The first thing we need to do is sort out the Dan Sullivans for the upcoming primary election. It turns out we have one too many, if both end up on the ballot.
Too many Sullivans is the kind of thing that leads to confusion. For instance, the other day, U.S. Senate candidate Mead Treadwell fired off a fund-raising event solicitation that included "Dan Sullivan" among its sponsors. Which Dan? Anchorage Mayor Dan, the guy running for lieutenant governor? Or the other one, the Dan who may or may not be running against Treadwell in the GOP primary?
In contrast, state Sen. Lesil McGuire, who also is running for lieutenant governor, was named a Treadwell event sponsor, too, but we know there is only one of her -- luckily, some say.
It is only going to be more confusing as the campaigns heat up and it comes down to "Dan said this," or "Dan said that."
The two, after all, are vastly different. One is much older, a hometown guy who heads government in Anchorage and is running for the cushiest job in the state in 2014. The other is a former attorney general and former Department of Natural Resources commissioner who just resigned his post to become an odds-on favorite to jump into the slugfest for Democrat Sen. Mark Begich's seat, although he is still not saying that publicly.
Mayor Dan could be just that, I suppose, Mayor Dan. Unions have their own appellation for him -- no need to go into that here -- or we could just go with Old Dan, or Nice Hair for an Older Guy Dan, but that seems unnecessary and mean.
Giving Dan the Younger a proper name is going to be tougher. We could just go with DNR Dan, but he has a rich background to pick from.
He has vast federal governmental experience at places with things like "directorate" in their names; either he is a tough act to follow or a guy who cannot hold a job. And he is a Marine in an anti-terrorism unit. Cue mom and the apple pie.
He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in economics before graduating cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, but that is no big deal in this race. It turns out, Treadwell graduated from Yale and has a Harvard MBA.
Joe Miller, who has a Bronze Star and a huge wad of campaign dough - the only two things bigger than his bank account are his ego and his negatives - also is running for Begich's seat. (Begich dreams of Miller being the GOP nominee.) Miller - did I mention his Bronze Star? - graduated from West Point and then Yale Law School.
Begich graduated from Steller Secondary School. And look who is senator.
Pick a name. I'm sticking with DNR Dan.
When DNR Dan bailed out of Natural Resources, he got a big, well-timed smooch from Gov. Sean Parnell just as Treadwell launched his candidacy The governor's office released a gushing letter bidding DNR Dan adieu and "much success in the future." Has Parnell picked a candidate in the GOP Senate primary?
DNR Dan, Parnell said, "played a key role in getting big things done to strengthen Alaska's economy and families" and "has been an instrumental part of my administration and his leadership will be missed." Holy schmazoly.
Treadwell never got lovin' like that during his tenure as second fiddle. It was, "Hey, shut up!" Parnell -- branded with the sobriquet "Captain Zero," one I repeat only because I like the sound of it -- supposedly tried to set Treadwell afire and push him down the stairs when he said he was leaving and even now will not speak to him. That's the rumor. They apparently are el noto compatico. Or whatever.
When Treadwell was lite guv -- a non-job with no heavy lifting I was born for -- Parnell sent him a nastygram telling him to butt out; that he was a pest; that he should stop trying to get things done. His job, Parnell said, was to do what the law and the govenor say. Parnell likes to flex his pens and use them as blunt instruments. "Yeah, come'ere pal, read this." Treadwell apparently forgot lite guvs are seen, not heard from - ever.
Lucky for all of them, they're eventually running against Democrats.
Paul Jenkins is editor of the Anchorage Daily Planet.com.