Opinions

Ohio Dan's Senate race in Alaska isn't about Alaska

This week I received an email from a Republican friend. (Yes, I have those.) She requested a different kind of column from me this week. "Instead of adding to all the ugly, negative political comments out there why not a column about the economic stimulus this election is having on Alaska with all the Outside money coming into the state."

Really? Yeah! We have Outside money trying to get a guy elected who wants to get rid of Social Security! That's the opposite of economic stimulus. So the short answer is No. I won't be riding that unicorn this week. The longer answer is next.

I remember hearing for the first time that Gov. Sarah had appointed Dan Sullivan back in 2009 to be her attorney general and wondering, who is this guy? Her first pick, Wayne Anthony Ross had been a public loss for her. I laughed when I heard rumors from legislators in Juneau, who relayed conversations with oil company lobbyists, that Sullivan had been looking for a state in which to run for the U.S. Senate, and was "sent here" by Karl Rove and some D.C. insiders to run for the Senate in Alaska. It seemed ridiculous, and knowing how Alaskans feel about Outsiders trying to come in and tell us how to run our state, there was simply no way this could ever happen.

I'm a little cynical about politics, but even I could never have envisioned that the D.C. money machine could come in and steamroll Alaskans like they did in the Republican primary -- bowling over the tea party and a sitting lieutenant governor. While Dan does his best to speak only in controlled environments where he can't be asked tough questions, it looks like the wheels are finally starting to come off the Sullivan bus. Or in this case, given his billionaire backing, the Sullivan Rolls Royce. This week, Sullivan missed another debate, and had refused to say why. Well, it turns out he was caught in Cleveland -- at another fundraiser there, hosted by a bunch of rich guys. The state where Dan has raised more money than any other? Ohio. Hey, I don't have anything against Ohio -- except for that one congressman who for years kept introducing legislation to keep Denali named Mt. McKinley -- after the former president from Ohio. But Ohio already has two senators. And really, don't they already get enough attention during our presidential elections?

Then there is the issue of Dan's residency. On his sworn FEC candidate filing in 2014, Dan claimed he was a 17-year resident of Alaska. This contradicted his own Alaska fishing license applications, in which he claimed in 2009 to have been a nonresident, and in 2010 to have been a 1-year resident, and claimed to be a Maryland resident so he could get thousands in tax breaks there. This week, Maryland issued a finding that Dan was in fact a resident of Maryland from 2006 through 2008, which means Dan wasn't being quite upfront on his FEC filing. Wasn't there a Democratic president a few years ago that the Republicans tried to impeach for perjuring himself? Ah -- situational ethics. Or does this mean Dan will be impeached if elected?

So why would a bunch of D.C. insiders try so hard to get a guy from Cleveland or Maryland elected to the U.S. Senate in Alaska? It's plain old business -- billionaires like the Koch Brothers, who recently shut down the Flint Hills Refinery in Alaska and laid off dozens of Alaskans while leaving a plume of underground polluted water, are looking for the best return on their investment. Alaska Senate elections are much cheaper to buy than say, Ohio, with much bigger populations that have to be mailed to, door knocked, phone called, and expensive Cleveland and Cincinnati media markets.

What are these billionaires after? They ain't doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They want to pay smaller taxes so they can buy a few new corporate jets, yachts, Rolls Royces. How do they do this? They need senators willing to cut your benefits that you've paid for your whole life. That's why Dan supports slashing Social Security and Medicare benefits.

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Last week Sullivan finally showed up for a fishing debate in Kodiak, surprising many of us who were getting used to him ignoring the largest industry in Alaska. When he was working for the federal government (the one we Alaskans love to hate), he actually lobbied for Europe to open up its markets for genetically modified salmon, aka "Frankenfish." Alaskans despise these fish since they carry diseases and threaten our fisheries. Sullivan tried to brush this off as him just doing his government job.

In the fish debate Sullivan ran from his support of the Pebble project. Really, Dan? Why was your campaign manager for seven months Ben Mohr, whose previous work experience was almost seven years as a top cheerleader for Pebble? And why would the Pebble Limited Partnership donate furniture to your campaign? Why did you support HB 77, that would have silenced Alaskans against the project?

Must be good for plain old business.

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com

Shannyn Moore

Shannyn Moore is a radio broadcaster. You can hear her show, "The Last Word," Monday through Friday 4-6 p.m. on KOAN 95.5 FM and 1080 AM and 1480 We Act Radio in Washington, D.C., and on Netroots Radio.The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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