Daniel Smith: Politicians, like pilots, should check their egos at the door



In the race for Anchorage Assembly Seat 6 scheduled to end this April 4, 2023, there appear to be two Republican candidates now: Rachel Ries and Carmela Warfield.  

Rachel Ries declared her intentions to run last summer. Carmela Warfield has just announced her intentions at the last minute by filing with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.    

The question needs to be asked:  Has Carmela Warfield’s ego clouded her good judgment or is she intentionally trying to ground a preferred conservative Republican candidate?

Politicians and pilots need healthy egos. Strong egos need to be tempered with clear judgment and common sense for best effect in both professions.

Having a healthy ego is not a bad thing. Problems arise when egos interfere with good judgment and limits are exceeded. Pilots understand their responsibility to passengers, family, people on the ground and the logistics necessary to complete each mission. Good pilots know the limits of their skills and the limits of their aircraft. Excellent pilots never exceed these limits. Politicians would be wise to do the same.

To be a politician a healthy ego seems necessary to endure the slings and arrows of daily public life as a candidate. If elected, the ego needs to be strong enough to withstand withering pressure from lobbyists attempting to force their perspectives and agendas on you. Good politicians need to remember they represent the people who elected them to office and not the people trying to buy their vote.  

With Warfield’s late entry it begs the question, why? What does she hope to gain and does she genuinely hope to win or simply be a spoiler.  What is her motive?    

Whatever her motive might be, Carmela Warfield has perhaps let her ego affect her otherwise good judgment by entering the race for Anchorage Assembly seat 6.  Warfield may have exceeded the limits of her aircraft. Her “aircraft type” is the Republican Party. By filing as a Republican candidate for Anchorage Assembly seat 6 at this late date, Warfield is flying the party into instrument flight conditions with VFR pilot skills. The results of this behavior are rarely positive. Splitting the Republican vote will likely result in disaster as she is risking uncontrolled flight into dangerous divided Republican terrain, as well as squashing the desires of the fine people in District 6 like a bug on the windshield. 

Perhaps Warfield does not understand her responsibility to her potential constituents. If conservative values are what Warfield wants in seat 6, she should consider endorsing Rachel Ries who has been a declared Republican candidate since last May. If Warfield wants a continuation of the communist tyranny brought by our Assembly majority, then her late entry is precisely the sabotage needed and Democrat incumbent Suzanne LaFrance will likely win.   

Perhaps Warfield is one who does not possess the ability to learn from history, very recent history. Alaska just elected a Democrat to our only U.S. congressional seat due to division of the Republican vote in November 2022. With Sarah Palin’s last minute entry into the race, Nick Begich was denied a head-to-head competition against the Democrat candidate. The results of Palin’s efforts were contrary to Republican goals of holding that office.          

At least with Palin there was a built-in following. She was a known candidate, for better or worse, with an endorsement from Donald Trump.  It could be argued by some, that she had skills and most certainly had the ego. But Palin forgot her responsibility to her passengers. Those that were onboard Palin Flight 2022 never made it to their destination because of Palin’s unregulated ego and clouded judgment. Now we all suffer the consequences and lasting reality of that predictable disaster, with no Republican holding that office.

Rachel Ries has made her desire to give back to the community known for a long time. Running for Anchorage School District Board member last year, she made her conservative and compassionate values know. Winning District 6 with 63% of the votes in that race, makes her the clear Republican choice. Rachel has won the endorsement of many prominent local Republicans including Mayor Dave Bronson, Assemblywoman Jamie Allard, Assemblyman Kevin Cross, Assemblyman Randy Sulte, State Representative Tom McKay and US Senate Candidate Nick Begich (The good Begich). Rachel is the balance that our current assembly requires.

The late-comer Carmela may have done good works in the community. This does not qualify her to be anything but a destabilizing force in the Republican Party if she chooses to remain as a candidate. To be honest, it is this kind of internal Republican division that contributes to doubt in the conservative mission of the party. Carmela’s late entry is probably a divergence of philosophy between candidates. It is certainly evidence of a disjointed and confused Republican operation.  

The question remains, why is Warfield planning to run for Seat 6? With her husband being the Republican Party’s Finance chair, surely she understands the implications of splitting the Republican vote, and it’s not good. It’s not good for either Republican candidate. It’s not good for the Republican Party. It is certainly not good for the constituents of District 6 who clearly have a strong preference for Rachel Ries and her solid conservative character.      

Rachel Ries proudly served our nation in Afghanistan as a combat MEDEVAC helicopter pilot. If elected, she will no doubt serve Anchorage with equal or greater distinction. Rachel wants to help make Anchorage an even better place to live than it already is.  

Warfield Flight 2023 is parked at the gate but still has time to cancel allowing constituents to board another more capable plane. That alternate flight has a much more qualified pilot named Rachel Ries. 

Ries understands the mission. The late entry candidate does not.

Dan Smith is a lifelong Alaskan and Anchorage resident who writes for Must Read Alaska.

Anchorage Assembly hearing Tuesday: Should Assembly be able to remove the mayor for misuse of a paper clip?


  1. It’s Jason Warfields Ego not Carmela, and he’s using his wife as a pawn. Jason Warfield is dirty money for the Alaska Republican Party and he’s essentially got every candidate bought.

  2. I have made it clear to Rachel Reis and Mike Robbins (associated with the Warfield camp) that we will not donate a penny to any candidate if we are short sighted enough as a party to run two or more…….again.

    Rachel Reis has our endorsement primarily because she stepped aside and let Randy Sulte run last year.

    At this point I don’t care if it is Reis or Warfield, if they cannot come to an agreement on who drops out, flip a dang coin.

    We had a chance with the downtown seat. We have blown every school board race. Bad strategy over and over.

    For once, let’s be concerned less with all the attention a candidate receives during a campaign (ego) and more on the goal, giving our mayor and assembly where we can finally start to move in a positive direction.

    A winning strategy? Run one and done.

    Just a thought. The troops are getting tired.

  3. Don’t like that you’re attacking pilots in this piece. There are many pilots who aren’t full of themselves or liars.

  4. Check that EGO the second one takes their Oath because it’s bigger then the person(s) themselves ! But as we all know it never happens across the board. What better government we would have if our politicians did so. Today there is not a true statesmen out there!

  5. Apples and oranges. The US house election was rank choice, so there really wasn’t a spoiler candidate. If anything the spoilers were the voters who couldn’t bring themselves to rank the red and insure a Republican win. You may have a valid argument that the Assembly race late entry is a spoiler. In situations like that I question the motivation of the spoilers financial backers. Could they be Democrats? Such Machiavellian tactics are favored by Democrats, it’s why they support rank choice voting so strongly.

  6. Hear we go again. Where have we seen this before? Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. There apparently is no republican party anymore, just a bunch of inflated egos seeking to claw their way into the game.

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