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The Sunday Minefield – December 10, 2017

Now that the 4th special session has ended, legislators can fundraise again, and, boy, did they get straight to it. This week saw a myriad of political events. Here we go.

Candidate Fundraisers

Senator Click Bishop (R – Fairbanks) held a fundraiser at Associated General Contractors in Anchorage on Monday. There were not a ton of people in attendance, but I got the distinct impression they were all $500 check folks. I didn’t really recognize anyone so I chatted with his wife for a few minutes at the door about Australia, she asked me, “Aren’t you the guy that had to deal with some crazy guy at a bar in Darwin?” Awesome to hear his wife had seen and read my personal blog from Australia.

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Indigo Teas

Anchorage mayoral candidate Rebecca Logan also held a Monday night fundraiser. Hers was at the Petroleum Club. The event was packed, mostly resource industry folks, and former Mayor Dan Sullivan was also spotted. During question time, a lady in the audience went on about how felons are getting free college (I don’t think this is entirely true) and suggested eliminating the program would help the city save money. Another attendee, who stated that he used to be a U.S. Attorney, responded that it’s a limited federal program, not a city one. Next question.

Representative Chuck Kopp’s (R – Anchorage) event was at an Ocean View home on Tuesday night. There were around 30 people there, mostly friends, family and neighbors. Notable politicos in attendance were: Bruce Schulte, Representative Charisse Millett (R – Anchorage), Kopp staffer Erick Cordero Giorgana, and John Skidmore.

Skidmore is the Director of the Department of Law, Criminal Division. His presence was interesting to me as he works for the executive, but Kopp has a law enforcement background, so not altogether surprising. After Kopp completed his remarks, Skidmore came up and spoke for a few minutes. He said that he wanted to make it clear that he was not there in an official capacity and that he is not endorsing Chuck Kopp. He then announced that anyone who says Chuck is weak on crime is wrong; and that Chuck Kopp works with people on both sides of the aisle. Skidmore continued praising the candidate, claiming that Kopp was a big part of why the recent crime bill, Senate Bill 54, was passed. He concluded by again stating that he is not endorsing Kopp. #NotEndorsing

Former Representative and current candidate for the Sand Lake seat she lost last year, Liz Vazquez, held a fundraiser on Wednesday at Gallo’s. It was a small event but as I was walking in some lady was in the process of making a $500 donation, which is always nice. Liz made it extremely clear to me she intends to win the seat back. She currently faces two opponents in the Republican primary.

Aaron Weaver held a Wednesday event at Ding How on Muldoon (yeah it’s still open). Weaver recently quit his job as a KTUU cameraman to challenge Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R – Anchorage) for her East Anchorage house seat. I arrived as the event was ending but more than 20 people were reported to have been there. Notable politicos included: Representative Charisse Millett (R – Anchorage), Representative Lance Pruitt (R – Anchorage), Chris Nelson, Myranda Walso, and Barbara Bachmeier. Weaver says he has never run for office before but was inspired to run because of all the crime he was saw while working in the media.

If you have nothing to do for Christmas, consider Ding How!!!

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Dunleavy for Alaska

Alaska Governor Bill Walker held an event in Palmer on Thursday. I was planning on going but the roads were horrible. See you at the next one Bill. Around 50 people were reported to be there, mostly Palmer folks. The event was not without drama. Two of the co-hosts were recently elected Palmer City Councilwoman Sabrena Combs and former Palmer City Councilwoman Linda Combs, who Sabrena recently defeated. Linda is Sabrena’s husband’s aunt. It looks like Linda is not taking the defeat well. She was reportedly avoiding Sabrena at all costs. That is going to be an awkward Christmas family dinner. #ValleyDrama

Alaska Democratic Party Event

The Alaska Democratic Party held their 8th annual holiday auction on Friday at Viking Hall. As I was checking in, I ran into candidate for congress Dimitri Shein. As we spoke Russian together, someone joked that “this is not the Republican event. No collusion!” Over 200 people attended and I can’t even begin to list all the politicos who were there, so will keep it to just former and elected officials and state officials: Democratic Senators Tom Begich, Berta Gardner, Bill Wielechowski; Democratic Representatives Ivy Spohnholz, Harriett Drummond, Andy Josephson, Geran Tarr, Chris Tuck; Anchorage Assemblymen Pete Petersen and Forrest Dunbar, Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten, Kay Brown, Jonny Ellis, and Steve McAlpine. Sorry if I left anyone out, I’m sure I did. Many wondered why Mayor Ethan Berkowitz was not in attendance.

It was a very high energy event. So much energy, in fact, that the emcee and auctioneers had a hard time controlling the room because people were having too much fun. Someone should have probably dimmed the lights. Overheard at the event was Mary Tesche talking about her affinity for Joe Biden. “You know who was very attractive back in his day? Joe – fuckin – Biden!” She has a point. I think he’s still got it though.

There were 2 very colorful protestors outside the event saying all kinds crazy shit like “Democrats are murderers” and “You’re all going to hell.” The lady was filming everyone walking in. I walked up to her with my phone and she said, “I’m filming you.” So I responded, “I’m filming you!” Guess they had nothing better to do on a Friday night.

Other Happenings

Jeanne Devon will be leaving her role as Press Secretary for the Senate Democrats before the start of the next session. She will be replaced by long-time Chief of Staff to Senator Berta Gardner, Noah Hanson. The book she wrote with Bill Fulton, “The Blood of Patriots: How I Took Down an Anti-Government Militia with Beer, Bounty Hunting, and Badassery” has been optioned by a production studio to be turned into a television series and Jeanne will be a writer and one of the executive producers. Big congrats to her on her new endeavor in Hollywood. Jeanne, if you guys can’t find anyone to play Schaffer Cox and are ok with a slightly larger and balder version, I’m available.

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Stand For AK

Alaska Communications announced several layoffs this week. They also had some employee training this week. Tuesday’s training was, well, active shooter training. Wonder if that was a coincidence… Yikes

Joe Balash was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management. Congrats Joe. Now start leaking dirt to the Landmine!

Renee Limoge Reeve was appointed as Senator Dan Sullivan’s State Director. She starts in mid-January and is coming from her role as Deputy Director of the Alaska Support Industry Alliance. Congrats to her.

Jon Faulkner was confirmed as the new vice-chair of the Alaska Republican Party at last week’s State Central Committee meeting in Anchorage. He must have seen the financials immediately after because he had a heart attack on the drive back to Homer. He checked into Central Peninsula Hospital and was medevaced to Anchorage where he received a stent. He is said to be making a quick recovery. I wish him all the best in his recovery.

I ran into former Governor Sean Parnell at Olive Garden in Anchorage this week. He was looking happy and far less stressed out than when he was governor. He said he is enjoying living out in the Valley with his family and practicing law. I think Sean got out of politics at just the right time.

The Alaska Democratic Party’s reconciliation meetings are continuing across the state. Instead of live streaming on Facebook, they have now moved to a Citirx streaming system which requires viewers to register. Activist blogger and Alaska GOP mouthpiece Suzanne Downing registered using her real name. Smart Suzanne. She was kicked out of the meeting.

This pic was found on a Facebook thread about her being booted. I love the internet.

If you have any political news, stories or gossip (or any old pics of politicians or public officials) please email me at jeff@alaskalandmine.com

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