This is the NEW Gong Show
In December of 2021 I wrote about Past Legislative Hopes after an election that cleared out some deadwood and caused many to hope for a new commitment to the best interests of the people who voted for candidates representing voters in 402 Alaska precincts. We know any candidate for the Alaska Legislature must be willing to drop everything in the community where they live and go to BackwaterJuneau for three to five months of what has become the Legislative Gong Show.
For readers unfamiliar with this old American Television amateur talent contest, it was known for its absurdist humor and style. Actual competition was secondary to the often outlandish acts presented with a small cash prize typically given to each show’s winner.
But Alaska Legislators get a BIG cash prize with salary and per diem for their appearances.
Each session of the original TV Gong Show presented a competition of amateur performers of often dubious talent, with a panel of three celebrity judges. If any judge considered an act to be particularly BAD, they could force it to stop by striking a large gong. Judges would then tell why the act was gonged. Any act that survived without being gonged was given a score by each of the three judges on a scale of 0 to 10. When the final score was announced actor Jerry Maren (a little person and former Wizard of Oz Munchkin) ran onstage in top hat and tails, throwing confetti while balloons dropped from overhead
I submit that Alaskans are entitled to at least this minimum entertainment as we watch what our elected officials do for mostly $pecial interest$ during the annual Alaska Legislature Gong Show in Juneau. In fact, if you keep reading my stories I will provide examples of acts from the last legislative session that deserved to be gonged.
Fun Flash from the Past:
2022 Election Results of the Absurd
Newly implemented Ranked Choice Three Shell Game Voting has taken previous Alaska Division of Elections fiascoes to an entirely new level not previously imagined. As of Thanksgiving (November 24) this agency, run by Lt.. Gov. Kevin Meyer but directed by long-time Juneau resident Elections Director Gail Fenumiai has provided official results for the Primary Election held August 16, and Preliminary Round 1 results of the actual vote held November 8.
Lt Gov Kevin Meyer appoints Division of Elections Director
They are still counting the votes of people whose first choice didn’t get 50 percent so they get to vote again.
Before Alaska became a Banana Republic the election results would have been known the same day—even with printed ballots–but like an obnoxious Infomercial THERE’S MORE, suckers…
What we know:
Who THEY say ONE in Round WON
Of 601,795 registered voters in the state of Alaska, 266,573 (44.30%) voted. 113,299 (43.37%) voted for Lisa Murkowski in the General Election. 111,283 (42.60%) voted for Kelly C. Tshibaka. Democrat Patricia Chesbro received 27,108 (10.38%) of the votes. Buzz A. Kelley should be very proud of himself for running as a spoiler Republican and siphoning off 7,534 (2.88%) in a race he knew he couldn’t win but could be long remembered as the buzz-kill who assured Murkowski’s returned to Washington, DC to help Joe Biden diminish Alaskla prosperity.
US House of Representatives
This election Don Young got the last laugh. At the time of his death March 18, 2022 he was the longest serving Republican in congressional history. Every two years–over 49 years–Young left his home in Washington DC and made a tour of Alaska to see who the latest fool was running against him. He was our perennial Santa Clause and always won re-election.
22 people submitted their paperwork to the Alaska Division of Elections to replace Santa Clause in Washington DC; 8 Republicans, 1 Democrat, 4 Undeclared, 4 Non-Declared, two Losertartians, and one guy who didn’t say what he is but got 248 votes anyway.
The Democrat Peltola faced two delusional Republicans in the General Election and won. Dear readers, do you see how this works? Anybody with the 8th Grade math skills taught to graduates of Alaska government schools, even Alaskans who believe Gov. Michael Dunleavy was EVER a teacher but still care about the future of our state, should be able to figure this out.
For those hoping a competent person might now be in charge of the Division of Elections, the good news is Nancy Dalstrom is former Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Corrections. We know that operation is run pretty tight so perhaps we can expect something better in the future–but don’t get your hopes up. This is still Alaska State Government.
Breakdown race by race:
Alaska Legislature-Senate (Elected for four years)
SD-A Old Southeast Alaska status-quo Republican War Horse, Bert Stedman gained 3,941 votes (68.79%) to Republican newcomer Mike Sheldon’s 3,941 votes (30.46%)
SD-B Nobody dared to run against Liberal Democrat Senate incumbent, Jesse Kiehl 12,715 votes (95.81%) in Juneau. This race also got 554 (4,18%) write-in votes–the most in the state.
SD-C Another old Alaska status-quo Republican war horse, Gary Stevens 7,851 votes (56.30%) easily beat both Republican challengers in this Kodiak and surrounding area district. Heath Smith 4,346 votes (31.17%) ran as a Republican who was happy for no closed Republican Primary and Walter Jones 1,616 votes (11.60%) ran as the “I can’t believe what they are doing to Alaska” candidate. This writer interviewed Jones and wrote a story.
Regular Guy and Haul Road Trucker for Legislative Senate District C
SD-D Republican Jesse Bjorkman 6,950 (45.83%) beat former Division of Elections employee, Republican Party Chairman and longtime Kenai Peninsula activist Tuckerman Babcock 6,311 (41.60%).
SD-E Many celebrated when Senate President Cathy Giesel lost her last election to Republican Roger Holland. SAs Senate President she had punished Republican Senate colleagues who didn’t toe toe her line.
But alas, it appears Giesel 5,610 (33.64%) has edged out Holland 5,521 (33.10%) while NON (Democrat) also-ran Andy Cizek took 1,768 (11.66%) of the vote.
SD-F Republican Rep. James Kaufman 7,786 (56.48%) went toe-to-toe with Democrat Janice Park 6,466 (43.14%) and appears to have won.
SD-G In another toe-to-toe match, incumbent Democrat Elvi Gray-Jackson 6,311 (56.48%) beat Republican Marcus Sanders 4,821 (43.14%).
SD-H Democrat Matt Claman 7,857 (51.86) has the lead over Republican Mia Costello 7,242 (47.80%).
SD-I This seat formerly held by Tom Begich was handed to his aide, Loki Tobin 5,004 (66.41%) when Begich announced he would not run for re-election at the last possible moment and she quickly signed up. This maneuver should set her up nicely in the Democrat caucus. Perennial candidate Undeclared Heather Herndon 2,426 (32.20%) might need to find another hobby.
SD-J Democrat Forrest Dunbar 4,280 (50.02%) beat former House Representative Geran Tarr 1,434 (16.76%) while Republican Andrew Satterfield 2,800 (32.72%) made a respectable showing in this Democrat bastion.
SD-K Union lawyer and Democrat Senator, Bill Wielechowski 6,252 (58.04%) beat Republican challenger John Cunningham 4,484 (41.63%)
SD-L Union-owned Republican Kelly Merrick 8,489 (57.89%) beat Ken McCarty for the seat previously held by some classy ladies, Anna Fairclough and Lora Reinbold, who never would have bolted the Republican caucus for special interests.
SD-M Repubican Majority Leader in the last legislature, Shelley Hughes 11,245 (75.82%) beat Democrat Jim Cooper 3,555 (23.97%.
Sen. Shelley Hughes Speaks Out (2020 Interview)
SD-N Incumbent Republican David Wilson 5,113 (44.48%) easily fended off perennial loser Republican Stephen Wright 3,332 (28.98%) and Republican Scott Clayton 2912 (25.33). Wilson is a voice for dealing with the outrageous cost of Alaska Health Care.
The Certificate of Need Scam Fuels Alaska’s Healthcare Crisis
SD-O Republican Mike Shower 7,365 (51.78%) was chosen by Gov. Michael Dunleavy to fill this seat upon his election as governor, and Shower has been a strong voice for his district. Republican and former Alaska Department of Fish & Game manager, Doug Massie 6,690 (47.04%) waged a strong campaign.
SD-P Fairbanks Democrat Scott Kawasaki 4,272 (51.14%) fended off a challenge by a serious challenger, Jim Matherly 3,509 (41.99%) and Spoiler Republican Alex Jafre 539 (6.45%).
SD-Q Republican Robert H. Meyers, Jr. 8,110 (62.59%) retained his seat in this district which previously had been held by John Coghill. Challengers to Meyers included NON John Bennett 4,001 (30.88%) and AIP Candidate Arthur Serkov 773 (5.97%).
SD-R Another Status-Quo Republican War Horse, Click Bishop 8,291 (526.73%) beat second-place Republican Elijah Verhagen 3,956 (27.07%) and AIP candidate Robert “Bert” Williams 2,272 (15.55%)
SD-S Democrat War Horse, Lyman Hoffman 4,415 (64.74%) beat Willy Keppel 2,366 (34.69%).
Western Alaska Deserves Better in Juneau: Willy Keppel Says He Can Make a Difference
Alaska Legislature-House of Representatives
(Elected for two years)
21 Returning, 19 Replaced
The Lower Body of the Alaska Legislature saw an almost 50 percent turnover in this election. When looking at the party affiliation of members we can be assured anyone calling themselves anything but Republican will caucus with the Democrats. Past years when the split was closer the Democrats could always count on Republicans who had no loyalty to party to join them. (Stutes, Rasmussen, Merritt last session.) Loser Republican candidates who had no chance of winning have helped the Democrats tremendously. Anyone may discover who these candidates are by looking at election results from the Alaska Division of Elections.
Given these tentative election results this is the configuration we might expect for development of Majority/Minority Coalitions:
■ = Incumbent
The Ranked Choice Scam
Some people proudly declare they vote for “the person over the party.” That is an ignorant statement. The parties establish the basis for candidate support and the most important thing Ranked Choice Voting has done for the Democrats is deny Republicans the opportunity to choose candidates who believe in Permanent Fund Integrity, less government, conservative economic policy and natural resource development. By making voting more complicated and tedious Democrats promote Permanent Fund Use for Government/Non-Profit services and simplistic issues like climate change, right to kill babies in the womb, woke ideology while targeting intelligent, productive people whose time is valuable with this subtle form of Voter Suppression.
Our status quo Republican party in Alaska is weak-kneed and has trouble fielding candidates who long to be professional politicians over having productive lives of accomplishment. The party enables status-quo weak-kneed opportunists.
Exception to this rule is in the MatSu Valley. where Alaska tradition is Strong
The Alaska Division of Elections says 602,420 people are registered to vote. Of those, 144,542 are registered as Republicans and 77,137 as Democrats. 266,085 are listed as Undeclared with 83,576 Non-Declared. Republicans are the dominant party over Democrats and have until this election cycle had the right to close their primary to only registered Republicans and Undeclared/Non-declared voters. The scam RCB system has made Alaska a laughing stock in the country as the goal was to re-elect Murkowski to the US Senate. Collateral damage from RCV has been to successfully cause voters who want the values Republicans cherish to actually vote against their own best interests with second and third votes in shell game.
I have observed and participated in Alaska politics since the late 1970s and have marveled at how devious some political operators can be. These devious operators will say the Republicans do the same thing. They make politics dirty. They want voting to be burdensome and disappointing. Those Alaskans who don’t become involved and vote for wholesome values enable devious operators to manipulate elections so the minority wins.
Never has this duplicity been more clear than in this election.
PAST Legislative Hopes
Gong Show, Wikipedia
Lt Gov Kevin Meyer appoints Division of Elections Director
Division of Elections 2022 Election Results
General Elections https://www.elections.alaska.gov/results/22GENR/ElectionSummaryReportRPT.pdf