The rise of the fakes: Sanford, Cooper, LaFrance run as nonpartisans, but are they Alaska’s ‘Squad’?



This year’s General Election has more fake nonpartisans running than at any time in Alaska history.

Stealth partisans running for the Legislature this year are emerging out of ostensibly nonpartisan elected seats in local government, but they’re anything but nonpartisan.

In Fairbanks, fake nonpartisan Marna Sanford skipped the Primary and put herself on the ballot as a petition candidate for the General Election. Sanford is part of the far-left wing of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, and before that served on the Planning Commission.

Her campaign contributions come from Democrats like Rep. Grier Hopkins, Sen. Scott Kawasaki, former Sens. Suzanne Little and David Guttenberg, as well as a host of others who align with the Democrats, even if they have an “N” or “U” by their name. Even Jason Grenn, a former representative who ran as a no-party candidate but caucused with Democrats, has chipped in cash. A list of some of her contributors can be found here.

How can voters tell Sanford will caucus with the Democrats? She signed the recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy. This means if she wins Senate Seat B, she’ll be a vote against the conservative agenda.

Sanford is running against trucker Rob Myers, a Republican who came out of the citizenry, not an elected seat, to defeat Sen. John Coghill in the August Primary Election.

Sanford, a savvy candidate, represents the current trend among Democrats to disavow their party to be acceptable to centrist voters, as the Democratic Party gets further and further Left.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of those fake independents, and both Al Gross, running for U.S. Senate, and Alyce Galvin, running for U.S. House, are trying the same trick on Alaskans.

On the Kenai Peninsula, a local officeholder is also making a play for higher office by running as a no-party candidate against a Republican incumbent. Kelly Cooper is trying to unseat Rep. Sarah Vance for the Homer-Anchor Point seat, District 31.

Cooper currently serves on the Kenai Borough, a nonpartisan office. She, too, skipped the Primary and is on the General Election ballot as a petition candidate.

She is supported by Democrats Hal Spence (former writer at the Anchorage Daily News), the National Education Association political account, IBEW political action account, Democrat Rep. Matt Claman, the Alaska Center for the Environment, and she received a nice fat check from former Rep. Paul Seaton. A partial list of her donors is at this link.

Cooper has been a thorn in the side of Republican Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, and as the Assembly president and the leading advocate for the all-mail-in election, which is turning out to be a big avenue for expected voter fraud. She closed the Assembly Chambers and won’t reopen meetings to the public until the Chambers are remodeled with CARES Act funds. She was a supporter of Seaton, who also ran as a nonpartisan on the Democrat ticket during the last election — and lost.

Lately, she has refused to recuse two Assembly members with direct conflicts of interest regarding budgetary votes. In 2019, she spoke at the Homer Women’s March, and praised U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Alaskans on the Peninsula report getting phone calls supporting Alyse Galvin, Al Gross, and Kelly Cooper — all fake independents.

Also running as a fake nonpartisan who rose from the ranks of local politics is Anchorage Assembly member Suzanne LaFrance. Her Assembly aide, Adam Lees, had run in the Primary Election for District 28. Lees was a placeholder. Immediately after the election, he dropped out and LaFrance was put in his place to square off against James Kaufman.

LaFrance is another candidate who signed the Recall Dunleavy petition last year, and her donor base is peppered with Leftist luminaries, such as Assembly members Chris Constant, Meg Zalatel, Austin Quinn-Davidson, and Forrest Dunbar, former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, former Alaska Democratic Party Chair Kay Brown, former Democrat Sen. Johnny Ellis, and Rep. Ivy Spohnholz.

These fake independents would join Ketchikan’s original fake, Rep. Daniel Ortiz, who has always voted with Democrats from Day One.

Voters will be deciding between authentic and fake on Nov. 3. If Sanford, Cooper, and LaFrance go to Juneau to join hard Left Reps. Ivy Spohnholz, Harriet Drummond, and Geran Tarr, Alaskans will be in for quite a ride.


  1. Good article. Thanks for pointing this out. I can’t believe the Kelly Cooper has acted like such a spoiled entitled woman on the Kenai Peninsula Board. Disgusting. She has no place in Alaska

  2. Good article, Suzanne. Who are these women? Left-wing Democrats who want to mask-up as Independents. I’m backing Robert Myers the Republican candidate.

  3. Does Sanford have an Alaska Bar Association number? I looked at the lawyers directory and couldn’t find her listed as a licensed member.

  4. Recently have had the pleasure of finding
    Thanks for an informative and educational look at today’s Alaska news.

  5. I know Suzanne LaFrance. I genuinely wish that this was not the path she took. In January, she told me she wanted to spend more time with her family and that she’d like to not run a third time, and have Amber Lee run instead. Becoming a State legislator is the opposite of this. I think delinquent and greedy elements of the democrats got her to run this round just to gain money for their office and coordinated campaign, because her name does bring in money. She barely got through the spring Assembly race. I also caught the Mudflats lying and saying Adam Lees dropped to go to seminary school. He was already planning on doing that so they published a lie to cover their own butts. Randomly decide to return to school after a primary? Sure, Adam, sure. Suzanne LaFrance, if you’re reading this, your family does need you and the dems are using you. If you thought the Assembly was brutal, Juneau will make it seem like Easy Street. You deserve better and Alaska deserves better than to have you try to pull this trick on behalf of a party that does not care for your health.

  6. This is the kind of political reporting that should be heard more often. Where our elected officials or those trying to be our elected officials stand is important to a well informed voting public.

    • Marna Sanford…..another radical Left-wing Democrat, cloaked as an Independent, fools no one. btw, Suzanne, you mentioned House candidate Grier Hopkins and David Guttenberg as her two top contributors.
      Fact: Grier Hopkins is Guttenberg’s nephew and son of Luke Hopkins who tried to start a civil war in Fairbanks over wood stoves while he was the mayor. Son Grier currently holds his uncle’s old House seat, which is up for re-election. Scott Kendall, the half-wit attorney and corrupt former Chief of Staff of disgraced Governor Bill Walker, is also the prime mover of the Recall Dunleavy campaign. Kendall is married to the sister of Grier Hopkins.
      The Hopkins family are political animals of the Democrat Party. Marna Sanford, a benefactor of radical Democrats up in Fairbanks, and Grier Hopkins, both badly need to be defeated in November.

  7. “Kelly Cooper is trying to unseat Rep. Sarah Vance for the Homer-Anchor Point seat, District 31.”
    Well, I’d vote for Krusty the Clown, or any random off the street over that religious kook. Vance is a vacuous lump wrapped in a pious cloak. And now we have her dad.

  8. One thing that has become glaringly obvious is that these self proclaimed non-partisans and independents sure seem to have lots of money streaming in. Look at Dr Gross, non stop radio advertising, new glamour photos with new designer outdoor clothing (although he’s still using the term “cojones”). I’m sure this squad will be bringing in lots of money for endless advertising and campaigning.

  9. It is great to see more non-partisans running for office in Alaska no matter what their political beliefs entail. There has been a two party monopoly in this country for far too long. Ron Paul just posted today on his Liberty Report that fewer than 7 percent of college freshman relate to being a “conservative”. The country is changing and future leaders must recognize this change.

    • The country isn’t changing, comrade. Oh a few bad apples are trying to change things up. Political beliefs should be what a candidate is all about not whether they’re blue or red. Remember the old song, you got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything. I worry about you being drunk on that SS Kool-Aid most of the time .

      • Your thinking seems to be confused, “Comrade”. It’s patently obvious that Blue and Red reflect a general political orientation, either liberal or conservative. That includes those few “bad apples” you’re referring too. They’ve always been part of the American political landscape.
        It’s a sliding scale, though. So if you think the county hasn’t changed politically, socially, economically, etc., over the years then its back to school for you.

        • Not hardly. Come down to Florida and you’ll see rebel flags hanging from trees with the words come and take it on there. It’s still the same old south. we pretty much erased everything that Obama did to screw up this country except for Obamacare. We can’t get the money back that he gave to Iran.maybe the only difference is the conservatives that I know are all carrying arms and aren’t intimidated by black skin.

    • That would be because they spent 13 years in the leftist indoctrination factories run by the storm trooper wing of the communist, excuse me, Democrat Party, public education and the teachers’ unions. The public schools and the colleges are functional illiterates with unwarranted high-self-esteem programmed to vote for communists.

  10. Truly disgusting that Democrats are willing to publicly shed their identities to win election & then resurrect themselves as full blown liberal Democrats once they are in office. Sociopathic behavior!

  11. It doesn’t matter because we’re tired if the same old trumpers disguised as republicans who care nothing about country and care only about supporting their president who’s completely incompetent and out of touch with the majority of the country and breaks every law and constitution out there.

  12. It’s the same with so called trumpers disguised as republicans. They’re supporting corruption lawlessness and deception over country. They’re also the same crew who voted against full PFDs the past few years.

  13. Lesbians, transexuals, and feminists love to be properly identified as such, EXCEPT when they are running for public office. Then, they rely on voter stupidity.

  14. LOL. Bernie Sanders doesn’t run as an Independent because the Dem Party is going too far left. He runs as an Independent because the Democratic Party is too corrupt and corporate. Same for these candidates.

  15. As always Suzanne, good read. You missed another one here in the Interior – Ryan VanReenan. Hiding behind the FNSB “nonpartisan” assembly races, VanReenan tries to come across as a small government friend of the taxpayer and “worker”, couching his comments in neutral terms and evading direct questions about his party affiliation. His only problem is the endorsements he gathered is all we need to know. Seems to me he’s well schooled by the likes of the Hopkins clan. Right now, he’s small potatoes, but I have no doubt he’s being used as a tool by Hopkins, Wool and the other “big name” Leftists here in the Interior and is most likely being groomed for state office at some point in the future.

  16. Probably shouldn’t annoy our Honorable Ms. LaFrance, District 5 Director on the Alaska Municipal League Board of Directors… (
    Not the Justice League… the Alaska Municipal League who “…Support the development of a broad-based tax to increase state revenue.” (
    …the same Alaska Municipal League who have $675,919,548.18 of taxpayers’ money safely stashed out of taxpayers reach (//
    …the same Alaska Municipal League who’ve budgeted $65,000 to force an online sales tax on productive Alaskans (
    …the same Alaska Municipal League which exists to be “…a nonprofit, nonpartisan, statewide organization with a purpose to strengthen Alaska’s local governments.” (
    That is “strengthen Alaska’s local governments”… Not people, not peoples’ economy, not peoples’ right to life, liberty, and the pusuit of happiness… “local governments”.
    Officials, especially District Directors, who can do this are not fakes and we surely don’t want to make them mad at us by suggesting they should not be taken very seriously.

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