truth,” and Minnery casts himself in the role of lamentably notifying voters that Fogle, who’s in a three-way race for the South Anchorage seat, is gay.

“AFA finds itself in the difficult but necessary position of needing to provide information on a candidate related to statements he has made that are inconsistent and, to be accurate, deceptive,” he writes, accusing Fogle of hiding his sexual orientation and same-sex marriage from Republicans (no wonder why when this is the response).

It stems from the conservative candidate’s stated support for the Republican platform, which includes a line about marriage being between one man and one woman.

Apparently being a Republican and being gay are incompatible.

For a group that was behind the anti-transgender bathroom bill initiative, Minnery goes to great lengths in the email to act like it’s not about sexual orientation, but let’s be clear, the simple purpose of the email is to alert followers that Fogle is gay and is in a same-sex marriage. By couching it as a matter of honesty, Minnery gives his anti-LGBT followers an easy explanation to mask their opposition.

It might be easy to write this off as yet another vile attack by Minnery, but it’s important to remember just how much sway this group holds over Republican legislators when it comes to any sort of social issues. Remember, too, just how quietly those Republicans fall into line on issues like the confirmation of a transgender man (by casting it as an issue of him once working for the ACLU) or a woman who once dared work for Planned Parenthood (by not speaking at all).

‘Sorry, but they’re communists’

That’s part of Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Edie Grunwald’s response to a question about the AKLNG pipeline project during this week’s debate hosted by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce: “We definitely don’t want to deal with the Chinese. Sorry, but they’re communists, and they want to get a hold into our country, and we would be a part of that process.

Refusing to cross lines

The Walker campaign announced on Thursday that it had formally requested the Sept. 14 gubernatorial debate hosted by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Anchorage be moved from the Hilton due to a longstanding dispute between UNITE HERE Local 878 and the hotel chain. The hotel’s unionized employees voted to place a boycott on the hotel in 2009, and has been keeping tabs on groups that are crossing the boycott lines.

“I am not willing to spend campaign resources at a hotel where there are active labor disputes,” Walker said in a tweeted statement.

But, as always, there’s plenty of behind-the-talk scenes about the move.

We got conflicting information on just how long Walker had been planning the move, and whether or not he was following the suit of Democratic candidate Mark Begich (who also’s protested the location of the event). Here’s what we can figure out:

  • It does sound like Walker’s campaign was, at least at one point, confirmed to attend the event when it was scheduled at the Hilton.
  • Walker has, however, been planning for a month or so to boycott the event if the venue wasn’t changed, according to sources outside the campaign.
  • Begich was a no from the get go on attending the event at the Hilton

Mark it down as one more battle in the greater war between Walker and Begich over who’ll win over organized labor before the deadline to withdraw from the primary election.

Failed pact

Along those lines, the Anchorage Daily News’ Charles Wohlforth goes into much detail about a behind-the-scenes plan hatched by Hollis French to narrow the race down to a two-way battle for the general election that depended on a polling pact. It’s a worthwhile read, but suffice it to say that Walker (who’s either trailed or tied Begich in the polling so far) wasn’t on board.

Blog battle

The feud between the Alaska Landmine and Must Read Alaska reached new heights this week when the Republican mouthpiece launched its latest attack on Landmine editor Jeff Landfield, casting his criticism of two female candidates as sexism and racism in a piece titled “Enter the woman-hater.” It’s another low for the right-wing blog, which closes the post with this line: “One must hope that he is content with landing his blows on digital media.”

Let’s be real, Landfield is a provocateur and occasional asshole, but he’s also brought an often thoughtful and passionate voice to the Alaska media landscape (you can see that in his lengthy rebuttal posted this week).

Notable omissions

This week, we saw some endorsements come out from public safety unions that went to Rep. Chuck Kopp and candidates Nancy Dahlstrom and Kelly Merrick. All three are in contested Republican primaries. One insider pointed out that if the group was looking at contested primaries, they overlooked Rep. Charisse Millett, who’s been one of the leading champions of the Repeal SB 91 effort and is in a bitter primary fight.

Perhaps it comes down to substance. While Millett and others were answering a vocal minority’s call for a wholesale repeal of the law, Kopp, who’s a former police chief, meanwhile spent the last session quietly working across bipartisan lines to produce an actual compromise to clean up the state’s criminal justice reform.

Another notable omission

The Associated Press took note this week of a handful of candidates left off the Alaska Democratic Party’s website, including Dustin Darden, who’s running in the Democratic primary for the seat held by Rep. Jason Grenn, the independent who teamed up with Democrats in the House this last session.

State of Alaska contributions

In one of the many things that I’ve dug up while messing around with APOC files is this breakdown of contributions made by anyone who listed the state of Alaska as an employer on APOC contributions (we filtered out any giving of any kind made by a sitting legislator, which happened to make it look like Rep. Lora Reinbold was one of the biggest beneficiaries of state employees with all her contributions to her own campaign). We didn’t remove legislative aides from this report, so keep that in mind, here’s everyone who had at least $1,000 income from state employees.

Candidate Total Income
Bill Walker $34,087.32
Byron Mallott $18,776.97
Mike Dunleavy $6,056.00
Jesse Kiehl $5,295.00
Chris Dimond $4,150.00
Mark Begich $3,925.00
Tiffany Zulkosky $2,520.00
Jason Grenn $2,471.66
Sara Hannan $2,350.00
Elvi Gray-Jackson $2,300.00
Mike Chenault $1,951.00
Scott Kawasaki $1,950.00
John Lincoln $1,548.96
Charlie Huggins $1,392.40
Pete Kelly $1,300.00
Jim Sackett $1,262.50
Kelly Merrick $1,250.00
Ivy Spohnholz $1,200.00
Marilyn Stewart $1,195.00
Edie Grunwald $1,160.00
Kevin Meyer $1,150.00
Justin Parish $1,125.00
Don R Etheridge $1,081.80
Bryce Edgmon $1,063.87
David Eastman $1,000.00

National endorsement

Republican candidate Marilyn Stewart made it on the Republican State Leadership Committee’s “18 in ’18 Races to Watch” list. She’s the only Alaska candidate to make the political group’s list thanks, in large part, to her narrow 2016 loss against Democratic Rep. Matt Claman. The list notes that Stewart’s sub-500 vote loss to Claman was the closest of any Republican challenging a sitting Democrat. She’ll be giving it another go this year.

The best fundraising flyer

Has to go to Republican Jerry Nankervis for his flyer advertising a fundraiser from earlier this week.


That’s the number of contributions with a Fairbanks address that Mark Begich reported in his first round of fundraising numbers released last week. Those numbers came together prior to his first major fundraiser in the area, but also just we heard rumor that the big-ticket Democratic donors from the area might have agreed to collectively hitch their horse to the Walker campaign.

Bubble Gum Blowing Contest

Speaking of Fairbanks and Walker, the governor will be up in the Fairbanks area today for the opening of the Tanana Valley State Fair. On his agenda: herding livestock, checking out the cake walk, judging the bubble gum blowing contest and judging the watermelon eating contest.

The complete ranking of “The Good, The Bad and, wait, Who?”

For whatever reason, people seemed pretty into our first-ever crowd-sourced ranking of Alaska legislators. In the week since we published the overview of the rankings, we’ve got plenty of messages from legislators, aides, family and other politicos wondering where certain legislators stacked up in the rankings. So, why not, today we’ll go ahead and publish the full rankings.

As a note, we reached out to political insiders directly and posted a public survey to collect this information. We got about 90 responses with just about a third coming from the political insiders and the rest coming from the public. We averaged the overall scores of both groups to come up with the rankings listed below.

All respondents were asked to rate every legislator’s intelligence, ethics and effectiveness on a score of 1 to 5.

Name Office Party Intelligence Ethics Effectiveness Overall
Rep. Bryce Edgmon 37-Dillingham Dem 3.9 4.1 3.7 3.88
Rep. Ivy Spohnholz 16-Anchorage Dem 4.1 4.0 3.6 3.87
Sen. Berta Gardner I-Anchorage Dem 3.8 4.1 3.1 3.67
Rep. Les Gara 20-Anchorage Dem 4.0 3.8 3.2 3.64
Sen. Tom Begich J-Anchorage Dem 4.0 3.9 2.8 3.55
Rep. Jason Grenn 22-Anchorage Ind 3.5 3.8 3.3 3.54
Sen. Lyman Hoffman S-Bethel Dem-Maj 3.9 2.5 4.2 3.53
Sen. Anna MacKinnon G-Eagle River Rep 3.9 3.0 3.7 3.53
Rep. Matt Claman 21-Anchorage Dem 3.8 3.6 3.1 3.5
Rep. Chuck Kopp 24-Anchorage Rep 3.3 3.6 3.4 3.44
Sen. Bert Stedman R-Sitka Rep 4.0 3.2 3.2 3.44
Sen. John Coghill B-North Pole Rep 3.3 3.5 3.5 3.44
Sen. Gary Stevens P-Kodiak Rep 3.8 3.5 3.0 3.43
Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins 35-Sitka Dem 4.0 3.4 2.8 3.4
Rep. Paul Seaton 31-Homer Rep-Coalition 3.5 3.4 3.2 3.35
Rep. Harriet Drummond 18-Anchorage Dem 3.3 3.7 2.9 3.33
Sen. Click Bishop C-Fairbanks Rep 3.2 3.6 3.2 3.33
Rep. Steve Thompson 2-Fairbanks Rep 3.2 3.4 3.4 3.32
Rep. Andy Josephson 17-Anchorage Dem 3.6 3.5 2.8 3.31
Rep. Scott Kawasaki 1-Fairbanks Dem 3.6 3.3 2.9 3.28
Rep. David Guttenberg 4-Fairbanks Dem 3.2 3.5 3.0 3.25
Sen. Dennis Egan Q-Juneau Dem 3.5 3.4 2.9 3.25
Rep. John Lincoln 40-Kotzebue Dem 3.3 3.4 2.9 3.22
Rep. Dan Ortiz 36-Ketchikan Ind 3.2 3.5 2.9 3.2
Sen. Bill Wielechowski H-Anchorage Dem 3.9 3.2 2.4 3.17
Sen. Cathy Giessel N-Anchorage Rep 3.4 2.7 3.3 3.12
Rep. Mike Chenault 29-Nikiski Rep 3.4 2.5 3.5 3.11
Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky 38-Bethel Dem 3.3 3.1 2.9 3.11
Rep. Gary Knopp 30-Soldotna Rep 3.0 3.3 3.0 3.1
Rep. Jennifer Johnston 28-Anchorage Rep 3.4 3.2 2.6 3.09
Sen. Peter Micciche O-Soldotna Rep 3.2 2.7 3.2 3.05
Rep. Neal Foster 39-Nome Dem 3.1 2.8 3.0 2.97
Rep. Louise Stutes 32-Kodiak Rep-Coalition 2.9 3.0 3.0 2.96
Sen. Natasha von Imhof L-Anchorage Rep 3.2 2.9 2.7 2.96
Sen. Mike Shower E-Wasilla Rep 3.0 3.3 2.4 2.92
Sen. Donny Olson T-Golovin Dem 3.6 2.5 2.7 2.9
Rep. Dave Talerico 6-Healy Rep 2.7 3.2 2.7 2.88
Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux 15-Anchorage Rep-Coalition 3.4 2.0 3.1 2.82
Rep. Geran Tarr 19-Anchorage Dem 3.1 2.6 2.7 2.81
Rep. Adam Wool 5-Fairbanks Dem 3.0 2.5 2.9 2.79
Sen. Pete Kelly A-Fairbanks Rep 2.9 2.0 3.3 2.75
Sen. Kevin Meyer M-Anchorage Rep 2.7 2.4 3.0 2.72
Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard 7-Wasilla Rep 2.7 3.1 2.4 2.7
Rep. Chris Tuck 23-Anchorage Dem 2.6 2.6 2.8 2.67
Sen. Shelley Hughes F-Palmer Rep 2.4 3.0 2.6 2.65
Rep. Cathy Tilton 12-Wasilla Rep 2.6 2.9 2.4 2.61
Rep. Charisse Millett 25-Anchorage Rep 3.0 2.1 2.8 2.6
Rep. Dan Saddler 13-Eagle River Rep 2.8 2.5 2.6 2.6
Rep. Sam Kito 33-Juneau Dem 3.4 2.4 2.0 2.59
Rep. Chris Birch 26-Anchorage Rep 2.8 2.4 2.5 2.58
Rep. Lance Pruitt 27-Anchorage Rep 2.8 2.4 2.4 2.54
Sen. Mia Costello K-Anchorage Rep 2.6 2.6 2.5 2.54
Rep. DeLena Johnson 11-Palmer Rep 2.4 2.7 2.3 2.46
Rep. Tammie Wilson 3-North Pole Rep 2.1 2.5 2.4 2.34
Rep. Mark Neuman 8-Big Lake Rep 2.3 2.4 2.1 2.28
Rep. George Rauscher 9-Palmer Rep 2.1 2.6 2.1 2.27
Rep. Lora Reinbold 14-Eagle River Rep 1.9 2.5 2.0 2.12
Rep. Justin Parish 34-Juneau Dem 2.1 2.2 1.6 1.96
Sen. David Wilson D-Wasilla Rep 1.9 1.6 1.8 1.75
Rep. David Eastman 10-Wasilla Rep 1.9 1.5 1.1 1.5

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1 Comment on "Friday in the Sun (Aug. 3): The Complete Ranking edition"

  1. Wha?
    Whar’s the Vanity and Hubris quotients?

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