In the final week before the May 11 runoff election, the Forrest Dunbar campaign is ramping up with ads and flyers that paint a picture of an opponent who calls names, rather than offers solutions. Dunbar leads with his 10-point plan to repair Anchorage and his push to keep people masked and vaccinated for their own good.
Bronson also has a 10-point plan: Nine new Assembly members and a mayor. And he did say in a recent debate that Dunbar doesn’t have the sense God gave an anvil, but that descriptive phrase falls short of actual name-calling.
The Bronson campaign is driving the message home that everyone already knows what Dunbar has done while on the Assembly. He’s broken the city, everyone knows it and that, “We’re done with you, Dunbar.”
The ad is playing on cable and on radio stations in Anchorage, with Bernadette Wilson saying, “Forrest Dunbar, you think Anchorage residents are stupid?”
Hard hitting messages are nothing unusual for the final week, but what’s really driving the voters is not the noise over the airwaves, but what is taking place behind the scenes with direct targeting, text messages, and get-out-the-vote efforts. Each side is looking to see who their voters are, which of them has not yet voted, how the candidate talks to those potential voters, and how to motivate them to turn in a ballot.
“It’s a test of the breadth, and depth of the campaign and it’s purely about momentum,” said Art Hackney, campaign consultant to the Bronson campaign. “So many campaigns play all their cards too soon. In the final few days, you are making everything come together.”
The challenge for the Dunbar campaign is his well-known radical leftist history and his record of pushing Critical Race Theory tenets, such as when he said the U.S. Constitution is shot through with race. His ads have attempted to paint him as a conservative in a town that still leans conservative. But there is no visible momentum building on the Dunbar campaign in the final week.
Neither campaign has sprung an “October Surprise,” or in this case a “May Surprise,” some damaging bombshell about an opponent that leaves the targeted person little time to defend against it. Time is running out for bombshells; if lobbed too close to the end of a mail-in election, they could backfire.
Both candidates are now required to register their incoming funds with the Alaska Public Offices Commission every 24 hours. So far, it appears Bronson has the campaign fund-raising advantage, but only one day’s reporting has been logged.