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Thursday, October 19, 2017
HomePoliticsBright, shiny objects: Voters went red, Grenn ‘endorsers’ distance themselves

Bright, shiny objects: Voters went red, Grenn ‘endorsers’ distance themselves

PRIMARY VOTERS STICK WITH REPUBLICANS

The idea that Alaska is turning blue — or even purple — was disproved by the primary election. In 32 of the 40 legislative districts, more voters pulled Republican ballots than Democrat ballots. These eight districts were more Democrat-leaning:

District 4, 18, 19, 20, 33, 38,39 and 40.

Most voters who are not aligned with any party — and that’s the majority of Alaska voters — asked to vote he Republican ballot. Any voter can cast the Democrats’ ballot; but not very many ask for that one.

This could be the reason why Democrats are increasingly calling themselves Independents in Alaska, as they run from the ballot that few people choose.

JASON GRENN’S DISHONEST CAMPAIGN START

Jason Grenn / from social media

Jason Grenn / from social media

On Wednesday, one of the governor’s anointed candidates is having a fundraiser, but at least three of the hosts listed on his invitation are mortified — they are emphatic that they did not give him permission to use their names.

Dan Fauske, former head of Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, is one of those who not only doesn’t support Grenn’s candidacy for House District , he never gave permission to be listed as a host of the event. Neither did David Beal or Sue Lovekin.

Grenn is running against Republican Liz Vazquez for House District 22. Vazquez is in her first term representing the South Anchorage district.

Jason Grenn fundraising postcard

Jason Grenn fundraising postcard

Grenn is the Pick.Click.Give. manager for the Alaska Community Foundation, which means his position is supported by the Rasmuson Foundation — and that means the foundation’s president, Diane Kaplan, is backing him.

Pick.Click.Give. was created in 2008 by the Rasmuson Foundation, other nonprofits funded by the Rasmuson Foundation. The Alaska Legislature passed a bill to create the program that allows Alaskans to donate proceeds from their Permanent Fund dividends directly to Alaska nonprofits.

After a three-year pilot project paid for by the Rasmuson Foundation, Pick.Click.Give. became a permanent part of the PFD program, and management of it was turned over to the Rasmuson Foundation-funded Alaska Community Foundation. Under Grenn’s management of Pick.Click.Give, donations through the program have begun to slide for the first time, off by $200,000.

Kaplan is, of course, a donor to Grenn’s campaign. Kaplan also rolled out a political initiative this year to convince lawmakers and the public to essentially back a version of the governor’s fiscal plan, which involved taxes, donating half of your Permanent Fund dividend back to state government, and cutting oil and gas tax credits. The financial ties with the Grenn campaign and the foundation, which so many nonprofits depend on, will be worth watching.

Who else financially supports this so-called independent? Organized labor boss Vince Beltrami, and Governor Bill Walker’s political surrogate Robin Brena, who is donating tens of thousands of dollars to candidates who support Bill Walker’s vision for Alaska. Also in with Grenn is the governor’s daughter, Lindsay Hobson, some Mark Begich types and legislative aides who work for Democrats.

John-Henry Heckendorn, from social media

John-Henry Heckendorn, from social media

Actual co-host of the event is John-Henry Heckendorn, the principal of Ship Creek Group who is also listed in the employment of the Democrats BFF Jim Lottsfedlt Associates, which owns Midnight Sun AK political blog. Hackendorn produced the flyer that had the non-hosts listed.

Grenn should ask for his $4,000 back from Ship Creek.

DIVISION OF ELECTIONS GOES SILENT

The only explanation why the director of the Division of Elections, Josie Behnke, has all of a sudden gone stone silent is that she’s been told by her boss to not talk to the press any longer.

She’s in her office with the door closed and she’s not talking to anyone, as near as we can tell. Neither is Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, her boss, giving any reasonable explanations about why the primary election had so many problems in so many places. His official statements have downplayed the problems that others are calling Third World election fraud.

Here’s the statement Mallott made on Aug. 19:

“The Alaska Division of Elections’ mission is straightforward — to ensure that every qualified voter has a meaningful opportunity to cast a ballot and have their vote counted. I take any suggestions of voting irregularities very seriously and the Division is in the process of reviewing ballots and precinct procedures. Until all the questioned and absentee ballots have been counted, no election result is final or will be certified. We also consider this to be a training issue and one that the Division will address meaningfully and promptly.

“With respect to the Shungnak precinct, the Division is aware of reports that the precinct workers gave voters both Republican and the combined Alaska Democratic Party, Alaska Libertarian Party and Alaskan Independence Party ballot. The Democratic Party allows any qualified voter to vote in their primary so anyone who voted in their primary was legally entitled to do so under party rules. Moreover, a candidate’s name appears on only one ballot, not multiple ballots, so no voter was able to cast more than one vote for any individual candidate.

“Ballots and voter registers are mailed to the Division headquarters in Juneau on the day following the election. Shungnak mailed the ballots and registers on Wednesday and they are currently in the custody of the United States Postal Service.

“On Monday, August 29, the hand count verification process will take place at Centennial Hall in Juneau. That same day, the bipartisan State Review Board will carefully audit election results and materials such as ballots and precinct registers. Certification of the primary election is slated for Friday, September 2.”

Neither Mallott nor Behnke have said when or where the questioned ballots would be counted, but we’re told that the questioned ballots were to be counted yesterday. As of 1 pm on Aug. 23, they have not been announced, which is  six and a half days after the polls closed — much longer than what is considered proper.

At this point, it appears Alaska’s Division of Elections will need another visit from the Department of Justice to review which laws were broken and whether there was a fair and transparent election in Alaska.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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