Senator Cathy Giessel and I don’t get along. Not because I have a particular issue with her. I actually think she is one of the hardest working legislators in Juneau. She just happens to be an extremely rude person with a horrible attitude towards most people. In fact, I don’t know many people that like her at all. She rarely speaks with me, let alone even acknowledges my presence. How she keeps getting re-elected is a real enigma. But there was this one time that she needed my help. And it is everything you are hoping it is. The story takes us back to 2012.
I ran for the state senate in 2012 against Lesil McGuire in the Republican primary. It was my first time running for office. Lesil beat me but I got 44% of the vote, which surprised a lot of people. I had very little money and Lesil was a powerful incumbent. Back then I was surrounded by a lot of very conservative people. My political views have changed a lot since then but at the time I was supported by some very conservative folks who wanted Lesil out. Even though I lost the election I knew I wanted to stay involved in politics. I was hooked.
Though the primary was over, there was still a general election in November. I decided to go to a HALO (Hillside Area Landowners Association) candidate forum to check out the action. It was a cold October evening as I walked into O’Malley’s on the Green, ready to watch the candidates answer questions.
I walked in and immediately saw Andy Holleman watching the forum. I had met Andy during my campaign and had gotten to know him. Many of my conservative friends described him as a “union thug” but if you know Andy that is about the last thing he is. He is definitely a union guy but not a thug in any way. I liked him from the first time we met. I went over to say hello.
As we were chatting, a younger guy, about my age (I was 27 at the time) approached Andy and I, handed me a piece of paper and said, “Check this out. Pass it along.” I’m sure he thought I was a union guy. The paper was a printed email that Cathy Giessel had sent to her supporters about the forum. All of a sudden this thing got way more interesting.
I still have the email, and it is amazing. Check it out, some real gems in there:
My favorite lines are:
Of course, me knowing the question…so I am prepared with the answer…helps but not required. 🙂
But your presence will counter the angry liberals who will certainly be present.
I didn’t know Giessel well then. In fact, I barely knew her at all. But she was a Republican and I figured she should know there was an email she wrote being passed around. So I went up to her, told her about it, and showed her the piece of paper. She was not amused. She asked me how they got it. I told her one of two ways, someone hacked her email, or more likely, someone on her email list is not a fan.
What Happened Next
I spoke with Giessel after the event. She was rather concerned about the email. I told her the likely explanation was someone on her email list was behind it or forwarded it to someone that was. I guess I earned her trust because she then asked me if I was willing to help out with her campaign. She told me there was someone she wanted me to meet with that “had the goods” on Ron Devon but she could not have her fingerprints on it. This sounded exciting!
Now, you have to put things in perspective. Imagine a 27 year old Jeff Landfield, recently narrowly defeated in a tough election and being asked by a state senator to help her campaign by doing some covert shit. Hell yes I agreed.
She told me there was a guy that was very liberal but had a bunch of evidence that Ron Devon was corrupt and unethical. She gave me his number and asked me to meet with him. I contacted him and we arranged a time for me to come by. He was VERY excited to talk.
I went to his place on a Saturday afternoon. He was an artist with a beautiful home in Sand Lake. She was not joking around about him being liberal. He was a self described far-left liberal radical. He said he did not agree with anything Giessel believed in or stood for but was convinced Ron Devon was unethical, and that therefore he could not be elected to office. At the time, Ron was married to Jeanne Devon, who was the editor of the Mudflats. This guy was convinced that Ron, Jeanne, and a few other people were part of some corrupt racket involving Sarah Palin. Yikes!
We sit down and the guy pulls out a full on dossier he had on Devon. It must have been over a thousand pieces of paper. Definitely a super legit dossier. He started going through it with me. I quickly realized it was a bunch of Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) complaints that he had filed against Devon and others regarding the Palin racket. I was no expert but nothing at all jumped out as crazy, except this wealthy artist guy I was meeting with. In fact, I recall every one of the complaints were rejected by APOC. But that didn’t convince this guy.
Before I got to his place I felt like I was on a secret spy mission. Not long after I arrived I felt like I was on a candid camera show. I eventually got out of there. I called Giessel and told her I met with the guy. I said he did not seem to have anything of value and just seems obsessed with Ron Devon. She thanked me for time and that was that. Once she was done with me, she went back to being as cold as ice. Such a nasty woman she is. Maybe we will be colleagues one day!
While my secret mission turned out to be a rather bizarre and unforgettable interaction, the whole experience taught me two lessons. One, politicians are odd people. Two, sometimes they will go to extreme lengths to get dirt on their opponent. Even ask Jeff Landfield to do clandestine opposition research.