Heads and Tails: Campaigns, fundraisers, gaffes, and galas

PETE KELLY RUNNING: The luncheon for the Sen. Pete Kelly campaign in Fairbanks was packed at the John Deere dealership on Monday. In his remarks, Kelly said people had encouraged him to run for governor, and he surmised that Rep. Scott Kawasaki was thinking Kelly would actually do so when Kawasaki filed his letter of intent.

But Kelly told the overflow crowd that he is enthusiastic about the work of the Senate, and is geared up for a robust campaign.

Voters will have a choice between Kawasaki, who voted for an income tax, and Kelly, who led the charge to block the income tax. Good choice of different visions of the future.

KAWASAKI DOOR-HANGER GAFFE: Rep. Scott Kawasaki has a door flyer that he’s hanging on all the doors of his district, featuring him with a soldier in uniform standing behind him in the background. Not quite stolen valor, but close. And not quite a campaign flyer, but leaning that way. This postcard was paid for by the State Treasury. Did the officer give permission? Unlikely.

For sure, Rep. Tammie Wilson didn’t give permission. The look on her face in the adjacent photo is the same look Sen. Lisa Murkowski gives to President Donald Trump.

HEADING TO FAIRBANKS? An evening to remember is on the Must Read Alaska calendar for Aug. 18 — a joint fundraiser for the Republican Women of Fairbanks and the Alaska Republican Party. The event centers around the family histories of several Alaskans whose families helped build the state generations ago. Several potential gubernatorial candidates are among them: John Binkley, Ben Stevens, Bob Gillam, and declared candidate Mike Dunleavy (whose wife is Alaska Native). Also speaking is Libby Dalton Sloane on behalf of the legendary Mike Dalton.

EGAN READY TO QUIT? There’s a civil war brewing in the Democrat camp in Juneau as the aide for Sen. Dennis Egan, Jessie Kiehl, and Rep. Sam Kito are beginning to circle Sen. Egan’s seat. Word is Egan may not run again and also may not even last through next session as a senator, due to health reasons. If he steps down, the local Democrats would offer three names to the governor for his interim replacement. But if the governor doesn’t appoint Kito, what does that say about the sitting Democratic representative? And yet if he does appoint Kito to the Senate, what’s the political price? More on this later.

GLEN THOMPSON MULLS RUN FOR LG: Ketchikan civic leader Glen Thompson is said to be seriously considering a run for lieutenant governor.

He has been working with his close business and political affiliates to lay the groundwork and determine the feasibility of a possible campaign, Must Read Alaska has learned. A letter of intent could come as early as next week. We’ve heard Thompson is talking to a high-profile possible gubernatorial candidate who he’d form a ticket with, and our educated guess is that it’s Loren Leman. (At the 2016 Alaska GOP Convention, the two were seen talking at length.)

Thompson is a four-term, 12-year Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assemblyman who has served on the board of directors for Southeast Conference. He has been the Alaska Republican District 36 vice-chair since 2014, and is the former vice mayor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough.

BEGICH HAS IDEA TO ‘FIX’ OBAMACARE: For the second time in as many months, the Alaska Dispatch News has published an opinion piece from former Sen. Mark Begich, which makes it look like he’s developing his campaign for the governorship. This time it’s on how he’d fix Obamacare. Readers of Must Read Alaska are welcome to provide their own punch line.

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