Giessel was her own undoing



What a bloodbath! Even though tens of thousands of absentee ballots have yet to be counted, some incumbents took such a beating Tuesday, 60,000 uncounted ballots can’t save them.

Tuesday’s primary election results proved one thing: Voters aren’t idiots. 

No single candidate showed less respect for voters’ intelligence than Senate President Cathy Giessel. What was she thinking? 

Giessel cut a YouTube video during her last campaign promising to work with Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. But instead she became his chief antagonist.  Did Giessel think so little of voters she thought they wouldn’t notice. 

She also promised to restore the full dividend check and return the money former Gov. Bill Walker took. Instead she became chief among permanent fund raiders. Her efforts would cost each Alaskan close to $6,000? Did she really believe she could pull a fast one over on voters when there was that much money at stake? 

Giessel often sounds like a kindergarten teacher dealing with a four-year-old. But voters are not children. Her choice to underestimate their ability to know when a candidate is lying cost her the Senate presidency. 

If Giessel would have argued circumstances changed since she cut the original YouTube video and that’s why she didn’t fulfill her promise, some voters might have cut her some slack. 

But instead, she cut a new YouTube video during this campaign doubling down on her claim that she fought for a full dividend. Which is of course ridiculous and something only a four-year-old might fall for. 

The thing is, even voters who don’t care as much as others about the dividend probably turned on Giessel. They had to if they value authenticity, transparency, and honesty.

Giessel also doubled down on her deception during an interview on the Mike Porcaro Radio Show. She came across as short-tempered, condescending, and blatantly dishonest. It’s difficult to imagine those still on the fence about voting for Giessel still supporting her after hearing her on the Porcaro Show.  

Giessel also had a tyrant vibe about her. The way she punished the most conservative legislators, for of all things voting their conscience instead of what she wanted, it was not a good look for her. 

When the legislators who were targets of Giessel’s wrath were vocal about her unbending, rigid and retaliatory-like tactics, it was another strike against her. Giessel was already behind in the count. 

What may have hurt Giessel the most is her obvious disdain for Dunleavy. It became clear to most Giessel was a woman scorned when it came to Dunleavy after she co-authored a letter with her Lieutenant, Sen. Natasha von Imhof, to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, questioning the governor’s use of COVID-19 relief funds. 

Bottom line is Giessel was not who she said she was during her previous campaign and voters saw right through her. It’s a cautionary tale for other candidates. Trust your constituents, treat them with respect, and don’t play them for the fool.  

Dan Fagan hosts a radio show weekday mornings on Newsradio 650 KENI. 


  1. This article must be the best news Alaskan’s have received all year. Accurately written, and as if a Beethoven rewrote symphony #5, it’s music to our ears. With all of the negativity spreading throughout our country, I would urge Alaskans to take a look at this date and realize that our grassroot efforts, honest reporting, and educating the uninformed must continue.

    • I think Biden made a big mistake not choosing Tammy Duckworth. I am sure every conservative would of had no choice but to support her. It would be disrespectful to choose a draft dodger who claims “”He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” over her. Or someone who understands what an overrated general is. But Giessel got what she deserved. Good luck to Holland, it is going to be a tough time. Especially if bypass mail goes away.

  2. Great analysis, Dan. What turned me off about Senator Giessel was her condescending, know-it-all attitude and disdain for others. She showed an almost total lack of respect for her constituents. Hopefully, other elected officials, especially legislators, take a good lesson from this and act properly.

    • Same here David. Her and the “Independent” were a matched set. ‘A Study in Arrogance’. I’m glad I no longer have to hear her tell everyone how stupid they are and how she knows what’s best for you and me.

  3. Lesson for Alaskans. Tyrants are beatable. Even the weirdo candidates are doing well against the established swamp dwellers. Who would have thought that, not MRA.

  4. We send people we elect to a remote location inhabited by public sector workers and lobbyists. Not surprising many go squirrelly. Early returns indicate the adults are displeased.

  5. I wish I could say I moved last year into Senate District N and House District 28 just to vote against Giessel and Johnston. Icing on the cake when it so happened we did move there.

  6. To bad we cannot have an election in the Muni next month….the folks are in the mood to take back their Government and the entire assembly would be thrown out along with the Mayor and Anchorage could be well on its way to becoming a place we all wanted to live and work again.

    it is going to be an interesting November Election if people remember and continue to vote to turn this entire State around which is long overdue

    • All might not be lost. There is some talk about 2-3 recall petitions being floated for Assembly members. Signature gathering this fall should put them on the April ballot along with Mayor and part of the school board. Opportunity exists for a major political shakeup here in ANC. Cheers –

  7. Very happy with the local outcome, but beware in November:

    And the democrats say there is no such thing as voter fraud……

    CALIFORNIA Voter ID Information · VoteRiders–voter–id…

    California does not require registered voters to show ID at the polls or when voting by mail, except for some first-time voters. Sometimes poll workers are confused and will ask for ID for voting. Voters may also be confused and believe that they cannot vote without ID. That is why VoteRiders provides updated resources and free assistance to help you with voter ID questions.

    There are 18 states where voters do not need any sort of ID in order to cast a vote. Here is the list: California, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C.

  8. What a great night for Alaska. I’m convinced Cathy doesn’t have the ability to self reflect on what she and Jennifer did these last two years to bring this ground swell of disgust toward them. I think Jennifer does have that ability if she tries and I hope she takes the time. Just like in school, choosing who you are friends with has a huge impact on how you yourself behave and how you are viewed by others. Together they created their own echo chamber and the voters were cast aside. They treated us all like we are children. Cathysplaining came almost weekly to south Anchorage inboxes. Lies? As they say, if you tell them enough even theIr creator believes they are true. I love that both are being trounced 3:1 by two honorable members of the community who only ran to give the people another option. Neither James nor Roger are politicians. They are just what our founders had in mind for our government of the people, for the people and by the people. Bye bye turncoats. Time to restore honor and decency to our legislature.

  9. This is a great day for Dunleavy.

    Mike… the voters have given you what you needed and soon enough the improvements will be cast in stone. We need something from you in return.

    1) Take another swing at making good on your campaign promises

    2) Don’t waffle. Backpeddling (UA, etc.) is not helpful

    3) Reign in the shrimp every chance you get

    • Sage comments, TB.

      I’ll also add for Big Mike:
      4) The best defense is frequently a good offense and the swamp still has some scum in it to clean up. Please go after them with malice aforethought and no punches pulled. Name them publicly and attack them at every opportunity.
      5) Rein in that goofy little shrimp Berkowitz immediately. Anything you can do to override his assumed authority will be much appreciated and welcomed by those who want Anchorage opened back up. Publically neuter, humiliate, and set the clown straight. He could run against you one day and now is the right time to start wrecking him.
      6) We want the entirety of the PFD cash that we’ve been cheated out of. Put that near the front of your to-do list along with a commitment to genuinely right-size the spending. Once the new legislature is seated in January, make them meet immediately in Wasilla or wherever you see fit for a proper special session and have anyone who doesn’t attend arrested.

      • Damned straight! Opt not to participate in Barkowitz’s passive aggressive BS.

        And Ms. Sally… you’ve likely noticed that the abbreviated one is following a published and reasonably well known formula for making losers appear to be winners, no? Clearly a polarizing and negative direction for Alaska but a political game none the less with a now long dead Rule book author.

        Several commenters seem to post knee jerk retorts but I’ve gotten the impression that yours may be more studied and analytical. Would you say that this is the way that a color by numbers application of the Rules was supposed to work out?

        • Oh my gosh. I’m not sure I understand you correctly, TB, but I was actually thinking of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and how the devious tactics it lays out have so thoroughly infiltrated and polluted today’s political landscape when I’d typed the above.

          There’s just no denying that it’s been extremely effective in eroding Western traditions and stability yet there’s also no denying that the right couldn’t and shouldn’t play by the same twisted rules now.

          Y’know, it might be sadistic to wish for but I’d dearly love to see Mr. Dunleavy standing face to face with Berky, looking down on the ugly little dirtbag, and smirking at him with a hint of menace and a potential “ass-beating” – as the youngsters might put – it looming in the air. It’s called for.

          • Alinsky’s Rules are exactly what I meant.

            …and I don’t mean this in a bad way but you’re kind of mean spirited. I’m guessing you can’t be this way all the time and it’s just Mr. Berkowitz that makes you and others particularly cranky. His wife must be a saint. Or perhaps not. If memory serves, she ran someone over years ago, was at fault and was never held accountable for it. That doesn’t sound very saintly.

    • Unfortunately, she’s only just one… I can think of a bunch of state bureaucrats that fit that description far more than Cathy – and I’m celebrating Roger’s win for all of us too – just as the Alaska swamp got to Cathy Giessel, the federal swamp has done to the Alaska swamp. It’s deeper, muckier, stinkier, and more unhealthy for the American and Alaskan ways of life that even we suspect. I’m agreeing with all of you that it was past time for Cathy to go – she let power corrupt her, apparently… too bad, she started well.

  10. The Queen still lectures from the great beyond, even though the guillotine left her with no place to wear her crown about.

  11. Giessel picked Johne Binkley to the Redistricting Board, but Binkley got the last laugh by supporting Roger Holland. Binkley for US Senate in 2022!

  12. What a great demonstration of the corrupting force of Juneau on anyone (everyone?). And yet another example of why the capital needs to be moved out of Juneau into the Railbelt. The nasty, vindictive treatment of conservative state senators during the last couple years didn’t help any either. Cheers –

  13. Giessel can now report to her new job at the Pioneer Home, and nurse her aging mother. I hope her siblings get to stop by for a reconciliation visit and have some of that pie.

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