New political group seeks to eject incumbents who supported vetoes

JUNEAU — A new political group is seeking the ouster of incumbent legislators who acted in support of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s decision to veto $444 million from the state’s operating budget.

“Defend Alaska” registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission on July 23 and has raised more than $8,000. According to APOC reports, no other political group has raised as much money in that period, or with as many donors. It’s an unusual outpouring of support more than a year away from the state’s primary election.

Cordelia Qiġñaaq Kellie, the group’s chairwoman, wrote by email that the group was “created this month by a group of concerned Alaskans seeking to hold legislators accountable for the detrimental affects to Alaskan lives as a result of legislators failing to override the governor’s veto.”

As an “independent expenditure” group under state law, it is not tied to an individual campaign or political party.

Kellie wrote by email that they felt the group was needed because “there wasn’t another group that was doing what Defend Alaska is seeking to do.”

Donors so far are predominantly Democrats and progressive-leaning independents, according to APOC reports. Among them are Anchorage Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar, Sealaska Corp. Board Chairman Joe Nelson, Dr. James O’Malley Jr. of Anchorage, Juneau filmmaker and activist Pat Race and Jahna Lindemuth, an attorney who served as attorney general under former Gov. Bill Walker.

Campaign reports indicate the group has spent money to set up a website and to run online and print advertisements against Rep. Sara Rasmussen, R-Anchorage.

James Brooks

James Brooks was a Juneau-based reporter for the ADN from 2018 to May 2022.