Alaskans love their guns -- and politicians are no exception

Suzanna Caldwell

It’s hard to think of a better way to prove your conservative idealism than by shooting a gun, and Alaska politicians have taken note.

So far during this historic election season, a handful of candidates from across the state have released short videos during which they shoot things. A popular target appears to be something they already have in their political crosshairs -- bills and other legislation are popular targets -- though occasionally they make appearances for other, less obvious reasons.

Using guns in political ads is nothing new. Conservative candidates across the country have taken to proving their political acumen by shooting holes in things. Often the targets are the same. This season, the 906-page Affordable Care Act is arguably the most popular target.

But do those ads work in Alaska? It’s an attention grabber, according to Taylor Bickford, an Anchorage-based political consultant for Strategies 360, but its limited target may not resonate with moderates.

“If your goal is to appeal to conservative voters, it has value,” Bickford said, “but it starts to lose value if everyone is doing it.”

Alaska Dispatch News compiled a short list of the shooting videos, sure to be expanded as the election season rolls on. But will it work with voters? That remains to be seen.

Forrest Dunbar amends the Paul Ryan ‘Don Young’ budget

In a twist, Dunbar, a Democrat running for U.S. Congress, takes to “amending” the budget with a shotgun. It gives him a chance to not only take a dig at incumbent Don Young’s support for the budget, but to remind voters where Dunbar stands when it comes to gun rights.

Joe Miller unequivocally opposes the Affordable Care Act

In case there was any question, here he is shooting up “Obamacare” with two very powerful guns.

Want to shoot your TV over “Outside interests?” Dan Sullivan does

Dan Sullivan has been touting the “Alaska Agreement,” which would curb outside spending from political action groups from the Lower 48. In the 30-second TV spot, he criticizes the TV spots by shooting up the TV, a double whammy for showcasing his pro-gun beliefs and his apparent annoyance with the flood of political advertising.

Alaska throwback: Shootin’ down inflation and taxes with W.E. ‘Brad’ Bradley

Maybe he was ahead of his time, but even in 1976, state Sen. W.E. “Brad” Bradley worked to get people’s attention with impressive glass graphics that shatter on impact. While Bradley’s bid for lieutenant governor was unsuccessful, there was no confusion over his stance when it came to gun rights.

Your moment of zen: Sen. Ted Stevens smokes a pipe, rides a horse and shoots a gun

Officially, this isn’t a campaign video, though the Alaska Film Archives believes this film was likely shot as B-roll to appear in campaign ads for the late senator. Still, it’s four-minutes of ’70s-era Stevens in the Alaska wilderness, complete with sideburns, flannel button-down shirts and thick-rimmed glasses. Who knew Uncle Ted was the original hipster?