Take a break from the horror of the Kavanaugh hearings and wrap yourself in a cozy blanket of dread as we hop into this week’s round up of gossip from the Alaska political world. It’s the latest installment of Friday in the Sun. As always, use your brain.
Oh, there’s Dunleavy
Republican gubernatorial candidate has put together a trend of skipping out on forums and debates, prompting many–including us–to ask: Where’s Dunleavy?
Well, turns out–at least according to polling by love-him-or-hate-him-depending-on-his-results pollster Ivan Moore–that Dunleavy’s been happily hanging out at the top of the polls.
(Ok, that was really a joke someone made on Facebook, but it’s good!)
Moore’s Alaska Survey Research put out results on Thursday that paint a great picture for the Republican’s chances at prevailing in a three-way race against independent Gov. Bill Walker and Democratic candidate Mark Begich.
A three-way race, according to the poll, sees Dunleavy with 44 percent of the vote, Begich with 29 percent and Walker with a lowly 23 percent. Just 4 percent of respondents were undecided.
Like clockwork, the naysayers against Moore appeared to dispute the polling–which also showed a plurality of Alaskans support the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh (though the polling was conducted over the weekend where the sexual assault allegations surfaced)–and question Moore’s credibility as a pollster. At least some things never change.
For the record, FiveThirtyEight–the gold standard for reviewing pollsters and also for botching the polls on the 2016 election–give Moore a C rating and give his results a “simple margin of error” of +/- 9.4 points (Moore reports a MoE of +/- 4.4 percent).
Regardless, one of the most interesting results from the survey was asking people their second choice for governor. Aside from the top line results, this gives us a better picture at how the dynamics of a three-way race are playing out.
With Walker out of the race, Dunleavy would see a 5 percent bump to his results and Begich would get a 17.8-point boost. With Begich out of the race, Dunleavy would see a 10 percent boost to his results and Walker would climb by 18 percent. With Dunleavy out of the race, Begich’s vote would leap up by 16.6 points while Walker’s vote would climb 16.7 points (and the undecided voters would climb 10 percent).
The takeaway here is that the Begich and Walker voters aren’t nearly as perfect of a circle as some have worried. They’re certainly drawing from each other, but they also both have at least some appeal over to the Dunleavy audience.
Keep in mind that Moore also plans to release additional tracker surveys on Oct. 6, Oct. 15, Oct. 24 and Nov. 1.
But, wait, who’s this Dunleavey guy?
This week, the Walker and Mallott campaign launched an APOC complaint against the Republican Governors Association and the independent expenditure group Families for Alaska’s Future (which is almost entirely funded by the Republican Governors Association). The campaign accuses the two groups of failing to meet Alaska’s pretty low bar for financial disclosure, arguing that the RGA has undertaken its own campaigning efforts without registering as an independent expenditure group (and submitting itself to stricter disclosure requirements).
The RGA is operating through the nicely named Families for Alaska’s Future, which as its own independent expenditure group simply has to report the RGA contribution as a single line item.
Setting up an independent expenditure group to essentially mask and rebrand money as an Alaska-based group isn’t anything special, illegal or new. Every big-money group on either side of the aisle does it, but Walker/Mallott are arguing that the RGA failed to meet even that low standard of disclosure requirements.
The purpose of a group like Families for Alaska’s Future at least give the appearance that the national money is at least being spent by Alaskans, but some screenshots that came across our desk don’t particularly help on that front.
Still, it wouldn’t be the first political group to spell a candidate’s name wrong. Paging Byron Mallot and Ivy Sponholz.
Since the Walker and Mallott complaint was filed on Monday, we’ve been wondering when their request for an expedited hearing will be held. It’ll be 9 a.m. on Oct. 2.
That’s the deadline to register to vote in the general election. Just make sure you’re alive.
Local elections will be held in plenty of non-Anchorage communities next week.
The Mat-Su Borough’s ballot also includes an advisory question asking voters if the borough should put together a proposal for the borough to take on its own police powers. The matter would then be later put up to voters at another election.
In the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as we’ve written about plenty before, has female candidates running in every race. We’ve heard a particularly high amount of buzz surrounding Marna Sanford, but also a lot of excitement for Leah Berman Williams and Liz Lyke. If elected, the three women would push the gender balance of the borough assembly the closest it’s ever been to accurately representing the community.
In Fairbanks, if you need to know who or who not to vote for you can always check out the conservative Interior Taxpayers’ Association’s endorsements.
Though fundraising for races up in Fairbanks have been bizarrely anemic, there’s been no damper on fundraising down in Juneau where female candidates are smashing their opponents. Mayoral candidates Saralyn Tabachnick and Beth Weldon have raised $43,000 and $39,000 respectively. In the two contested assembly races, the women are also well out ahead. Carole Triem, who’s running for the areawide seat, has raised $11,321 and Michelle Bonnet Hale is out in front of the five-person pack for the district 2 seat with $14,223 to her campaign. The 24-hour reports filed this week have been similarly impressive across the board.
Surprise of the election cycle
Speaking of endorsements that are useful to both sides of the aisle, the NRA endorsed Mike Dunleavy.
That’s how much more a status quo set of government services will cost this next year, according to a report by the legislative finance team. A big chunk of that, surprise, is because the Legislature intentionally underfunded Medicaid to, uh, prove a point? We’re looking forward to the crocodile tears come next session.
A banner week
Must Read Alaska circulated outside of its conservative circles this week for posting not one, but two crummy–but generally unsurprising–things.
Publisher Suzanne Downing was called out by Walker spokesman Austin Baird for publishing a hit piece alleging that independent Gov. Bill Walker was dancing around with former legislator and pervert Dean Westlake. The only problem was that the man in the pictures only carried a passing resemblance to the disgraced former legislator, but enough of one to run up some political points.
Actually, you can make this stuff up: someone did.
Dean Westlake was not in my video of the dance floor at a potlatch earlier this week in Fairbanks. Seems like a case of “they all look the same.”#NotOK #FactsMatter #DoBetter pic.twitter.com/0l3uVX7Isd
— Austin Baird (@AustinBaird) September 27, 2018
It’s detestable but, hey, after a few days Must Read Alaska came clean about the error.
It wasn’t the same with a scathing post Facebook post penned by Walker chief of staff Scott Kendall, taking issue with Downing’s characterization of the sexual assault allegations facing Kavanaugh as “just a make-out session gone awry” or a “bed-wrestling match.” Here’s the full post by Kendall:
Of course, this was handled with accusations that Kendall was an enemy free speech, the tyrant chief of the thought police and not, you know, someone who’s upset at the Right’s knack of dismissing any and all allegations when it comes to members of their own ranks. But pointing any of that out just feels like yelling into the void at this point. The display by Must Read Alaska isn’t new, as it worked tirelessly to clear the name of Sen. David Wilson and, in doing so, outing the legislative aide who never asked to be involved in the first place in any matter.
It’s another example of grievance politics from the right to be lumped in with Kavanaugh’s teary admission that the only thing he’s ever been guilty of is loving beer and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham’s hysterical apology that a man like Kavanaugh ever be asked to stand for his actions.
Taken together, it’s enough to make even the most precious of liberal snowflakes cringe.
Something a little more lighthearted
Let’s all take a moment from the existential horror and gloomy prospect that none of it–including an FBI investigation that must be “limited in time and scope”–will matter to giggle at a world where U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski talks like she does in this Onion article.
Sullivan on the mend
Alaska’s other less-newsworthy (hey, maybe keep up the suspense next time instead of pledging support to the U.S. Supreme Court nominee days after his announcement) Sen. Dan Sullivan is reportedly doing well after an emergency appendectomy sidelined the Republican on Thursday, which happened just days after a mass arrest of Alaskans protesting the Kavanaugh vote outside his office.
Sullivan tweeted today that he’s catching up on the Thursday hearing and said he supports the delay for the FBI investigation.
On the media
Speaking about the Kavanaugh confirmation process, wouldn’t it be swell if the state’s largest paper hadn’t laid off its D.C. reporter?
Along those same lines, one of Alaska’s top politics and government reporters James Brooks is sidelined for the time being while he’s filling in on page design for the short-handed Juneau Empire.
Just want to let folks who read my stuff that you probably won’t see any stories from me for a while. The @JuneauEmpire has no page designers, and I’m the only person who knows how to design pages in the building, so I’m filling in. #akleg #akgov
— James Brooks (@AK_OK) September 27, 2018
It’s unfortunate giving the timing heading into the local and general elections, but it’s just another look at how many hats many reporters are wearing while bringing you the news. Keep that in mind when you’re looking at their coverage and, as always, consider an online subscription to the Juneau Empire.
A final bill signing
House Minority Leader Charisse Millett is on her way out after a resounding defeat in this year’s primary elections. She saw her final bill passed during her time in the Legislature House Bill 336 signed this week.
#Congratulations @RepMillett! #hb336 became law @SpecialOlymAK. It means a brighter future for many elderly #Alaskans, or those with intellectual and developmental #disabilities under full guardianship. #SpecialOlympics #akleg #alaskanews pic.twitter.com/xDVbs4100w
— AK House Republicans (@AKHouseRepubs) September 27, 2018