Odd Man: ‘Veterans’ group to organize in support of Alaska’s open primaries, ranked choice voting system

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A new group, calling itself Veterans for Political Innovation, is set to launch its Alaska chapter in Eagle River, with an agenda that has raised concerns among the local conservatives in the community.

With a significant population of active military personnel and veterans residing in the area, the group’s choice of location has drawn attention to its potential motives.

The launch meeting is scheduled to take place at Odd Man Brewing Company in Eagle River on Thursday, starting at 4:30 pm. The event is promoted as a happy hour.

A look into the hidden agenda behind Veterans for Political Innovation reveals a connection to a larger cause and Democrat groups. Veterans for Political Innovation acts as a protection racket for the open primaries and ranked choice voting. The group’s main financial backing comes from the Institute for Political Innovation, founded by Katherine Gehl, a far-left businesswoman known for her donations exclusively to Democratic candidates, as documented by OpenSecrets.org.

Among the principals of the Institute for Political Innovation is Scott Kendall, a well-known Alaska lawyer and political activist who serves as a senior advisor to the group. Kendall was instrumental in bringing Alaska’s open primaries and ranked choice voting to the state through his involvement with Alaskans for Better Elections and the successful push to get Ballot Measure 2 approved in 2020.

Surprisingly, the sole representative listed for Veterans for Political Innovation in Alaska is Michael Flint, an LGBTQ activist who identifies as a veteran. He is an employee of the State of Alaska.

Flint, who is the president of “Pride at Work Alaska,” was recently seen lobbying for the passage of an LGBTQ bill in the Capitol in Juneau. Reports indicate that Flint refused to engage with lawmakers who are not gay, raising questions about impartiality and the motives behind his involvement with Veterans for Political Innovation.

Critics argue that that the open primary and ranked choice voting general election system in Alaska guaranteed a Democrat victory in the Alaska U.S. House seat, as it pitted Republicans against each other and left the field open for Rep. Mary Peltola to win.

Leading the staff of Veterans for Political Innovation are notable figures, including Eric Bronner, the chief operating officer, and an heir to the Dr. Bronner soap company. The Bronner Family Foundation is one of the main funders of Veterans for Political Innovation. CEO and co-founder Todd Connor, along with Dan Biga, chief of staff, and Jamison Aweau, director of brand, complete the top leadership team of this group that is a surrogate for the mother ship, Institute for Political Innovation.

The group’s tax filings do not yet appear at the IRS database; the group was formed in 2021, and the IRS is far behind in updating its public-facing database.

Connor and Bronner say they present at the launch event in Eagle River, and most certainly will be coordinating with Alaskans for Better Elections staff while in the state. Alaskans for Better Elections is funded by Outside dark money from far-left groups such as Unite America.

71 COMMENTS

  1. There is no hidden agenda for open primaries and ranked choice voting. It simply takes power from minority conservatives back to the independants who are the majority of voters in Alaska

    • No Frank. RCV lets Democrats decide who the Republican nominee will be. Please take a class in honesty and ethics. You need it, Mr.
      ps. And your comment is dumb.

        • Meaningless stat, and you know it Frank.
          The majority of voters in AK are either independent or non-declared.
          However, independents consistently vote democrat, and the DNC knows it. Same with about 50% of the non-partisans.
          .
          Add to that the fact RCV is easy to manipulate and distort the outcome. I need look no further than Al Gross’ antics last fall. Do you really think he did that because he was a nice guy? How much outside money flowing into Palin’s coffers was from dems? I bet a lot.

      • “RCV lets Democrats decide who the Republican nominee will be.”

        No candidate is being nominated because this system does not nominate candidates. Perhaps the parties need to actually nominate a candidate prior to the first-round election (improperly called a primary). Furthermore, the parties need to decide which candidates are allowed to use the party’s name. or advocate that the state forgo the use of party labels on ballots altogether.

    • Lmao. You mean like how Al Gross dropped out of the 4-way congressional race twice to boost Peltola against a split republican voter base?

      • We can all acknowledge that many Republicans did not rank a Republican second giving the seat to Mary Peltola who is doing a great job and wil be difficult to unseat in 2024 particularly because of the abortion issue. It is against the Alaska Constitution to get between a person and a doctor, many Republicans just don’t get it and want to mix their religeon with government, a losing strategy.

        • U.S. Constitution supersedes any state constitution and it guarantees the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Now this is where we get into dispute. What is life? Whose liberty? Whose pursuit of happiness? I read the other day that even if a baby is miscarried or aborted, that baby’s DNA is mixed in with the mother, who carries it in her own blood for up to 18 years, as far as they have been able to determine. Life is very mysterious that way. At the end of the 4th week of gestation, the heartbeats of the embryo get more regular. The heart development starts at week 3 of gestation. Unborn babies feel pain by 15 weeks gestation at least — possibly earlier. Err on the side of the human life of the baby every time, and you won’t have to live to regret that you murdered an innocent life.

          • Abortion is obviously the murder of a daughter at the early stages of her development. However, until this nation extends citizenship to the unborn daughter, I don’t see how our constitution protects her any more than an unborn daughter in France. It appears our constitution allows a woman to murder her unborn daughter, who is not a citizen, with impunity.

          • The constitution speaks to naturally born citizens, and naturalized citizens. No in-utero citizens.

    • Explain to me why a card carrying Democrat should have any say whatsoever in who represents the Republicans on the general election ballot? (Or the reverse. Or any Party member voting in a primary that is not their party)

      • You must have primaries and general elections mixed up. The Republicans are free to promote one candidate and have had a closed primary for quite some time before 2022, they split the vote in 22 and then did not rank the other Republican and lost the election to a minority Democrat.

        • Re: “…they split the vote in 22 and then did not rank the other Republican and lost the election to a minority Democrat.”

          Isn’t RCV supposed to alleviate or solve that vote-splitting problem? In actual practice, it is an improvement over simple plurality, but perhaps not much of an improvement. After all, Peltola won the special election due to a spoiler scenario. Don’t blame the Republicans for the flawed nature of the voting system.

          • Re: Maureen Suttman: “You want a primary Republicans? Have one. On your own dime.”

            What good does it do for parties to hold any version of a nomination process (wouldn’t really be a primary, but a convention or caucus) if they have no authority to control which candidates use the party’s name and which ones do not. Simple endorsements don’t have much value otherwise. The political parties need to collaborate on a nonpartisan bill to give the parties that authority, which is really an extension of their right to free-association.

          • Brian why are parties giving up in their ability to determine who is in their party?

          • Re: Maureen Suttman: “why are parties giving up in their ability to determine who is in their party?”

            Not sure what you mean by that. They have never really vetted members, and need to do so. They also need to disallow any candidate from using the party name without their permission. They at least had the ability to exercise some control over the party name when there were party primaries, but they have no ability to do that under the present rules and the top-four system.

        • Re: Frank Rast: “You must have primaries and general elections mixed up.”

          That’s because they ARE mixed up. The people who implemented these two-round systems in CA and WA sent America down the wrong path by changing the terminology. They changed the meaning of terms like “primary,” “general election,” “runoff,” “partisan,” and “nonpartisan,” and they did a lot of harm in the process. That first-round or first-stage election is NOT a primary, and it should never have been called a primary. If all voters are thrown together, and all candidates are piled together in a poll or an election round, it obviously fulfills no nominating function or purpose whatever.

          We must identify and separate the two functions of modern day primaries. One is to nominate candidates, and the other is to winnow the field for the general election. We need to revoke that special power and privilege parties have to dictate ballot access without interfering with the nomination process.

      • CBMT, let’s ask why should (taxpayers) fund elections for primaries at all? Primaries are private affairs that should be paid for, and run, by the parties themselves. You are right to say a Democrat should have no say in a Republican primary… but vice versa too. It makes no sense to bar someone from voting in a primary that is staged with public funds. Let all parties select their candidates however they choose–just not at public expense.

        • Taxpayers pay because parties are mandated by state law to use a much more expensive nominating process. The state demands to supervise the nominations of private organizations, so the state must pay. As long as sore loser laws and very prohibitive ballot access barriers are a part of the nomination process (i.e., parties are gatekeepers of ballot access for a public ballot), parties should not be permitted to use a convention or caucus. Otherwise, a very small number of partisan voters dictate the outcome.

        • Now THAT is an interesting idea. Political parties are legally private entities. And if that fact is taken to it’s logical conclusion, a private entity has every right to decide who represents it. Maybe an in house primary within each party so that only one candidate per party appears on the ballot? This could be a good workaround to avoid RCV.

          • A lot of candidates may run third party or unaffiliated, so some alternative voting method may be necessary, although it doesn’t have to be RCV. Approval voting perhaps?

            No state should attempt to fix primaries without some version of voting method reform, or they may regret it. This is what California and Washington have done; they limit voters to only two candidates for a whole campaign season.

            Re: “…a private entity has every right to decide who represents it.”

            I am wondering if a law may need to be passed to prevent Alaska from registering the party affiliation of voters, and also require candidates to get authorization from the party chair to use the party name when they file for an election. If closed party primaries are no longer in use, is there any need for Alaska to register party affiliation of voters?

      • Re: “Explain to me why a card carrying Democrat should have any say whatsoever in who represents the Republicans on the general election ballot?”

        Party nonmembers interfere with the candidate nominations under the old primary/general election system, too. Under that system, parties are poorly defined, their platforms are not adhered to, and members are not properly vetted.

        This new top-four system gives the major two parties the opportunity to have real definition and meaning. The parties need to hold nominations, give endorsements, and allow only those they endorse to use the party’s name when they file, run, and have their name placed on the ballot. For example, Lisa Murkowski may be told that she cannot run as a Republican.

      • ‘https://www.cato.org/commentary/why-conservatives-shouldnt-fear-ranked-choice-voting This was a really good article on how it can benefit us on the conservative side

    • Frank, It was hardly the minority conservatives of Alaska who overwhelmingly voted for Trump in the last two presidential elections!! Anyone capable of reading and understanding the voter Id lists know Alaska is primarily a red state!!

      • I do not forsee any election in the future where Alaska’s three electoral votes will swing an election. Our power is in our Senators. Peltola is very close to what Don Young stood for and represents Alaska much better than Palin, or Begich could have. That is why she won in a Red State that is turning purple

        • Begich was the most preferred candidate in that special election. That election suffered a spoiler scenario. Had Begich been elected as he should have been, he may well have held onto the seat for the two-year term as well. It looks as though Begich is more representative of Alaska than either Palin or Peltola.

        • Peltola is close to what Young stood for?
          .
          There is an old saying out there, Frank. Better to keep your mouth shut and have people assume you are ignorant, than to open it and remove all doubt.
          .
          There is a HUGE difference between what Peltola says, and how she actually votes. Look at actions, not advertising.

        • Because Don Young voted w/ the Democrats all the time, just like Mary.
          Is that your position Frank? Really?
          When did you get here 2 years ago?

  2. As a veteran, I can assure you that there are many uninformed indoctrinated veterans out in the political world. I respect their service but question their thinking and sometimes patriotism.

    • You are free to question anyone you want and express any opinion you have, this is America. In reality most registered voters don’t bother to vote and most politicians are elected by a minority of voters.

      • RCV did exactly what it was designed for to disenfranchised thousands of voters to provide the result the designer’s required. The 2020 election was the least voted election in years for Alaska so how do you justify the result is anything but by designed. At no point in history has a citizen had more than one vote. Answer never it has always been one person one vote not one person and multiple votes. Peltola in this election did not even win the plurality of the votes and therefore is not a representative of Alaskans.

        • “it has always been one person one vote not one person and multiple votes.”

          I don’t care much for RCV, but it does not violate the one person, one vote principal, and we have not always used a single-round system. We have used top-two runoffs in many places around the country for decades. Everyone is allowed to vote in the first round, and everyone is allowed to vote in the runoff. With RCV, each person votes in each round or runoff. Nobody gets more votes than anyone else, unless a person voluntarily decides to drop out.

          • One of the biggest problems with RCV is that it gives candidates multiple shots at winning an election. You could be second or third place in the ‘primary’ and still be able to get on the ballot in the general. I still feel that the traditional primary election is important in that it is intended for individual parties to pick out a representative to run in the general election. The traditional primary has NO impact on any candidate running as independent, only candidates from established parties. But, if we can overthrow RCV, we need to figure out a way of keeping primary voting confined to bonafide party members.

  3. Attention all Veterans in the Fairbanks area:
    .
    Kelly Tshibaka will be in Fairbanks Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week to promote the REPEAL of Rank Choice Voting.
    .
    Kelly T., who would be our US Senator today, but for RCV, will fund raise and help drive the petition
    to put the REPEAL on the ballot.
    .
    RCV is the ONLY thing that sent the traitorous witch Lisa Murkowski back to the US Senate after 20 years. The Murkowskis have been in power for nearly 43 years.
    .
    Thank you, Veterans.

    • Thank you, Patriot. I’m rounding up my buddies at the local Veterans’s Office today so we can sign the petition for Kelly. I hope Joe Miller, another combat vet, will be there too.

    • Good attendance last night, and Kelly T. was on fire. Big rally in Fairbanks tonight at Gene’s Auto. 7:00 pm. Get your Repeal RCV booklet and help us rid of this Left-wing bafoonery.

      • Good to hear that there was a good turn out for Kelly’s event! I hope that a lot of people get the booklets so we can get this nightmare back on the ballot to vote it out!

      • The ‘liberal’ people ……try to follow along.
        Are you against citizens trying to overturn regs & laws by initiative?
        We agree, I am against citizen initiatives also.

  4. First of all, just because you served in the military does not mean you are intelligent or patriotic. There are plenty of leftists/statists in the military now, and there will be in the future.
    .
    However, whenever I see something like “Veterans for _________” and that item is something that the leftists want, I get really suspicious. This is no different. Assuming this is some front group funded by the same people behind “Alaskans for Better Elections.”

  5. It’s been proven time and time again, if you aren’t aligned absolutely to true conservative values, you’re part of the deep state conspiracy funded by dark money to overthrow America. If you think RCV is anything but a scam, you are dismiss able as an operative with an agenda. Hiding behind the mask of veterans does you no good. Conservatives (Americans) see you for what you really are. Real veterans don’t try to overthrow America.

  6. Has anyone verified that Michael Flint actually served in the military? I’d like to know his military history, if any. Sounds like he is being used as the figurehead so they can use the term ‘veteran’ in their title.

    • Jeff,
      But once you know who they are and what their game is……..you can fight them on their turf. Believe me, they really aren’t that smart.

    • RINO,s according to boone and crockett. bigly bears too, i heard. as a “”little white school house” GOP type i think todays folks got too much floride as a kid.

      SAT’s have fallen since 1973, not hard to see the resulting gene pool. no spines, no brains and easily manipulated

  7. As a US Army vet and republican, I fully support this. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. This effort will advance and support efforts for civil discourse.

  8. Sexual deviants and Democrats seem to be operating on the same wavelength. No, not all Democrats are deviant and not all deviants are Democrats but more often than not the connection is right there if you look. Their growing influence is a result of misguided tolerance and acceptance by normal people. These sexual perversions are unnatural and should be thoroughly discouraged. Democrats, at least the leadership, are all unethical, dishonest people who have no moral boundaries, in my opinion. Anything goes with them and they’ll do anything to win. Just natural that those who lack normal morals would flock to the Democratic banner. Why not? They certainly fit in.

    • And whose banner are the youth pastors under?

      ‘https://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/fairbanks-youth-pastor-arrested-on-a-charge-of-child-sex-abuse/article_9ea4bb6c-a442-11ed-8ce9-4fc3d6b6a6d5.html

      • PJ said: “…. and not all deviants are Democrats…. ”
        Please read more carefully.
        BTW: the bible fully acknowledges corruption within the church (churches)
        Jesus talked about it regularly.

  9. also a title is a title. what are these people veterans of? not even necessarily yhe military.

  10. Learn what is being implied, versus what is really true about these rogue “veterans” organizations. Juneau also has a group who call themselves “veterans”. They purposefully don’t explain that the organization is part of the United Nations People for Peace & Justice, and not a Congressionally chartered US Veterans organization (American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Was of the United States, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart etc.) with membership requirements determined by the US Congress, not the United Nations. Please verify every claim you read here! ASSUME nothing! Political activists are crafty!

  11. If Kendall is organizing yet another grassroots outfit this early, it means he is worried about the ballot initiative to repeal Prop 2. Cheers –

    • Sorry, our Legislature refused to support the few who don’t like RCV. That THIS article showed up here now shows who is really worried agimarc. Cheers –

          • Would that be the same legislature that routinely represents itself and the narrow interests of the political ruling class, rather than the interests of the citizens who they ostensibly represent?

            Again, your dishonesty is rampant here.

  12. “Identifies” as a veteran, forming a faux ‘veterans’ group. The left will stop at nothing and will morph into whatever they need to be in order to achieve their goal. The end always justify the means no matter how unscrupulous.

  13. RCV is the brainchild of leftists to keep true conservatives out of office. Murkowski knew she couldn’t win without it and had her ex-staffer/lawyer pushed it through an activist judge in Alaska. It was funded by dark money, and I believe pushed over the threshold of votes through the Dominion Machine algorithms or fake ballots. Alaska will become just like the left coast of the USA if we don’t get control of our elections. We are fighting a systemic corrupt system that is designed to destroy your constitutional rights as an American. We will continue to get leftists politicians like Peltola if we do not correct our corrupt elections. Alaska, like America, are at a crossroads. We must reclaim this nation and get back our “Representative” government, or it will be lost. We are a Republic under a Constitution, the criminal syndicate that currently runs our government is trying to erase our history and Constitution. They have declared war on your rights as an American. They want you quiet and complacent. They want you to pay your taxes and to shut up as they dismantle your country. Don’t let them! Now is the time to stand up and be heard or lose the freedom our forefathers fought and died for.

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