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Where have all of Alaska's political '-gates' gone?

  • Author: Andrew Halcro
  • Updated: September 29, 2016
  • Published November 1, 2012

We lack drama. We lack a compelling protagonist. We lack an October surprise that we've come to expect. As political elections goes, this one is as bland as a glass of milk, on a paper plate in a snowstorm. A real Starbucks vente vanilla steamer.

In 2006, we had a contentious gubernatorial race amongst a backdrop of corruption as bribery and conspiracy charges were being thrown around like a Nerf football on Thanksgiving. The election was a referendum on both the crooked lawmakers and the prior four years under jet setting Governor Frank Murkowski.

In 2008, we had at least three high profile earthquakes happening at once. First, Governor Palin was chosen to run as the GOP vice presidential nominee setting off almost daily discussions about her actions and inactions on the campaign trail. U.S. Senator Ted Stevens had been indicted and convicted just days before the general election against his strongest opponent in his career. And the Troopergate scandal was being investigated as the election drew closer.

In 2010, we had the improbable win in the GOP primary by Joe Miller. Days after Miller won, incumbent U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski filed to run as a write in. For the next seven weeks Miller gave us a weekly event that showed he lacked the necessary temperament. This included handcuffing a journalist after being asked questions he didn't want to answer.

But this year ... this year, it's hard to get excited on what we have to work with just a week before the 2012 election. Honestly, we have nothing. Nada, nichts, neinte.

Stealing signs, tweets in poor taste, and shipping jobs out of state, are the only controversies we have to go on.

No glitz, no glamour, no subpoenas, and no special investigator.

First we had a case of door hangars being stolen by a Democratic campaign volunteer who was caught red handed by Republican volunteers. When it became public, it was realized she worked for a Democratic lawmaker, who quickly labeled her a "rogue" volunteer.

Second we had a case of an ill-advised tweet posted by a Democratic State House challenger about her Republican opponent. Last week, challenger Michelle Scannell sent out a tweet that basically accused Republican incumbent Mia Costello of negotiating Alaska's best interest on her knees.

And unlike two years ago when Joe Miller prematurely tweeted he was looking for housing and furniture in Washington D.C. two months before the general election, this tweet was not funny at all.

And finally, we have incumbent State Senator Hollis French who has, as Ricky Ricardo would say, "some esplaining to do." French's APOC campaign reports show he is buying his media through the same company that is handling the media buying for the ads supporting the Senate Bi-Partisan Coalition.

It's against the law for candidates to coordinate with independent expenditure groups. The fact that the same media employee signed both reports for French and the independent organization raises serious questions about breaching the legally required fire wall.

But the one thing that nobody has picked up on, is the fact that both French's and the heavily financed union ads say over and over again how important jobs are for Alaska, but yet they took their campaign marketing efforts to outside companies.

There are plenty of qualified ad agencies and video production houses in the state that could have handled all of their campaign demands.

Neither French nor the unions needed to ship Alaskan jobs to Washington D.C. Especially when they're running ads preaching the benefits of local hire.

Where's a good -gate when you need it?

Andrew Halcro is the publisher of, a blog devoted to Alaska issues and politics, where this commentary first appeared. He is president of Halcro Strategies and Avis/Alaska Rent-A-Car, his family business. Halcro served in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003, and he ran for governor in 2006 as an Independent.

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

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