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Friday, January 28, 2022

Primary Post Mortem


Alaska’s primary election night is over, but the election itself is not quite done. About 14,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted, and the final results will not be known for days.

That said, it will be a tough hill to climb for the passage of Ballot Measure 1, which would reinstate the ACES oil tax system put in place by former Governor Sarah Palin and a bipartisan coalition in the Alaska legislature. Sean Parnell, former ConocoPhillips lawyer and lobbyist, and Palin’s former Lt. Governor dismantled ACES with Senate Bill 21 which would give billions from Alaska’s treasury to the oil companies with nothing more than hope that the industry would reinvest the money in Alaska, the hope that there would be more exploration, the hope there will be more jobs, and the hope there will be more oil in the pipeline. Ironic that the bill was pushed by Republicans who vilified the whole concept of that pie-in-the-sky “Hope” thing when it had to do with a certain Presidential campaign. Ahem.

The destruction of ACES and the implementation of the SB21 giveaway passed by one vote – cast by a Senator who just happens to be an employee of ConocoPhillips.

Prop 1 was a nail biter all night, with repeal holding an early narrow lead. Supporters’ excitement was palpable, and the large crowd cheered and sang the Alaska Flag Song.

As of Wednesday late afternoon, 100% of precincts had reported in, and the repeal was behind by almost 7000 votes – 47.77% to 52.23%. The No campaign, funded almost entirely by the oil industry dumped $15 million into Alaska’s tiny and inexpensive media market, compared to about $600k spent by the Yes campaign which was composed mostly of small donations from Alaskans.

This sign greeted me at the side of the road when I drove the kids to school this morning.


So, it’s like that.

But one of the stalwart leaders of the Yes on 1 effort, Senator Bill Wielechowski had this to say Wednesday morning:

While I’m disappointed in the outcome of the oil tax referendum, I remain incredibly optimistic about Alaska’s future. The passion and enthusiasm we saw from tens of thousands of ordinary Alaskans on this issue is inspiring. We came very close to pulling off what would have been one of the greatest political upsets in Alaska history. At the end, the People of Alaska were persuaded to “give it a chance to work.”

And I think Alaska won. We managed to get something from the oil companies that they were not willing to give during the SB 21 debate: promises. Promises of increased oil production and to return Alaska to being a top oil producing state in the nation, promises of more revenue for the state, more money into the Permanent Fund, and more jobs for Alaskans. Gov. Parnell promised us one million barrels of oil. If we get all these things, then we all will have won.
If we don’t get these things, we have promises from oil industry supporters and politicians to change that system, and get back all the money we would have lost had we kept ACES.

And we now have an army of Alaskans ready to hold our politicians and the oil companies accountable for their promises.

To prove the point that this was an election of Outside influence, and Outside money, the hotly contested GOP Senate race saw former AG Dan Sullivan earn the right to run against Democratic incumbent Mark Begich. Sullivan who has spent the majority of his life in his home state of Ohio, and then as a DC beltway insider (who recently claimed Maryland as his primary residence) ran a well-funded campaign with the majority of donations coming from Ohio. Last night he garnered 40% of the vote.

Joe Miller, the Tea Party favorite, came in second at 32%. Arguably the most “Alaskan” candidate of the three, current Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell rounded out the pack with only 24% of the vote.

Even Treadwell noted in an interview after his concession speech that “Alaska fought for statehood to get its own destiny. I found myself fighting large outside financial interests, and at this point they appear to have prevailed.”  That’s right GOP heir apparent Dan Sullivan, you are that “large Outside financial interest” that Alaska statehood was supposed to resist. Oh, well.

The Dan Sullivan crowd was having a party across the street at Fat Ptarmigan pizza, but despite his victory and his presence in Anchorage, neither the candidate nor his crowd showed up at the Egan Convention Center. Perhaps as a newcomer, he is not familiar with that tradition. They may do it differently in Ohio.


A peek into the dwindling celebration of the Sullivan for Senate party. Nobody showed to hang out with the rabble next door at the convention center.

He didn’t speak about his victory last night because he was waiting for the race to be called by a national news outlet. *eyeroll*

Wednesday, Sullivan finally issued a statement which said, “Our success was about Alaskans coming together to decide the direction we take our state.” *also eyeroll*

Incumbent Senator Mark Begich won his primary easily with 83% of the vote, making him the most popular incumbent of the night in a contested race. He brought a large team of sign wavers.

And the Senate race couldn’t be fully appreciated without noting that there were two candidates running under the Alaskan Independence Party- the state’s secessionists who’d much rather be voting in the Independent Republic of Alaska than the United States. The founder of the party, Joe Vogler, once famously said, “The fires of Hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred of the United States government, and I won’t be buried under their damned flag.” Gotta love his pluck.


Alaska Independence Party founder Joe Vogler in his signature Alaska flag bolo tie.

One of the Senate candidates for the AIP is none other than Vic Kohring, made famous as one of the members of Alaska’s self-named “Corrupt Bastards Club” who sold his votes to Big Oil interests, and ended up in jail. He’s even on camera taking cash money from the industry in a hotel room in Juneau. On his last night as a free man before heading off to the pokey, he stood by the side of the road offering chocolate chip cookies to passing motorists- many of whom gave him the finger as he stood by a homemade sign that said “Thanks Alaska.”


Kohring won his race, and will now be on the ballot in November… Republican/AIP memories are, apparently, short.

Libertarian Senate candidate Mark Fish, who was expected to take his three-way primary race, came in second to a guy named Thom Walker – a virtual unknown. There is speculation, although it’s impossible to tell for sure, that people were confused and wanted to vote for gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker, saw the name “Walker”, and filled in the oval. Never let the wrong first name, the wrong office, and the wrong party stop you, Alaskans! WALKER 2014!

Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker was not on the primary ballot, but came to Election Central HQ last night with a large and enthusiastic contingent of sign-wavers, and spoke extensively to the media about his upcoming campaign. His slogan is “Alaska First,” but Walker – a former Republican candidate – leans right on social issues. He will definitely be a contender in the race.


Alaska Native leader Byron Mallott will be the Democratic nominee for Governor, winning a three-way primary with 66%. Mallott, although the most progressive of the gubernatorial candidates publicly supported Lisa Murkowski’s write-in campaign for Senate in 2010, opposing Joe Miller (R) and Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, raising the hackles of many left-leaning voters. Democratic memories are, apparently, long.

Hollis French, a stalwart and popular Democratic State Senator easily won his race for the Lt. Governor slot against political newcomer Bob Williams. Williams put forth a good effort and seemed to be well-liked. Maybe he’ll be back.


Gov. Sean Parnell opts to use “pointy finger,” instead of “scary knuckle” as his predecessor Governor Palin did. Mayor Dan continues to eat bad seafood on a daily basis. Otherwise, there’s no explanation.

Incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell showed up to Election Central to a wave of utter apathy from the crowd. Nobody clapped, nobody cheered. He came in with his running buddy Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. We know Sullivan is going to win because nobody is running against him. Senator Lesil McGuire WAS running against him, but five minutes before the deadline for new candidates to file came, she remembered she had too much laundry to do and pulled out of the race. Then she posted this cringe-inducing Facebook status update.

I wonder if she would have signed her correspondence from the Lt. Governor’s office with “xoxoxoxo 🙂 ” or just the regular way.


So now “Mayor Dan” (he calls himself that, nobody else does) is the heir apparent for the seat. If he wins Lieutenant Governor, I hope he makes us call him “Lieutenant Dan.”


The ceaseless and never-ending Don Young won his Republican primary for U.S. House of Representatives with 74%. The closest contender was John Cox whose campaign signs sported the yellow Gadsden flag of the Tea Party.

Young will square off against Forrest Dunbar, the Democratic nominee who actually beat Young in a straw poll at the Tanana Valley fair last week. The 81-year old Young has been conspicuously absent, and uncharacteristically silent this cycle, other than to announce his recent engagement to be married.


Congressman Don Young in his signature Alaska flag bolo tie… wait…

Many of those in the down ticket races ran unopposed, but there were some contested races worth mentioning.

Bill Stoltze (R-aka The Naked Baker) won his primary with 70% of the vote.

Tammie Wilson, beleaguered junkyard owner and vanguard in the eradication of food safety laws, beat Doug Isaacson 55-45.

Incumbent Eric Feige (R) got trounced, coming in third in a three-way primary. The race was won by Jim Colver, a more moderate Republican. If you need something to be happy about, there you go. The last Republican I know who came third in a 3-way primary race was Frank Murkowski.

Geran Tarr (D) easily won her primary against Cean Stevens, and will run for her current seat again in the general.

Anand Dubey, who lost last time as a Republican to then-Democrat Lindsey Holmes who decided to become a Republican when she got to Juneau, and then decided not to run any more, has won his primary and will give it another try, against Matt Claman who will presumably remain a Democrat.

Perennial Krazy Kandidate Liz Vazquez (R) somehow won her race, and will square off against Democrat Marty McGee (D).

And Benjamin Nageak (D) beat down a primary challenger by 5 points to run again for his seat.

And that’s how it all fell out on the Last Frontier.

Join us again in November for another battle royal, and 3 more ballot measures – legalization of marijuana, raising the minimum wage, and large mining projects. It’s going to be quite a ride.



21 Responses to “Primary Post Mortem”
  1. Don is Old not Young says:

    We all know Alaska will just vote for this idiot again. They like old idiots. Alaska is a joke.

  2. Dagian says:

    “Kohring won his race, and will now be on the ballot in November… Republican/AIP memories are, apparently, short.”

    There, there, Alaska. I imagine that Republican Virginia voters will demonstrate their collective amnesia in less than 3 years when Bob McDonnell runs for political office again.

    Right now he’s the center of a lot of attention for twisting his stated firm convictions into a Gordian knot. He’s the head of the family, the leader of the pack, the sole breadwinner BUT we’re somehow supposed to believe that he had no idea what his wife was doing and any/all financial troubles were entirely her responsibility AND he thought businessmen doled out cash, Ferraris and expensive golf outings to everybody, all the time with no expectation of reciprocity. Particularly when said wife was making cow-eyes at the wealthy chump.

    Makes him sound more like a pimp than a husband, doesn’t it? I can’t use the word partner because that isn’t part of his belief system.

    • slipstream says:

      Well, sure, just last week ConocoPhillips gave me a nice new Lamborghini. Didn’t expect anything in return. They’re just nice that way. They’re hoping I drive it to the golf event they invited me to tomorrow.

      Oh wait. No, they didn’t. What they did was raise the price of gas.

      Hey, just for fun, try typing ConocoPhillips — and see what your spell checker suggests you really meant. Fitting.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    How I long for the days when pols simply kissed babies instead of demanding that non-white ones be deported.

  4. juneaudream says:

    Young is getting married? Soon? So’s his..general health, anyone? Anyone? If its ..iffy..I have a lovely ancient book from India..I’d jes send the happy couple…….

    • Zyxomma says:

      juneaudream, you crack me up. I’ve (probably) got a copy of In-a-Gadda-da-Vita to go with your ancient text.

    • mike from iowa says:

      Would he know the difference between kama and comma?

  5. mike from iowa says:

    The judge was upset that Perry said, “I am confident we will ultimately prevail, that this farce of a prosecution will be revealed for what it is, and that those responsible will be held to account.” Of course, the only people responsible are the judge, the special prosecutor, and the grand jurors.

    So, she stood up to the bully.

    Threatening a grand juror is a second degree felony with a 20 year prison sentence.

    Keep digging Ricky Retardo.

  6. windpond says:

    I become audibly nauseous at the thought of a winning Parnell/Mayor Dan ticket.

  7. This threatens to set up WC’s nightmare scenario.

    Young wins. Captain Zero wins. Young dies in office. The Captain promotes himself to the U.S. House. “Mayor Dan” becomes Governor.

    • slipstream says:

      And then new Governor Danny Boy appoints the party planner as Commissioner of Natural Resources.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Article 1, Section 2, Clause 4
      When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

      WC- Governor Torpedo can’t do that- thank heavens and we changed the Senate-vacancy dealie so he couldn’t do that there either.

  8. mike from iowa says:

    What’s the statute of limitations on handing Alaska’s monies over to oil companies for free? At what point beyond right now will anyone on the right finally figure out Alaska is getting reamed royally and finally admit it?

    • Dick in A Suit Parnell says:

      I don’t know but I know there is a HUGE chunk of $$$ in an oil company that will bankrupt Alaska…
      It got Palin to resign and Parnell is next as Perry is going down…abuse of power…Parnell is no choir boy…
      Dick in a Suit more like it…and the hard on’s for the oil shills won’t work anymore…they are running away…

  9. Mike D. says:

    Loved the clown on “squawk radio” yesterday who couldn’t fathom why the ‘yes’ voters “just didn’t buy it.” How could they have voted ‘yes’ when he, guests of his show, and the oil companies had provided the facts? Clearly these uninformed voters have never been to the slope or anywhere in Alaska where oil is being produced to see the reality of the oil industry in our state, as if being on site would change opinions. Rather than offering up a thoughtful analysis of why so few voters turned out and what such a close vote indicated, he preferred instead to argue ‘yes’ voters were wrong.

    That the lopsided spending on No wasn’t enough to convince 47% of registered voters should be telling.

    I was one of those voters who “just didn’t buy it. My vote yes does not mean I am anti-oil or anti-business. The vote and the campaign leading up to it never convinced me the best interests of our state and its people were the objective. It always felt as if the real objective was boardrooms, the shareholders, and the bottom line.

    Fancy ads suggesting “we’re all in this together” and that “our company does this and that for charity” do not convince me. The real test will be if our economy moves forward and the state actually does benefit in measurable and sustainable ways.

  10. Alaska Pi says:

    1- IF the folks voting for Thom Walker thought they were voting for Bill Walker , we have about 2600 voters who have no clue what office Mr Bill Walker is running for?
    What’s worse? 2100 voters turning out to vote for felon Mr Kohring or more voters just marking something or other?
    jeezncrackers and crimemntly!
    2- there are a couple interesting results in SE primaries which will make for interesting races in Nov.
    3- I don’t forgive mr Mallott for the LM thingy but as Joe Miller scared the bejabbers out of lots of sensible folks I’ll let it go. Mr Mallott will be getting continued volunteer help and some SSs help from me.
    4- what is this crap this morning from the normally sensible Mr Beltrami about Mallott/Walker combining?
    5- I’m not ready to let loose of how much I despise the process which gave us SB21 nor the outcome itself- no provision to require investment here? shooting down Senator Steven’s sunset amendment which would have covered the what-if-they-don’t? scenario? Any number of other sensible brakes on the damn thing?
    Pfft!! Governor Torpedo struck again..

    Will wait til the vote is certified after all ballots are counted

    • Alaska Pi says:

      and 6- we didn’t get many more folks to turn out for this primary than is usual. why can’t we?
      we’re at less than 32% before the absentees are counted. IF there are 14K absentees that puts us close to 35% which is up a bit from the sickening norm but nowhere near a sensible turnout.

  11. slipstream says:

    Now where did I put my signature Alaska flag bolo tie? Has to be around here somewhere . . .

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