Campbell: In politics, your word is your bond



In politics it is said that any publicity is good publicity so long as you are not in an obituary.  

Also in politics, there are two types of obituaries. The first is the obvious time when each of us gets to meet our maker. The second is when a politician commits political suicide and breaks their word, their bond, with their constituency.  

Unfortunately, Eagle River Republican Rep. Kelly Merrick unilaterally terminated her future representing District 14 Eagle River when she broke her bond by going back on her word. She couldn’t get elected dog catcher today, even if we elected dog catchers.

Just 100 days after getting elected to her second term in the Alaska House of Representatives, Merrick betrayed her constituents by being the single vote out of the 40 house seats to turn a numerical Republican majority, into the minority.  

While telling her constituents she “did not join a bi-partisan Democrat controlled House majority,” her words fell on deaf ears, as her actions resulted in a bi-partisan, Democrat controlled majority.  

This can only be explained in one of three ways. Either she knew exactly what she was doing and thought she could hoodwink her constituents into thinking she didn’t do something she did; or worst, she didn’t care about her constituents and used this opportunity to advance her own political future. The third option is that she just didn’t understand what she was doing.  

I know Kelly Merrick, and she is not dumb.  In fact, she is a shrewd devil who understood exactly what she was doing and thinks she can get away with it.  

The track record for Republicans forming bi-partisan Democrat controlled majorities is not good. In 2014, a few Republicans formed the Musk Ox Coalition and sided with Democrats. 

In the 2016 election, Musk Ox members Cathy Munoz and Jim Colver lost their races. In 2018, Musk Ox Republican Paul Seaton lost his primary election to Sarah Vance.  

While no longer called the Musk Ox Coalition, Republicans continued to broker Democrat led coalitions and in the 2020 election, Jennifer Johnston, Chuck, Kopp, and Gabrielle LeDoux all lost their primary races while Gary Knopp unfortunately died in a tragic plane crash.  

The history of Republicans supporting Democrat-led coalitions does not appear too good for political careers.

Why would Merrick break her bond with her constituents by going back on her word?  Eagle River is one of the most conservative districts in Alaska.  She understood that District 14 would erupt, and it did last night by passing a resolution censuring her and committing to never provide any future support. Obviously, she must have no intention of returning to either the House or Senate.    

Maybe Merrick thinks she has a shot at winning the governor’s race in 2022.  That doesn’t make sense. Her husband Joey Merrick is the union boss at Laborers Local 341.  

Coincidently, Vince Beltrami just retired from the AFL-CIO boss position and word has it he is considering a run for governor.  

There is no way Merrick would be allowed to split the union vote against Beltrami, and Republicans certainly aren’t going to elect a Benedict Arnold to the governorship. So I don’t think Merrick has any intention of running for governor.  

But there are two other plausible possibilities. The first is that Merrick may be aiming to run against Senator Murkowski in 2022. With the political suicide cliff-jumping Sen. Lisa Murkowski seems to be taking with Republicans, this might make a lot of sense.  The problem is, Murkowski has a lot of liberal support and unless Merrick switches her long-time pro-life stance, she would have an uphill battle against Murkowski, who has a track record and can turn out liberal Republicans, moderate Democrats, and the rural vote. My bet is Merrick is not running against Murkowski.

Is she targeting Congressman Don Young’s seat? Merrick is more conservative than Alyce Galvin and could curry Democrat favor these next two years as co-chair of House Finance. With union backing and building a strong moderate base, Merrick would certainly be a challenge to Don Young.   

However, there is that pesky Republican primary she would have to face, that’s if she remained a Republican. Ballot Measure 2, which was clearly put forth by its sponsors to bolster Sen. Murkowski’s changes at another Senate term, may help Merrick in her quest for a House seat. But Young has been a stalwart at supporting Alaska, and he has union backing. So, Merrick is most probably praying the Young retires and she gets to take a shoot at an open seat, otherwise this path to victory for her is a dead-end.

My bet is she will run for lieutenant governor, supporting Beltrami, to form a union backed gubernatorial team in 2022. A Beltrami/Merrick team would draw from numerous, traditionally conflicting bases. That should worry Republicans to the max. A Beltrami/Merrick executive branch would be the final nail in the coffin of a death sentence for Alaska.  

Merrick is probably considering the prospects of switching parties by 2022 to gain Democrat support for a lieutenant governor run. For anyone who may even think for a second of supporting her, consider her word. She made a bond with District 14 to never join a Democrat led coalition, so regardless of how she tries to spin it, she lied and was the kingpin that allowed Louise Stutes to become Speaker of the House and form committees controlled by Democrats. 

Let me end on a positive note: I am positive Kelly Merrick will never again be elected to any position in Alaska, ever.

Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor.  He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation.  He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).


    • “Voting” is a sham. Dominion chooses the winners, and even if the majority of representatives are Republican, Bryce Edgmon always magically forms a Democrat coalition . We could elect 40 Republicans and the Democrats would still have control

  1. We can only hope that you speak the truth that she will never again be elected, but with so many low information voters getting their news from Facebook and ADN, anything is possible. I would vote for a tapeworm over her. Unfortunately a lower form of life than a worm will likely be her opponent. Prop 2 must be challenged.

  2. We learned last session and her vote against a pro-life bill that Kelly Merrick is in no way pro-life. Just one more tactic of hers to fool her voters.

  3. True Indeed!!! As a human being, if your word and.or handshake isn’t true and worthy, then what is anything else you offer?
    The correct answer is …. “NOTHING” except, the fact that you lack honor and integrity.

  4. Merrick doesn’t have the chops to take on or even replace Congressman Young, similar to Galvin’s lack of gravitas. Can’t even imagine a Beltrami/Merrick gubernatorial ticket. However, R’s better be studying ranked choice voting and have a strategy for 2022 with the Governor, one U.S. Senate and the Congressional seat all up for grabs.

  5. This was all planned before the legislature gaveled in. Kelly would play along for a few votes for a speaker. When the emergency declaration expired she would have an excuse to switch sides. She will say she had to go with the Dems to get things done.
    Merrick is a dishonest, lying union hack. Just like Vince and her husband. How did she fool all those rich Eagle River conservatives?

  6. She’s been in office for 100 days. In 20 days you can start a recall petition. The recall packet states after 120 days in office. One of the recall recommendations is dereliction of duty, I would say by becoming a Benedict Arnold to your constituents that voted you in the office would be a dereliction of duty.

  7. The minute I learned she was married to a union boss was the minute I didn’t trust her. Not surprised at all. On another note, can someone explain this ranked choice voting to me a little more clearly? If conservatives turn out to vote and they all put Lisa the Lib at the bottom of their ranking, then why can’t we get rid of her? Now, my concern is that liberals tend to be more savvy and dedicated voters than conservatives in Alaska. That being said, don’t we still have greater numbers? And can’t we use the ranked voting to our advantage in some way? For instance, it seems like it would help push 3rd party candidates forward and start to break up the two-party system stranglehold on things. I know that Ds like to run as “independents” to fool people, but frankly, the Republican Party is not doing a much better job of vetting its candidates. I think we are going to have to really start communicating with the candidates face-to-face and one-on-one to learn more about how they see the world. Stop trusting the letter beside their name. But seriously, I am all open to ideas for how we can make this ranked voting work in the favor of conservatives.

    • Funny, several years ago I heard the same thing about Leeza after her renege on honoring the results of the primary that she lost and then further running as a write in, where the judges ruled any scribble as a vote for her. The AKGOP jumped right in to welcome her back with lauds and money to keep her in office the next election. Two years is a long time and it wouldn’t surprise me if Merrick runs again with full GOP support, and wins. Only informed citizens can stop her and there are too few of them.

  8. Unions will love to have someone on our side of the aisle – but count on it, they will vote with the other union folks on anything the unions take a stand on. Including house speaker.
    Mayor Dan has it right above – us Republicans need to strategize for rank choice elections.

  9. Merrick is a “consumable” to be replenished as needed. If she can’t be reloaded, she will be replaced with another consumable exactly like her. The Dem/Rino party has got their act down pat. Rinse and repeat!

  10. I support the recall of Merrick. She’s a union shill and betrayed the people of Eagle River by handing control of the Legislature over to the Democrats. Vince Beltrami is a slimy Union fat cat who should be run out of this state.

  11. Craig, seems that our republicans disagree with your statement. Their word is meaningless as a used car salesman or a ADN journalist. The GOP stands for nothing anymore.

  12. It’s fun to watch the republicans get there panties in a bundle and drive them crazy with these self induced clown acts.
    And we haven’t even started with the Reinbold wack job main act.
    Eagle River is not as Red as they think and we may see the Exit and Far right extremist go the way of the national GOP trumpets , fading into the glacial moraine of politics

    • And another extremist must speak! How about most of us just want good governance free of corruption and self serving narcissistic megalomaniacs? Politicians of both parties are rife with corruption and rarely represent the will or desire of the people who they are elected to represent, mostly serving self interests in the name of reelection. So ER FLYER, keep trying to inflame passions. One day your extremist hatred will return to bite you.

      • Not sure how you gleaned extremist from my post? I’m a registered independent/ undeclared voter for many years, As are most of the folks I spend time with. I’m just observing the show with a sense of wonder.
        I vote for whomever I feel will act in the best interest of our society, locally, nationally, and worldwide. Not for a lockstep-agenda-bending group who has to have full power to impose a perceived proper will on everyone else.
        Be it Democrats or Republicans. If that’s an extreme view on my part I guess you’re right. Maybe I am an extremist. Imagine that ?

        • Perhaps I overread your ‘republicans get there panties in a bundle and drive them crazy with these self induced clown acts.’ I am not a republican and consider them the ineffective stupid party, but I do want good governance and not to have our leadership hijacked by self serving special interests. But today traditional values upon which this nation was founded are labelled ‘far right extremism’ while every perversion of liberty is labelled ‘mainstream’ and I deeply resent that.

    • I think you must live in Downtown Anchorage Eagle River voted for TRUMP by considerable margins. Eagle River sends absolutely BASED assembly members to the otherwise clown-college-like leftist circle-jerk that the remainder of Anchorage sends there.

      Reinbold is only the beginning, just wait till we break away from the municipality and this mail in voting at the city level goes by the wayside. We will make the mat su look like Portland after we break the shackles of the Municipality of Anchorage and start sending true Sons and Daughters of Eagle River to the legislature.

      Start paying some taxes, and you might stop being such a simp for the Municipality.

      • I built a home in the ER valley 21 yrs ago and lived in AK for 40 yrs. paying taxes all along . Again not sure where these ideas you mention are coming from. Alaskans are the most under taxed people that I’m aware of. I’m fairly certain ER taxes would skyrocket under an exit plan , so be careful what you wish for. All these things you say are not progressive but Regressive , things don’t move backwards well..
        BTW education is a positive thing , in reference to You’re college comment

        • And you are free to pay all the taxes that you want to pay. As a good progressive you should double your payments every year. Education is an excellent thing, too bad public schools provide expensive indoctrination instead of education.

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