Friday in the Sun (Sept. 7)

Friday in the Sun is here

Welcome back to our first Friday in the Sun in a while. After a poorly timed vacation and a surprise move (with three drives between Anchorage and Fairbanks), your humble editor is settling into his new digs in Anchorage and getting back up to speed on things.

As always, take everything with a grain of salt and never assume that I already know about something. You can find me via email at [email protected].

Morning meeting

Mark Begich reportedly met with Gov. Bill Walker on Tuesday morning, hours before Begich announced that he would be staying in the race, but no word on what was said at the exchange. Word had been circulating for days that Begich was committed to staying in the race.

Early caucusing

We’ve heard that Sen. Lyman Hoffman is already working on organizing the Senate ahead of the 2019 legislative session in preparation of another Republican-led majority, of which he’ll certainly be holding the reins of power once more. It’s not particularly unusual for the Senate to begin organizing ahead of the elections with the core pillars of the caucus mostly being the sure-fire bets for elections (we’ve heard that’s partly why Sen. John Coghill was left out of leadership discussions in the 2016 because he faced an uncertain race).

With that said, Senate President Pete Kelly facing the toughest election of any majority member in Democratic Rep. Scott Kawasaki. We’ll see where he lands if elected.

Regardless, it also sounds that the soon-to-be-senator Rep. Lora Reinbold might not get an invite. She could have company on the outside if Sens. Mike Shower and Shelley Hughes continue to hold out on promising to vote for the budget.

Stand for Salmon

Mark Begich took perhaps the biggest step to distance himself from Gov. Bill Walker this morning when he announced that he’ll support the Stand for Salmon initiative. That makes him the only gubernatorial candidate to support the initiative—that, if we recall correctly, even his running mate Debra Call doesn’t support.

The move may also perhaps will the industry into action on the governor’s race for this cycle. After spending big on defending Gov. Sean Parnell’s oil tax bill in the 2014 primaries, the industry stepped aside for the general election when companies declined to put any significant cash into backing the Republican governor.

Along those lines, we heard that Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott and Willie Hensley were huddled together at BearTooth. Hensley’s on Pebble Mine’s advisory committee.


One reader alerted us to an interesting video posted to the Mike Dunleavy for Governor YouTube account that’s a cool 28 minutes and 29 seconds of completely silent video from a bunch of Dunleavy’s campaign events. In a world where campaigns are barred from directly coordinating with independent expenditure groups, how are groups supposed to get video for their ads? Candidates have taken to what’s called McConnelling (though it’s now a completely bipartisan practice), which is what Dunleavy appears to be up to with this video.

The video was posted about a week ago and has since been pulled down, but not before your humble editor could grab a copy. Here’s what you missed out on.

(Trust me, don’t play this one in reverse.)

(Most likely to appear in an ad.)

(Least likely sequence to appear in an ad.)

Though the practice is likely to raise some eyebrows, particularly when there’s already suspicions about the coordination between Dunleavy and an independent expenditure campaign bankrolled largely by his brother, but the practice is legal.

“They’re putting it out there because they can, because it’s legal, because it’s what all their competitors are going to be doing, and it’s valuable,” Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics told NPR in 2014 when Jon Stewart first coined the term (in the clip below).

11 votes

That’s the margin of victory for Ben Carpenter in the Republican primary for House District 29 after a recount announced today. The state-funded recount of the recall (because the original 12-vote margin that also favored Carpenter was smaller than the 20-vote margin in law).

Nice to see you

After being a no-show at a handful of debates, Mike Dunleavy did finally make an appearance at this week’s debate hosted by the Juneau Chamber of Commerce.


Sen. Bill Wielechowski won the judge’s award at the Alaska State Fair for his cherry stout. We’ve heard that he’ll have another batch of it at an upcoming Oct. 11 fundraiser for Amber Lee.

54 percent

That’s how many Alaskans oppose the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (after being told a bunch of different court cases that he would rule on (the initial favorability for his confirmation was positive)). It’s a number that will continue to fuel attention and outreach to Alaska’s moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski, but also stands to be a factor in the state race–at least if Begich gets his way.

Falling short

The ballot is set for the general election, and there are plenty of independent candidates who’ll be appearing either after winning the nomination of the Alaska Democratic Party or by collecting signatures.

The one candidate who had hoped to be on the ballot, but fell short is Tanana Chiefs Conference board member and Doyon, Limited vice chair PJ Simon. Simon had hoped to join the race for the downtown Fairbanks House District 1, which is set to be a hotly contested race as Rep. Scott Kawasaki is seeking the Senate.

There was plenty of concern that Simon would play spoiler to Democrat Kathryn Dodge and even more pressure, particularly from Alaska Native leaders for Simon to abandon his bid. A lot of locals will tell you, though, that there’s not a whole lot about Simon that is particularly progressive and his pro-development platform may have been just as much a threat to Republican Bart LeBon.

Regardless, Simon now holds the distinction of the only nominating petition candidate to have submitted signatures but fallen short of the number needed—61 in House District 1—to make an appearance on the general election ballot.

Local races

Thanks to municipal exemptions that don’t require local candidates to report their fundraising figures if they don’t plan to raise or spend more than $5,000 we don’t have a great picture of how October municipal races are coming along, but it appears that women are doing well in multiple races.

In the Fairbanks North Star Borough, where women are running for every available position for the first time we can find in the borough’s history, the three women running for the borough assembly are leading in terms of fundraising. Marna Sanford has raised $3,700 to Sam Tuck’s $3,200; Leah Berman Williams has raised $3,400 to Hank Bartos’ goose egg (candidate Tom Holland has filed an exemption). It’s possible that Lyke, who’s raised about $1,400, could be trailing Jeffrey Rentzel, who’s also filed a municipal exemption, but has debuted those spending 8×4 billboards in the city, but since we’re always fans of solid numbers we’ll give this one to her.

The one race where we can be sure the woman is far out and ahead is in the Juneau areawide assembly race between Carole Triem and Tom Williams. Williams, who’s also filed an exemption, has a maximum cap of $5,000 while Triem has raised an impressive $6,800 and will go in to the final month of the race with $4,260 on-hand.

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1 Comment on "Friday in the Sun (Sept. 7)"

  1. Just to toot the ladies horn a bit more… our money was raised entirely from constituents –

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