‘Unite Alaska’ disbands after ugly ad campaign … and shape shifts



A political group that has been attacking Mike Dunleavy, the Republican candidate for governor, has disbanded.

The ironically named Unite Alaska pulled their “Bree’s Law” ads and shut down their web site after the women who were associated with the group pulled out. Their ad buys in the Anchorage radio market expire tomorrow.

Must Read Alaska wrote about the hit job on Dunleavy earlier this week, writing that the group had weaponized the death of the young Anchorage woman, who was killed by an abusive boyfriend.

Bree Moore’s death led to a law supporting the teaching of dating violence prevention in schools. But the political group had callously use her murder to score political points against Dunleavy, even though he had voted in favor of the law.

Thousands of people had seen the ads on television, radio, and in social media.

As for Dunleavy, he is the father of three daughters in the same age range as Bree, when she was murdered. The attack against him was off-putting to parents.

The collapse of Unite Alaska isn’t permanent. It’s being reconstituted with a new and more accurate name: Alaskans Opposing Dunleavy. That group registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission today.

Alaskans Opposing Dunleavy is made up of unsavory elements left over from the former Unite Alaska group:

  • Vince Beltrami
  • Joey Merrick
  • Tim Navarre
  • Joe Thomas
  • Jim Sampson

None of the women business leaders from Native Corporations who were associated with the former Unite Alaska came over to the new group.

Alaskans Opposed to Dunleavy is now a pure union super-PAC, with no private sector representatives. The tactics the group will use will likely be similar to those these men have used in the past, which means the next 12 days will be ugly.

Beltrami is president of AFL-CIO, Merrick is president of Laborers 341, while Jim Sampson and Joe Thomas are semi-retired Fairbanks union bosses.


  1. Well, I’ll be darned. Joey Merrick can Stand for Alaska on Prop 1 though! And he’s married to the faux Republican Kelly Merrick in Eagle River. Or is it really like a James Carville/Mary Matalin love affair? Fun times! I wonder who is going to wake up with the horse head in their bed next? Hmmm. “On the 12th day of the campaign, by true love gave to me………”

  2. If you guys have nothing nice to say – don’t say ANYTHING! STOP, shaming the whole state of Alaska, with your nasty groups! We’re better and bigger, than that! Take it back down to the lower 48!

  3. Vince Beltrami is nothing more than a THUG. Nobody should have to at to work in this state time for the Unions to be dissolved.

  4. You think that you know someone and then you see and hear an add like the Bree’s Law add produced by “Unite Alaska” and see who is involved in the making of this false add. I was born and raised in Fairbanks. I am retired from two unions, but I am a Republican. I have known both Jim Sampson and Joe Thomas for most of my life and I know that they are strong union leaders and very much into Democrat politics. However, I did not think that they could be involved in something so low as this false political add that first came out against Pete Kelly and now against Mike Dunleavy. I am very saddened to learn who is behind this false add. After all the hatred thrown at President Trump and the circus like confirmation process of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, it will be hard to remain friends with people who take part in this craziness. I guess that I will just have to avoid them.

  5. What is not yet known is who is CONTRIBUTING to the new group — we know who has organized it, but not who is funding it it. All of the organizers are union folks, but it will be interesting to see if others – notably Robin Brena and the Native organizations – have left the effort or are still paying the bills.

    I must admit that all the shifting around does not inspire much confidence in either the folks doing the shifting or the folks they are supporting. Sometimes it is hard to maintain power — by any means necessary.

  6. Anyone who listens to or follows Beltrami is foolish as he has the political sense of a deranged goat. However, as head of the AFL-CIO he has tremendous power and hundreds of thousands of dollars to dole out to candidates who, in turn, vote for the contracts with government unions.

    Government unions have no similarities to private sector unions. Those they bargain with have no constraints on what they can agree to because they are funded by tax payers who have no say at the bargaining table. The Supreme court in Janus unlocked the door to ending this idiocy.

    Unions in the private sector are valuable institutions providing trained workers in a variety of occupations. They work with their employers to the benefit of both. Without their recognition of each others’ value, this would not be possible.

    Hopefully, Beltrami will not last much longer as head of the AFL-CIO as the organization will undoubtedly come to realize that he is unqualified to act on its behalf.

    Stay tuned to Must Read (a wonderful source of news and information) and We’ll see how it all turns out.

  7. I just heard a radio ad from the new attackers. It asserts that the top contributor is Unite Alaska for WALKER. Thus, it appears that the Native Corporations and Mr. Brena are still writing the checks, along with the unions. I suppose that some contributions could have been refunded, be we will not know until the seven day reports. Some things do not change.

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