CHRIS BIRCH FOR STATE SENATE — IT’S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG: Rep. Chris Birch raised $102,000 for his House campaign in 2016, and a year later he’s budgeting $200,000 for his 2018 run for the Senate seat now held by Sen. Kevin Meyer of South Anchorage, District M.
Meyer has been mulling a run for lieutenant governor but hasn’t decided, while Birch said it was time to put his stake in the ground for that eventuality. He went ahead and filed, knowing he has a fallback position in running for his House seat, which he won by 30 percent margin in 2016.
Birch said Marc Langland has agreed to reprise his role as campaign chair, regardless of which office Birch eventually picks.
“I’m expecting heavy labor engagement with them trying to hammer out a win. I’m not naive enough to think they aren’t going to dump a ton of money into it,” he said.
Rep. Charisse Millett, District 25, has indicated she’s also interested in running for the Senate seat, should Sen. Meyer make the decision to run for lieutenant governor. She is House Minority Leader, and is a Republican who serves a swing district.
WALKER DIALING FOR DOLLARS: Gov. Bill Walker is personally calling around to captains of industry to get them to cohost a Sept. 5 fundraiser for his candidacy. The event is at the Atwood mansion now owned by Walker’s own cabinet oil chief, John Hendrix, formerly with Apache Corp. Will anyone lend their name to Walker’s campaign at this early stage? Evidently at least one big name said “It’s too early, Bill.”
WALKER FILES FOR GENERAL, THEN FILES FOR PRIMARY: On Aug. 21, Gov. Bill Walker filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission for governor, to run in the 2018 General Election.
The next day, Aug. 22, he filed to run in the 2018 Primary Election, too.
Yet, because he is claiming to be a no-party candidate, there is no primary for Walker. Instead, he just has to collect 3,213 signatures to get on the General Election ballot, as he did in 2014.
Furthering the mystery is that the campaign filing for the General Election lists an Anchorage campaign office on 5th Avenue. But for the Primary Election, Walker lists the Governor’s Mansion in Juneau as his campaign address. Intriguing.
Is he keeping his powder dry in case he needs to run as a Democrat?
More likely it is that because the petition process covers the period prior to the primary, both Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, his Democrat running mate, need to file for the primary and establish an APOC account to fund their first phase, which includes signature gathering, shaking hands, and kissing babies. After the primary, they bloom into a general candidacy.
In the meantime, don’t try going by the Governor’s Mansion to sign the petition. Because that would be awkward.
KENAI CLASSICS HAS ALL THE ‘STAR’ FISH: The place to be tonight is at Bob Penney’s house on the Kenai River. The “politicos of the first order” are there warming up for the Kenai Classic, which starts at 6 am Thursday. This is the event’s 25th anniversary and it trends conservative/conservationist. Seen tonight were Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan, State Senators Kevin Meyer, Peter Micciche, David Wilson, and Senate President Pete Kelly; also Reps. Charisse Millett, Mike Chenault, Gary Knopp, George Rauscher, David Eastman, Jennifer Johnston, Chris Birch, Lance Pruitt, Dan Saddler. Reps. Scott Kawasaki and Andy Josephson were showing the flag for the Democrats. Catherine Stevens showed up and Ben and Elizabeth Stevens are heading to the banquet and auction tomorrow as the organizers honor the lifetime works of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, who co-founded the classic to strengthen and enhance the Kenai River fish ecosystem.
Among the items to be auctioned to support the Stevens Hooked on Fishing Program, which offers angler education and youth events, are original signed portraits of Sen. Ted Stevens and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The portraits were painted by celebrity portrait artist Nicolosi, and the O’Connor portrait is especially valuable since it is the first item she has signed after a 10-year mandatory moratorium that disallowed her from signing items for sale after serving as a Supreme Court Justice.