Gov. Michael Dunleavy wrote an opinion piece that appeared on Fox News, he was interviewed on the Joe Pags talk radio show, the Lars Larsen show, featured in a long article in Breitbart, a conservative news website, last week.
It’s just the beginning of the counter-offensive operation. Dunleavy has clearly hit the national stage in his fight against being recalled by those who didn’t vote for him in the first place.
Alaskans might expect to see him on Fox and Friends in coming weeks and in a much more visible role in the national media.
He also has a StandTallWithMike.com website set up to begin the fight of his political life.
“The fight is on in the northernmost American state as its newly elected GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy faces an effort pushed by leftist special interests to recall him after he delivered on his promises to reduce the size and scope of government and reignite the state’s economy.
“Dunleavy, an ally of President Donald Trump, faces an effort in his state to recall him because he has cut the state budget significantly and got the economy booming again—a very similar fight to the national impeachment battle that Trump faces.
“Dunleavy, just like Trump, is fighting through it. He has launched a website to rally voters to his side amid the recall push and appeared on Breitbart News Sunday on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel this weekend to make his case for why he believes the leftist special interests are targeting both him and Trump.”
Dunleavy is drawing the parallels between himself and Trump: Democrats, Socialists, and other resisters, rather than accepting the results of an election, are trying to overturn the election and disenfranchise voters through creating chaos with impeachment or recall. It’s a win-win for Leftists either way because it requires the target — whether it’s Trump or Dunleavy — to focus energy and play defense.
The recall effort is starting to influence the governor’s schedule, too. On Saturday night, he had to choose between attending the Alaska Outdoor Council, a group of “friendlies,” (where he has hero status for his support of the Sturgeon vs. Park Service lawsuit) and the HIPOW (Happiness is Paying Our Way) Catholic school fundraiser in Fairbanks, where he could use more political help.
Dunleavy went to HIPOW, and sent his senior policy adviser Brett Huber to stand in for him in Wasilla with the sportsmen.
WEBSITE STANDS UP
The Stand Tall With Mike group registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, although it doesn’t actually have to register at this point. Its treasurer is Bob Griffin, an education advocate who serves on the Alaska Board of Education and who is a senior fellow at the Alaska Policy Forum. No other big names have been announced.
The Stand Tall With Mike group is starting to raise money through the spartan website, with the goal of opposing the signature collection for the recall effort. From the looks of it, the effort is just getting going.
Under law, these recall and no-recall efforts now under way have no actual reporting requirements at this stage. They can raise and spend money as they wish until the recall petition is approved for the ballot, and that will be weeks or months away.
Attorney General Kevin Clarkson has until Nov. 4 — three more weeks. — to decide if the group wanting to recall the governor has a legitimate case.
Regardless of Clarkson’s decision, the case will go to the Alaska Superior Court on appeal from one side or the other. That court will quickly kick the matter up to the State Supreme Court.
But Dunleavy and his supporters are evidently not waiting, and not counting on the Supreme Court to turn down the petition.
And the small-dollar donations that come in from the website are not going to be enough to step up a strong message. Dunleavy will need to secure national dollars — big money — to fight the big money being spent against him.
WHAT ABOUT THE COMM TEAM?
This fight against the recall will likely consume more of the governor’s time, and take away from his policy agenda. As he makes his case on the national stage, groups not attached to the Governor’s Office itself will begin to work on his behalf.
For this reason, it would make sense if Mary Ann Pruitt, Dunleavy’s “communication director on contract,” decides to step away from her contract with the Governor’s Office, and roll back into her primary business at PS Strategies, where she has a contract history with the Republican Governor’s Association.
The RGA has already come out with a statement of support for Dunleavy and will most likely be looking to PS Strategies once again to execute a campaign on in support of the governor in the event of the recall going to the ballot.
Pruitt’s departure, however, would leave the governor without a strategic leader on his communication team. He may have to add this challenge to his growing “to do” list.