Panic sets in at Camp Begich: Boss Beltrami melts down over sign caper



It’s down to the wire for campaigns, and every last nerve is frayed in the various races around the state. Election Day is just four days away.

But no nerve seems to be more frayed than the last jangled nerve of AFL-CIO boss Vince Beltrami. It’s been a bruising season.

Beltrami went on KWHL radio for a two-segment interview on Friday, during which he lashed out at candidate Mike Dunleavy, Dunleavy for Alaska, this writer, talk show host Dave Stieren, and Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock in what was an epic rant for the ages. All this was to help Mark Begich become governor.

Listen to the interview here.

What has the AFL-CIO boss so upset? After backing Gov. Bill Walker this summer, he and his union had to quickly switch their allegiance (and remaining campaign money) to supporting Begich for governor, after Walker did a mic drop on the election.

All the business agents had unanimously endorsed Walker, and when Walker walked, they then unanimously endorsed Begich, the Democrat.

It was a scramble, however, after Oct. 19. They already had spent a lot of money on Walker. The October Surprise ended up being on them, instead of on Dunleavy, and this was not going according to plan.

But the one thing Beltrami has is guys with drills and lumber. Earlier this week, Beltrami and his union help erected signs all over Anchorage stating that “Dunleavy Voted Against Our PFD.”

But it’s backfired on him. Anchorage woke up to a cold crisp morning Thursday, and a laugh that stuck with them all day. And on Friday, it got even better.

The talk of Anchorage political circles is the lightning quick response of the Dunleavy for Alaska team, which, within 24 hours, had posted small signs next to Beltrami’s big signs. The small signs were bust-a-gut funny.

Dunleavy for Alaska — not associated with the actual campaign — felt free to post its commentary signs because Beltrami and the AFL-CIO had placed their large signs in the public right-of-way, rather than private property. There was simply no need to ask the property owner permission to post the little meme signs that had an oversized impact.

The first sign, written about earlier on this site, said “Fake News,” with an arrow pointing at the big sign.

Soon, others sign commentary followed, starring “Dwight” from “The Office” sitcom series, and Bill Lundburgh from Office Space:

As if dealing with Dunleavy for Alaska’s taking the digital meme concept into the physical world wasn’t hard enough on Beltrami, the union boss then piled on by commenting on the Must Read Alaska story link on Facebook about the “Fake News” sign caper, sparring with other readers and disparaging the comical capers of the Dunleavy for Alaska team.

Beltrami called the Permanent Fund Dividend “free government money,” and then, well, you’ll just have to read the exchange for yourself…



  1. Vince Pastrami and Ill Walker will be eating cheese sandwiches at Lemon Creek Correctional with buddy Byron while Dunleavy is dining at the Mansion.

  2. Take a long, much deserved vacation Bill. And make sure you leave your grandkids in good hands with your soulmate, Uncle Byron.

  3. In late 1985, Dick Randolph and some close supporters left the Libertarian Party and rejoined the Republican Party. During the 1986 elections, the Libs’ two remaining standard-bearers, Ed Hoch and Andre Marrou, both failed miserably because they spent all their time campaigning against Randolph instead of their actual opponents. Fast forward to two years ago. Every time I read an online post by Vince Beltrami mocking one critic or another (no doubt working people who just so happen to work for a living without paying union dues), I wondered why he wasn’t spending that time focusing on Cathy Giessel. I see little has changed. Just what kind of “powerful position” does he have that he has this kind of time? I’m reminded of the comments Ann Richards made in the 1990s about talk radio callers.

  4. FACT CHECK: Andre Marrou was VP candidate in 1988 and PREZ candidate in 1992 for Libertarians.
    According to Marrou, Dick Randolph was not to be trusted. Randolph had a good showing in 1982 as a Libertarian for AK governor. But he switched parties
    too often. In 1986 he ran again for AK governor but lost in a very distant third place during the Republican primary (beat by both Arliss Sturgelewski and Wally Hickel). In 1988, Randolph took one more stab at politics, but got beat handily in a primary run for AK state Senate. Randolph hasn’t won a race in nearly 40 years. Lesson: regular party switching and blatant opportunism usually ends you at the bottom of the heap.

    • You’re overlooking something (perhaps deliberately?). In 1986, Marrou was an incumbent state representative who lost re-election. He barely acknowledged C. E. Swackhammer, the man who beat him, because he was too busy courting national Libertarians by badmouthing Randolph. The Anchorage Daily News began its profile of Marrou on the eve of the 1986 general election with the following statement: “State Rep. Andre Marrou of Homer, the nation’s only Libertarian lawmaker, is a glib gadfly who wields little power and influence”. He left Alaska in between election day and the expiration of his legislative term. The same folks with Reason magazine who wrote about the Marrou-Randolph conflict in 1986 also wrote about the cloud of personal controversy surrounding his 1992 campaign, the best example being the 2007 book Radicals for Capitalism by Brian Doherty. At that time, the Libertarian National Committee had to work overtime to not only whitewash all of that, but the meltdown of the Alaska Libertarian Party at around the same time. I’m not sure if I should go into any further detail, since I don’t know whether the people involved are still living or whether the statute of limitations has expired on what they did. Those events are why national-level party activists such as Al Anders and Scott Kohlhaas suddenly showed up in Alaska and took over the state party. Anyway, as to your other point, looks to me like party-switcher Gary Johnson had a whole lot better showing running for president than Marrou did.

      • Thanks for that perspective Sean. I chatted with Marrou a few years ago (he now lives in Texas and is in his 80’s), and he told me something similar. He will always carry hatred for Randolph. Apparently, Randolph tried to take a legion of 29,000 votes he received in 1982 during a failed governor’s race and move them all over to the Republican column in 1986.
        Unfortunately, he only kept half of them. The majority of Republicans would not accept Randolph because he was a Libertarian, and the majority of Libertarians wouldn’t take him because they viewed him as a traitor. Marrou left the state and Wally Hickel/Jack Coghill pulled conservative Republicans, Libertarians, and Alaska Independents together to win it all in 1990. Don’t know whatever happened to Randolph, but I imagine if he’s alive he must be close to 90 by now.

        • As for what Marrou told you, I know more about those events than I should reveal publicly. Let’s just say that I agree with a lot of what you said in principle. Reason and the LNC’s newsletter both reported on those events while the 1986 campaign was ongoing, so it’s not exactly any mystery. It should be pointed out that in that Republican primary, Joe Hayes spent nearly twice as much of his own money as Randolph spent total and only received a fraction of the vote Randolph received. No worries, though, as Hayes made back that money in a year or two after becoming a lobbyist.

          Randolph is 82 and is still running the State Farm Insurance agency in Fairbanks he founded in January 1965. I last saw him participating in the 2012 Golden Days Parade and he looked to be in awesome physical condition for someone that age. He did recently lose his second wife Lydia, however. They were married for nearly 40 years and were definitely as closely knit a pair as you’ll find.

  5. Begich For Governor spots are running on several cable channels outside Alaska, and have been for several days.

  6. You had mentioned in this AM newsletter “Where is the ACLU when you need it?”

    The ACLU is just another department in the basement of the Democrat outhouse.

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