By DAN FAGAN
I remember the first time I met Sen. Dan Sullivan. He walked into my studio at KFQD and instantly I knew he was different.
I had high expectations knowing he had served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State under Condoleezza Rice in the George W. Bush administration.
Sullivan traveled the world investigating high-level stuff like where terrorists got their funding. Sullivan was a Harvard graduate and earned a master’s degree from Georgetown University. He was a U.S. Marine.
Sullivan was a living, breathing Jack Ryan, the fictional hero made famous by novelist Tom Clancy.
Sullivan was everything you would expect from such a blue blood. He came to the studio prepared with notes and an assistant taking notes. He treated his interview with me like he was about to do a live hit for the ratings giant Fox News.
That’s how the Dan Sullivan’s of the world roll. Excellence is their game. The way they do one thing is the way they do everything.
After serving as Alaska’s Attorney General, Sullivan went onto to become the state’s commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
He was a good one, always pitching energy and mining companies all across the globe on the benefits of investing in Alaska.
I once invited Sullivan to sit on a panel at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Anchorage focusing on a potential Alaska gas pipeline. The room was packed with hundreds of Alaskans.
We had at least eight panelists, including Bill Walker (now former governor) fielding questions. as I roamed the audience with a microphone, Phil Donahue style. Other big wigs were there.
But Sullivan stole the show with his wisdom and statesmanship. He made Walker look foolish.
Then, in 2014, Sullivan accomplished something rarely done in America. He beat an incumbent U.S. senator. There are few with the political skills and likeability of Mark Begich. But down he went after losing to Sullivan.
That’s what the intentional, ambitious, and self-disciplined do. Whatever they set their mind to.
Alaska is fortunate to have someone the caliber of Sullivan serving in the U.S. Senate.
All those swampy big donors were fools believing dumping more than $35 million of outside cash into Alaska to take out Sullivan would work, especially with such an incompetent opponent like Alan Gross.
Sullivan is now firmly positioned to sit in the senate for as long as he wants, unlike his colleague, Lisa Murkowski whose days in the body are clearly numbered.
The path Sullivan took to get to the Senate could not be more different than Murkowski’s.
Lisa, who failed the bar exam four times, was a liberal state representative pushing for an income tax back when her daddy gave her his U.S. Senate seat, like he was a king and she was a princess.
If Lisa had to run in a crowded primary to fill Frank Murkowski’s Senate seat after he became governor, she wouldn’t have finished in the top five.
The scandalous move also gave Lisa the power of incumbency that’s kept her in the Senate all these swampy years. Once you control federal spending you make friends real fast.
Lisa has always been more than willing to do the bidding of special interests like native corporations, the health care industry and the organization she’s most loyal to, Planned Parenthood.
Lisa got another break after former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, at the last minute, suspiciously dropped out of the Republican primary the last time she ran for her seat. No other credible conservative challenged Lisa in the primary, thinking Mayor Dan was actually running. Mayor Dan would have smoked Murkowski in the primary.
We also wouldn’t have Obamacare, since Lisa was the deciding vote when President Donald Trump fell one vote short of fully repealing it.
Lisa defended her saving of Obamacare by claiming she was worried it would negatively impact abortion spending. Lisa is a staunch supporter of abortion. It seems to be the issue she cares about most.
There have always been people trying to rig the system in Lisa’s favor to make sure she remains a viable and important swamp creature. Her swampy masters knew Lisa’s increasingly hard-left bent would make it close to impossible for her to ever win a Republican primary in Alaska again.
So, they dumped multiple millions into the state and gave us the insanity that is Ballot Measure 2 — ranked choice voting.
It was a shifty and clever move, but it won’t work.
Regardless of what the media tell you, Alaska is still a red state. Even with the tens of millions in outside money for ballot harvesting in the last election in Alaska, Trump still easily beat Biden.
To win a statewide race in Alaska, you have to have conservative support. There’s no politician more loathed by Alaska conservatives than Princess Lisa.
The person most likely to replace Murkowski may very well be current Commissioner of the Department of Administration, Kelly Tshibaka.
Tshibaka is similar to Sullivan. She too is a Harvard grad and has served in high positions in the federal government.
Tshibaka was appointed to the position of Chief Data Officer in the U.S. Post Office of Inspector General in Washington D.C. before moving back to Alaska where she was raised as a child.
Tshibaka, like Sullivan, is extremely bright, articulate, and clearly driven. She’s everywhere on social media right now and even though she hasn’t announced her candidacy, she’s obviously running for something.
Tshibaka is a Christian, but not the kind that only goes to church on Easter and Christmas. She lives it and is a compelling speaker when talking about her faith.
Tshibaka’s authentic faith and her openness about it is why liberal bloggers and Leftists hate her so intensely. They’re always looking to bash her. They may not realize it’s because of her faith that they hate her, but it is.
The other wild card for taking out Lisa is former governor and global celebrity Sarah Palin. Palin’s the only conservative that could outraise swamp creature Murkowski. Palin’s grass roots fundraising in the Lower-48 has become legendary.
But Alaskans have grown weary of Palin’s drama and her ever increasing bizarre behavior. And then there’s the quitting thing. If she only made it two and a half years as governor, what makes us think she could do the full six-year Senate term.
Tshibaka is better positioned than Palin to win the hearts of Alaska conservatives.
What an upgrade for Alaska it would be to have Sullivan and Tshibaka representing the state in the U.S. Senate.
Dan Fagan hosts the number one rated morning drive radio show in Alaska on Newsradio 650 KENI. He splits his time between Anchorage and New Orleans.