Luke Hopkins, former mayor of the North Star Borough and Democrat to the marrow, is challenging John Coghill for his Alaska Senate seat, District B.
Although the ink is barely dry on Hopkins’ ill-advised appointment to the board of the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, he’s off to his next gig.
Gov. Walker spent a lot of political capital to get ol’ Luke the AGDC post, which pays a tidy stipend and is the most powerful appointed panel after, perhaps, the Alaska Supreme Court. And the Legislature wasted several man- and woman-hours vetting him, just to have him bail.
No one in oil and gas ever actually believed Hopkins was quite up for the job, as expressed by Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche during Hopkins’ confirmation hearings:
“At some point, there has to be someone on the board that can call – I’ll try to think of a nice way for the word I would use – but I would say, could just call hogwash on something, when it comes to operational, marketing and direct natural gas and LNG experience.”
It was obvious to all that Hopkins was not that person.
Turns out, Hopkins is just another old Walker crony whose alliance with the failed Alaska Natural Gas Port Authority (ANGPA) doesn’t help his street cred.
The smart money says Hopkins has been convinced by Super Lobbyist Mark Begich to take on Coghill and keep Republican money busy defending Fairbanks.
But there’s a hitch. Per AS 39.25.160, Hopkins can’t run for a partisan seat and serve on the AGDC board at the same time.
The governor knows this…surely he does. Has Walker decided that good ol’ Luke needs a different retirement hobby than AGDC? Or is it just that there is absolutely nothing going on with the gasline, so Luke may as well run for office?
As Alaskans have been told, the Alaska Gasline is in its critical pre-FEED stage; AGDC is a working board for what is the largest project in North American history. “Working board” means time spent working. So which of these horses is Hopkins trying to ride?
The latest word is Halfway Hopkins asking the Alaska attorney general, another crony from the old ANGPA, for an ethics ruling. Attorney General Craig Richards? He’s Bill Walker’s immediate past law partner and who represented ANGPA during its many past disputes and legal battles against the State of Alaska.