Ballots arrived last weekend in most mailboxes in Alaska. The election to find a temporary replacement for Alaska’s congressional seat has begun in earnest. A collection of observations from the week of campaigns:
Voted already: By Thursday afternoon, the Division of Elections had processed 4,988 ballots. The division hasn’t counted them but has logged them in as received. Over 555,000 ballots were mailed hither and yon.
Tara Sweeney: The candidate for U.S. House said she is pro-life and also libertarian concerning abortion on the Must Read Alaska Show, and then said she is pro-choice on a social media post. We’re confused but we think this means she is really pro-choice:
Josh Revak: In what looked like a cry for help, congressional candidate Revak attacked Santa Claus and called him a “commie” and a fraud. It did not go well with some viewers who said it seemed mean. “Don’t let this commie steal Santa’s valor. Vote freedom, vote Revak,” he said. And that was just the beginning of the sniping.
Chris Constant, running for Congress as a Democrat, decided to publicize the Must Read Alaska story about his new draft ordinance giving him the power to remove the mayor of Anchorage.
On Instagram, he did a little “Is this play about us?” meme. Cheap publicity and going for a certain generation and HBO crowd with a TikTok theme.
Sarah Palin: The former governor was in Bethel Friday as the only non-Native at a campaign forum at the Long House Hotel, sponsored by Bethel Native Corporation. The forum also had Mary Peltola, Emil Notti, and Tara Sweeney as invited guests — all running for Congress. It appears Palin knows she will be in the top four for the Aug. 16 ballot and is now running for that ballot by checking off the “Bethel visit” box now, rather than later. The other three in the forum are battling for fourth place at this point in the campaign.
Palin still running anti-Republican: Palin’s online posts are still largely anti-Republican, a theme she began when she did not receive, by acclamation, the Republican Party’s endorsement last month.
Santa Claus: The North Pole councilman running for Congress for the temporary seat will be on the Must Read Alaska Show podcast on Monday.
John Coghill: The former state senator has hired Cherie Curry and Chuck Kopp’s Winfluence consulting company to help him with his campaign. Look for him on a Must Read Alaska Show very soon.
Mary Peltola: Alyse Galvin, who ran for Congress twice, has endorsed Democrat Peltola, and Galvin’s finance director in the 2020 cycle is Peltola’s campaign manager: Kim Jones, partner at Ship Creek Group.
Chris Constant: A video ad by Chris Constant features him and fellow Democrat Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar wearing masks. Constant’s mask appears to have his name on it and the logo for his congressional campaign, but looks ineffective and the circle around his mouth makes him look like he is screaming.
Nine of 48: A handful of the 48 candidates attended the virtual forum at UAF this week in Fairbanks, sponsored by Associated Students of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Senate. The students invited all 48 candidates. By and large these forums are a waste of time for candidates, but this was on Zoom for most of them. Al Gross went to UAF to appear in person.
Radio spot: Nick Begich released his first radio ad, where he emphasized that he would not be a “quitter,” a thinly veiled reference to Sarah Palin. Listen to it here on Facebook if you don’t have a radio. Palin released a video on Facebook saying she is in this “for the long haul.” Nick released a Facebook video as well.
Nick Begich: #PickNick had a fundraiser at Mels Bakery in Soldotna; 45 people attended, including a Washington Post reporter; spotted were Richard Derkevorkian, Bill Elam, and Wayne Ogle, all on the Kenai Borough Assembly, and Tuckerman Babcock, running for state Senate.
Josh Revak: At the Crystal Saloon on Front Street in Juneau (old Viking Lounge, old Percy’s Cafe), about 10 politicos showed up for a fundraiser for Josh Revak. Most were lobbyists and legislative aides. Spotted: Rep. James Kaufman, likely to replace Revak in the Senate if the chips fall his way.
Andrew Halcro: The vainglorious gadfly used his podcast to attack Nick Begich. But it appears the Anchorage Daily News has dropped Halcro as a content provider as it is no longer hosting his caustic podcast on its front page. He seems to have disappeared, as a result.
Jeff Lowenfels: In addition to doing the UAF forum, he is still writing a column for the Anchorage Daily News. Lowenfels has radio ads galore on all the main stations. The only others with radio ads right now appear to be Nick Begich and Tara Sweeney, through the independent expenditure group, Alaskans for Tara.
Events: The Kenai Republican’s Club booth at the Kenai Sports and Rec Trade Show featured both Nick Begich and Gov. Mike Dunleavy. Spotted at the show was Rep. Ron Gillham, Senate candidate Tuckerman Babcock, gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce, Marilyn Hueper (wife of lieutenant governor candidate Paul Hueper for candidate Chris Kurka), and Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
Nick Begich and Tara Sweeney: The two joined the Alaska Miners Association meeting on Friday morning to discuss their respective campaigns.
Santa Claus: He’s getting those national news stories, and a lot of people on Twitter are saying they are going to vote for him. Tune in Monday to the Must Read Alaska Show, when we’ll ask him if he is really a “commie,” as characterized by one of his competitors.
Endorsements: Mat-Su Valley Districts 25 and 26 Republican committees made several endorsements, including Kelly Tshibaka for Senate, Nick Begich for House, Shelley Hughes for State Senate, and DeLena Johnson and Cathy Tilton for Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy was in Houston, Texas this week for fundraiser and then flew back to be at the Kenai Sports and Rec Trade Show. He has a new campaign headquarters — the old Alaskans for Don Young office on Fairbanks Street near Fireweed Lane.
Check back in a couple of days for another edition of “Notes from the campaign trail.”