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Facebook, You Wag… March 8, 2009

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The “People You May Know” tool on Facebook keeps telling me to add Don Young as a friend.

I’m not sure about that. Don Young’s friends aren’t always a group of which I want to be a part.

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Alaska Briefs December 20, 2008

Posted by roothogreport in Executive, Legislature.
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Here’s a recap of news of the past several days in Alaska politics:

-Sarah Palin’s church was damaged in a “suspicious” fire. Firefighters are treating it as an arson. Members of my family were in Eagle River for the state high school wrestling tournament, but they insist that their proximity to the fire was coincidental.

-Don Young stepped down from his seat as ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee. He stated that it’s a temporary move for the good of the party.  Question: If it’s for the good of the party (that is, if they want him to have  a lower profile in the event he gets indicted for something), how is it going to be a temporary move?  Good luck getting that seat back, Don. 

-Levi Johnston’s mother was arrested on six felony drug possession charges.  In case you forgot, Levi Johnston is Bristol Palin’s betrothed.  Word from the ADN is that the drug in question was oxycontin, a.k.a. “hillbilly heroin,” which gained notoriety as Rush Limbaugh’s painkiller of choice.  I have to say that with Bristol’s unplanned pregnancy, the Katie Couric interview, the $150,000 $180,000 clothes debacle, the turkey interview, and now this, the Palin clan is really making Alaska look like a classy, forward-looking state.

North to the Future, indeed.

UA Board of Regents Meeting: Highlights December 3, 2008

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I went to the UA Board of Regents meeting on non-political business, but it was a long meeting, and I had the opportunity to hear what Martha Stewart (no, not that Martha Stewart), the university’s Director of Federal Relations, had to say about the new political reality for Alaska in Washington, D.C.  Here are the high points:

  • She thinks that Alaska won’t be badly damaged with regard to appropriations: although Stevens is gone from the appropriations committee, his best friend Dan Inouye (D-HI) is the chairman, and Inouye knows what it’s like for Alaska due to his friendship with Stevens and his experience as a senator from a non-lower-48 state.  Inouye is likely to remain friendly to Alaska.
  • With regard to our existing Senate committee appointments, she said that having Lisa Murkowski on the Energy & Natural Resources committee is going to prove very beneficial to Alaska as we work to restructure the U.S.A.’s energy economy.  She also mentioned that Mark Begich has put in for a variety of appointments, including Appropriations and Commerce.  She thinks it’s unlikely he’ll get Appropriations but Commerce is a definite possibility.
  • She characterized Stevens’ staff as “still in shock” after the defeat, and unsure of their future.  She’s not sure how many, if any, will be picked up by Begich for his staff, but that Stevens’ office on the Hill will close December 22.
  • Of Don Young, she said, “This is probably his last term in office.”  I didn’t have a chance to ask why she thinks that.  Young’s challengers have certainly improved in terms of credibility and posing a legitimate threat, but he won this past race pretty handily even if it wasn’t the 40% thrashing he usually delivers.  Perhaps Stewart is expecting that Coconut Road earmark to catch up to him in court?

That was basically it.  There were other highlights to the meeting, but for the most part they were university-related, not politics-related.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Oh wait- I just remembered I have one other quote to relate.  University President Mark Hamilton apparently met with Governor Palin at the Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament in Anchorage last weekend- just prior to her trip to Georgia to campaign for Saxby Chambliss- and Hamilton had this to say:

“I reminded her that we [the University] have no money… she was very happy and very upbeat, and what that means in a political setting I have no idea.”

Sounds like politics as usual.

UPDATE: STEVENS’ MARGIN DROPPING SWIFTLY November 12, 2008

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The Division of Elections just released new figures- Ted Stevens’ lead is now under 1000. This is BEFORE adding in the local numbers I’ve been reporting, and does not include Anchorage numbers either.

Things are looking a little more hopeful for Mark Begich.

No upset is in the cards in the Young/Berkowitz race, however… Young’s margin is holding steady. That one is over.

Parnell Concedes Primary To Young September 19, 2008

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This broke yesterday, so it’s semi-old news by now, but Sean Parnell has conceded in the primary race for the Republican nomination to the U.S. House.  After all overseas and absentee ballots were counted, Parnell lost the race by 304 votes (out of 105,987 total votes cast- a margin of 0.3%).  I find this a strong rebuke to the notion that individual votes don’t count.

In terms of the bigger picture, the news that Young survived the primary is good news for Democrats, as Young is widely considered to be an easier target for his challenger, Ethan Berkowitz (D-Anchorage).  Young’s various missteps in office, the most prominent of which is the infamous “Coconut Road” earmark.  Young is also being investigated with regard to his role in the VECO scandal which has already brought down multiple state legislators and is also threatening Young’s fellow Congressman Ted Stevens.

Polling data has Berkowitz up by fifteen points over Young, but the latest poll was taken before the primary results were official.  My personal feeling on the ground, which you should definitely take with a grain of salt, is that the race is closer than fifteen points, but Young is definitely behind, probably significantly so.  Unlike Stevens, Young hasn’t established himself as the cantankerous uncle that brings Alaska presents every time he visits.  I’d be fairly surprised to see him pull this one out, even though I haven’t seen much from either side in terms of full-throated support from the community.