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Sunday, December 6, 2020
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Medred: Grossly out of touch

By CRAIG MEDRED

One of the most misguided political campaigns in Alaska state history was drawing to a close today with Dr. Al Gross still holding out hope for a miracle upset of incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan.

A Gross victory remained statistically possible as this was written. He needed only about two-thirds of approximately 83,000 outstanding votes to oust Sullivan if, of course, Sullivan got no more votes.

Realistically, to close a 52,000 vote gap, the remaining votes would have needed to break better than 80/20 in Gross’s favor. Still, he had not conceded, even though the Associated Press early in the day called the election for Sullivan. 

Given the monstrous amount of money Gross and Gross-minded interests spent on the election, the candidate’s reluctance to throw in the towel is probably understandable.

As of mid-October, Gross had reported raising $16.9 million – $7.1 million more than Sullivan – to fuel his campaign. And the campaign-money-tracking website Open Secrets was reporting Outside interest groups spent another $14 million attacking Sullivan and $4 million supporting Gross.

Nearly $35 million is a staggering amount of money to pay for about 100,000 votes. But then there were pre-race indications that Gross, born and reared in the Alaska state capital as the son of an attorney general for a Republican governor, had a solid chance of beating an immigrant Sullivan, the interloper from “Outside” as Alaskans commonly refer to the Lower 48 states.

“Ohio Dan,” as Sullivan’s critics liked to call him, was linked to the state primarily by marriage. His wife, the former Julie Fate, was a young woman from the Central Alaska city of Fairbanks when the couple met at Georgetown University in the nation’s capital in the early 1990s before Sullivan began a career spent largely in government service.

Aside from being a Marine, Sullivan’s Alaska cred isn’t great. He comes from a wealthy family who saw to his prep school education. From there it was on to Harvard, Georgetown and a political appointment as a U.S. Assistant Secretary of State before being tapped as Alaska Attorney General in 2009 when then Gov. Sarah Palin was in the midst of a minor scandal called “Troopergate” and needed a lawyer far removed from Alaska politics; and finally Alaska Commissioner of Natural Resources under former Gov. Sean Parnell.

Clearly the Gross campaign looked at Sullivan’s resume and tried to make the election a contest between a real Alaskan – grizzly bear slayer, commercial fisherman, outdoorsman, big-mountain skier, teenage entrepreneur and independent thinker – and an Outside product of privilege willing to kowtow to the Trump administration.

The pitch was a mistake that underlined how badly out-of-touch with average Alaskans the state’s Democratic party.

Three words

The reality here is that Gross had a realistic chance of unseating Sullivan if he’d stolen an idea from President Donald Trump (God forbid) and listened to the decade’s old advice of political consultant James Carville, the man largely responsible for the election of Democrat Bill Clinton as the nation’s 42nd president in 1992.

“The economy, stupid” – a phrase widely misquoted since as “It’s the economy, stupid” – was Carville’s political advice to Clinton.

Gross should have listened.

Read the rest of this column at CraigMedred.news.

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  • Why are you citing the AP’s calling of the race? The AP has no official standing for calling the winner of any election. Just as with all the in-play Lower 48 states, how about we just ignore the media’s pronouncements and wait for the state to call the winners? Give us the numbers, and we can connect the dots.

    Gross was so out of touch that he actually thought Sullivan’s Republican commitment was a bad thing. When we heard his ads using this as a negative against Sullivan, we laughed and nodded to each other, mentally high-fiving&. Why would we vote for a Republican only to have him side with Democrat policies? Murkowski already does that, and she deserves a swift kick in the pants for it from every Republican voter.

    Then there were the “pro-choice” ads with Gross’s daughters. He apparently taught them from a young age that killing his future grandchildren in utero would be okay—mindless, brainwashed, young women repeating the abortion mantra of choice. Sick.

    • Well said! Amen!

  • Stolen an Idea from President Trump like God, honor and country. Or is using God’s name in vain something you are proud of Mr. Medred?

  • I’ve spoken with Dr. Al Gross on at least two occasions, likely 3 and possibly 4. It’s hard to keep track because I’ve blocked so many political calls this season. He called frequently because I’ve donated what I consider a not insignificant amount of money (although not very significant given the amount of outside money put into this election 😉 ) to politicians of all persuasions based on their specific views on issues relating to me and my company.

    On every occasion, his ONLY topic of conversation was “Medical Care for All”. He never mentioned any other topics relevant to Alaska. I myself brought up several other concerns, but he ALWAYS brought the conversation back to “Medical Care For All”. Sadly, that’s not going to even come close to solving Alaska’s problems.

    I’ve been disgusted with the state of Alaskan Politics for years, we’ve got a liberal Senator who was gifted here position by her father and a nearly 50 year politician who’s truly in need of retirement. Yes both have R’s before or after their names, but neither does our state justice. In case of the first, here wishy washy political stance betrays her alleged religious and political beliefs. Playing both sides against the middle benefits only the player and never the team.

    In the case of our esteemed 50yr politician, I’ve met him a couple times over the years in passing and quite frankly, he’s served honorably and with dedication, but it’s time. He needs to let the greater needs of the State take precedence over his desire to win. I’m hoping he can come to a resolution in the upcoming term and appoint a deserving replacement that isn’t a family member.

    It would be a huge step if his appointee had actually won a contested election prior to their appointment. 😉

    Alaskan for Life…………….Born here and will be buried here………

  • Malibu Al, please go back to your mansion(s).

  • Sorry, but I don’t buy this at all. I agree that Gross ran a poor campaign; well-funded but completely tone-deaf. And I agree that it shows how out of touch Alaska Democrats are with the majority of voters. Alaskans are smart voters. However, they are sensitive to anyone thinking they’re stupid. Alaska Democrats don’t know this (and don’t want to know it) but even non-Native Alaskans have a culture, a strong one as a matter of fact. The bear theme was what Hollywood thinks of Alaska, and it’s really unforgivable to have that be central to any Alaska campaign. Then there is the fact that this is a Red State and Senator Sullivan has been doing a darn good job, not outstanding but free of mistakes. Yes, this was a lot of money, but on the Gross side it was tremendously misspent, stupidly so. What I don’t agree with is the writer’s statement that Gross had a realistic chance had the focus of the campaign been the economy. What Alaskans want from Washington, DC is that the Beltway just leave us the Hell alone. Stop telling us what toilets we cannot buy, what lightbulbs we cannot buy, what engines we cannot have in our crawler tractors, and what over-weight and under-powered outboards we have to buy. We all sincerely wish that the federal Gestapo brown-shirts who stopped John Sturgeon on that Alaska river had drowned on the way home. Now we expect and count on Gross returning to California.

    • Very good comment. I couldn’t get my head around the bear thang, (among others), but Hollywood is an apt description. Probably the most annoying Alaska campaign ever.

    • AMEN !!

  • Would someone please put a cover on the gas-bag doc! He’s been farting-up our state for too many months.

  • One good thing, someones is going to have many millions of dollars LESS! I wonder if they feel it was worth it, LOL!

  • So Al Gross spent nearly $40.00 for every man woman and child in Alaska and still could not pull it off.
    The moment he teamed up with Pelosi and Schumer he lost the election, no matter how much he spent.
    He never was as independent as Begich was and Begich sided with Pelosi and Schumer every time as Al Gross would have.

    Has he conceded yet or is he waiting for more votes to show up? I am sure the Democrat machine is trying to figure out a way to get more ballots to the state. I would not doubt that there could be 100,000 ballots coming from China right now, all for Al.

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