PRIMARY 2020 ANALYSIS
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.