Just go away - Must Read Alaska
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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Just go away



Pundits and political observers will begin dissecting the howzits and whatzits of the Alan Gross campaign debacle in a bid to explain the incredible hammering the bear killer took, at least in early vote counting.

For a guy whose campaign probably spent $20 million or so – when you add Outside groups such as the Lincoln Project that poured money into the effort to unseat Sen. Dan Sullivan – you have to wonder:

What in the world went wrong?

In the early going, with more than 120,000 ballot left to count, Gross was trailing 32.09 percent to 62.22 percent, or 61,362 to Sullivan’s 118,978. In a state that normally sees Democrats, and Gross is a Democrat, garner about 40 percent of the vote, give or take, that is a real shellacking.

What caused that? Was it his iffy bear tale? (And whatever did happen to the bruin’s claws?) His lousy song about the iffy bear tale? The mansion in California? The commercial fisherman, doctor, rich guy thing? The Pebble tapes thing? His videotaped declaration of love for all things Democrat? Was it that nobody had ever heard of him before? We have our own theory.

By election day, many Alaskans simply were sick of him, weary of mailboxes packed full of placards, sick of his nonstop radio, television and social media ads. Pick up your telephone and there he was. Go on the internet, there he was. Try to get a quiet moment to yourself, the telephone would ring, and there was somebody who could barely speak English wondering if you would vote for him.

We never have seen or endured a political onslaught like that and there is a limit to what people are willing to tolerate. He spent millions pushing the boundaries of obnoxiousness.

At some point, the screw-you response kicks in. We know folks who had never heard of Gross and had nothing against him, but who, by the time the election rolled around, were sticking pins in voodoo doll likenesses and researching ways to put a pox on him.

Pundits and researchers likely will find myriad reasons he showed so poorly in the opening election counts, but we think he and his simply overdid it. He was like the loud drunk at the party who refuses to sit down and give everybody a break.

We do not know the man and he may be a good guy, but if we never see or hear from him again, it will be a day too soon.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • The nice young man that came to my door to ask if I was planning to vote and if so would it be for Al Gross first displayed his large badge as he explained he was being paid $20.00 dollars and hour to ask and so far had gotten a strong yes from folks that they were planning to vote or had already voted and none had voted for Al Gross but he said as long as the good doctor had money to spend he was going to keep asking and then he walked on…

  • I can only speak for myself, but for however much or however little it’s worth, here’s my take:

    I didn’t like the ads, but that’s not why I didn’t vote for him. I didn’t like the phone calls, but that’s not why I didn’t vote for him. I thought the whole bear story was sophomoric, but that’s not why I didn’t vote for him.

    Ultimately, two things mattered to me: character and politics. Dr. Gross launched a number of very personal attacks on Sen. Sullivan, from saying he “lacked the cojones” to do the job, to calling him a lapdog, to calling him corrupt, to claiming Sen. Sullivan isn’t a “real Alaskan” because he didn’t move to AK until the late 90’s. Meanwhile, Dr. Gross is funded by Outside interests, has a $3 million mansion in California, and tried to lie to Alaska about his party affiliation. That’s no bueno.

    Next, Dr. Gross aligned himself, albeit covertly, with the Democratic party. I don’t believe in the Democratic party’s platform. I’m opposed to abortion, I’m opposed to gun control, I’m opposed to big government, high taxes and the socialist model of government. While I may not always agree with Sen. Sullivan’s policy decisions, I do believe his ideals align more closely with mine than Dr. Gross’. And that is why I cast my vote for Sen. Sullivan.

  • Election day couldn’t get here fast enough, I got so sick and tired of hearing his ad’s i’d change the tv or radio station. I wouldn’t even bother reading his stupid flyers he’d send out every single day, it got to a point that I started saving it for fire starter, hopefully it won’t spontaneously combust before I am ready to light it.

  • That’s $320 per vote.

    The persistence of pushing ads back to back was annoying as Hell.

  • Amen sister amen. Towards the end of this election cycle I was ready to put bullet through my TV just to get him to shut up.
    SE AK

  • It’s always refreshing when a Malibu liberal who doesn’t live here, has more money than he’ll ever spend, comes back to Alaska to try and ruin our lives.

    Yes, please go Away Al. You made enough money here. You are set. Please leave us be. Go back to Malibu, live well, enjoy your life, but leave us alone.

    • and leave our Bears alone pinhead

  • “He was like the loud drunk at the party who refuses to sit down and give everybody a break.” That sums it up.
    Maybe he will run for US House next time, that would be a great primary…who would play the part of the Democrat the bear doctor or the Lady who can’t hold a job? Since neither wants to claim what they are, I suppose they would both run as independents financed by Democrats and want to be put on the ballot as “not-Democrat for sure like, Please Vote For Me Party”

    Can Congressman Young please find a suitable replacement during this cycle, seems like Alyse is going to try and get in on name recognition alone at some point down the road.

  • You intimate that it excess messaging was a reason for the defeat of Doctor Al. But it appears that the conservative (or conservative-appearing) tilt of voters was as much the reason. I suspect that Gross backers are looking long and hard at their miss. Are there any independent analysts who have chimed in on the nature of his defeat?

  • Great commentary! Very well written and funny! And yes, I too got a phone call from an English challenged speaker, she admitted that she was calling from Texas. It was a “push poll” for Alan “cajones” Gross. How organic and Independent Alaskan is that? I think Al got his marching orders from Chuck Schumer , was ill equipped for a Statewide Campaign and lost any sincere appeal to the voters in Alaska.
    If Al had good intentions, and I am certain he did they were muted by the nasty obnoxious message his handlers brought forth.
    I am pretty sure Al isn’t a bad guy, I have family that know him., but couldn’t vote for his platform. His father was a good fella too. It’s a pity that Al didn’t groom his credentials better before seeking such a high office. I wish him well in the future!

  • While Gross grew up here in Juneau and was popular here, I could not understand how anyone expected Alaskans to vote for gun control and the GND.

    However, with oil in the $37 to $39 range, an uncertain prospect for the 2021 cruise ship season, and the bill for all this federal largess sure to soon come due, I hope Gross spends the money for a recount. We need back some of the dollars he made here in medicine and took to California, and a recount would help.

    Since government pays for perhaps 90 percent of all health care in AK it’s only fair to get some of it back now. Many commodity prices are high; lumber – but we no longer produce any that, copper – but the large Alaska prospects have become much more tentative with the presidential election result, gold – yes we produce some of that but not nearly enough (and the election season seems to have entirely killed that huge state land gold prospect, soon to be no longer named), etc. etc.

  • Politically ambitious people may see Alaska, being a sparsely populated state, as an easy place to start their political career, get a foothold, then move on to higher office elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that Berkowitz had leanings in that direction before his shameful fall from grace. Gross came on the political scene hard and fast, bombarding us with ads, (who is this guy?!!) using bully tactics and grandiose desciptions of his own glory. Who thinks killing a young bear is manly and a requisite for political office? And phoney ads showing politicians walking the dock in the ubiquitous manly flannel shirt are laughable and overdone. I grew up commercial fishing. I know a real man when I see one. His ego and disregard for our intelligence was his downfall.

  • It is fun to offer opinions about the Bear Doctor but we do need to wait until the votes are counted. I expect the margin of victory for Sullivan to narrow, maybe even a lot. I do that that Sullivan will prevail.

    A greater problem is that we really had two elections: One for Republicans with one set of rules and infrastructure and another for Democrats with a different infrastructure and rules. That is absolute nonsense and must be fixed ASAP. The time period for casting, collecting and counting ballots must also be compressed. And ballot harvesting in any Alaska election should be a criminal offense.

  • Having lived in J-town since 1981, and having kids about the same age as “Dr. Al”, I’ve known all along he is a pompous a..; unfriendly while sitting in the JD bleachers watching his kid, and overall, a complete jerk. Quick with the “better than you” vibe.

    Never liked him, did not spend money in his office and sure as heck would NEVER vote for him to be anything.

  • He may have lost the election………but he did kill himself a bar when he was only 3!!!!!

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