Al Gross sets up campaign HQ, staffs up in Fairbanks - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, February 25, 2020
HomePoliticsAl Gross sets up campaign HQ, staffs up in Fairbanks

Al Gross sets up campaign HQ, staffs up in Fairbanks

The doctor running for U.S. Senate has decided to make Fairbanks the base for his campaign headquarters. It’s an area of the state where he is least well known and it is home turf for incumbent U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and his wife, Julie Fate-Sullivan, who was born and raised there.

Gross, from Juneau and Petersburg, already has a home in Petersburg and Anchorage, both of which he can use for regional headquarters.

He is beefing up his staff, too. He named Mindy O’Neall, a Fairbanks North Star Borough assembly member, as his campaign’s political coordinator.

That’s not to be mistaken for a campaign manager. Gross’ actual campaign manager David Keith, who has been on campaign payroll since July, is from out of state, but in his last job he developed a reputation for unprofessional conduct at the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

[Read: Progressive Caucus hires first director]

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Keith frequently used crude language and derogatory terms to describe women and gay people.

[Read: Progressive Caucus staffer accused]

“Seven sources, including some former Bryce staffers, told the Journal Sentinel that Keith routinely made inappropriate sexual comments to and about female staffers and volunteers, used crude language and had angry outbursts — at times yelling and throwing things at his subordinates. 

“In one incident last year, sources said Keith screamed at staff and threw a water bottle during a meeting after learning some campaign workers left before 9 p.m., which is the time Bryce campaign staffers were required to stay to make fundraising calls,” the newspaper wrote, adding that he used crude and derogatory words to describe women and gay people, and threatened to punish staff who didn’t obey his orders, sources said. Several recalled him telling them, ‘If you cross me, I’ll destroy your career.'”

Controversial campaign manager for Al Gross onboard with “me too” baggage.

Keith will meet his match in O’Neall, who is an avowed leftist and union organizer for Laborers’ Local 942. O’Neall is a registered Democrat and has enough Laborers behind her to keep Keith, who has been on the payroll since July, in line.

And Keith will also have to contend with the likes of Gross’ senior campaign advisor, former Sen. Johnny Ellis, an aging Democrat who knows where all the bodies are buried in the state. Ellis won’t take kindly to anti-gay slurs.

Gross said last year that his campaign staff would be unionized, but has made no further announcement about the union the three are in.

Gross, running on the issue of universal health care and whatever else pops into his mind, has the support of the Alaska Democratic Party. At the same time, he is trying hard to convince voters that he is independent, yet he will appear on the Democrats’ primary ballot and is funded with national Democrat money. He is opposed to building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and blames Sen. Dan Sullivan for the drop in Alaska’s population over the past three years.

Candidate Gross, and his three staffers — Keith, O’Neall, and Ellis — are also politically opposed to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, as all four signed the recall petition. It appears Keith’s name wasn’t counted, however, because he wasn’t an Alaska voter.

The actual location for the Gross for Senate headquarters hasn’t been announced, but it appears to be shaping up as a lively place to work.

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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.

Latest comments

  • Democrats are such a despicable lot. Fighting among themselves over who is the bigger progressive. Then, they break all of the rules that they devised for us to live by while insisting that the public follow those rules to a strict adherrance. The general public sees through all of this manure. Al Gross is going nowhere, especially with his gang of nitwits and punies.

    • His last name says it all!

  • No matter how many highlights newspapers do on Gross, his party and his liberal ways will be trash. Senator Dan Sullivan brought us together. Fairbanks and Anchorage’s Veteran Community votes over 74 percent for Sen. Sullivan. Obviously it saved our State from crumbling.

    • Boy, you are people are sad criticizing Mr. Gross. Probably you don’t live in Alaska. And resorting to name calling shows you have no ethics or morality. Most Alaskans are fed up with sell out Republicans. Here some facts what they gotten us if you want to read:

      1) Many Alaskans are moving out of the state,
      2)Decreased state budget,
      3) shrinking higher education system, and cutbacks in the ferry system.
      4) Destroying our beautiful Alaska nature
      5) High Drug Problem

      Bye

  • Al and I had a long conversation while I showed him around our town. He’s personable, fairly well spoken, could even be likable but his ideas are socialist in nature.
    Al wants to provide healthcare to everyone based upon their perceived need and he’s willing to force the rest of us to pay for it regardless of our fundamental human right to retain and control our own property and the fruits of our labor.
    Al believes that the government is justified in taking from some to provide for others and that philosophy is a foundational plank in the communist/socialist platform and as anti-American as it gets.
    I sensed that his ideas were based in a sincere desire to help others that was emotional in nature and that this desire would dictate the decisions he would make as a senator rather than a solid understanding of and adherence to the U.S. Constitution, the rule of law and a recognition of our real natural rights.
    Yes, Al is a nice guy who wants to help people but the proper way to express that is through private charity and not by forcing the rest of us to participate in his utopian healthcare dreams through the coercive power of government.

  • He is clearly going to join the Democratic caucus and leave the republicans in the dust. Dan Sullivan is doing a great job and should get reelected! Sullivan2020

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