Category Archives: Lance Ahern

Live Blogging from Election Central

Click HERE for the results as they come in!

11:01pm.  Mayoral Bloodbath Round Deux:  Demboski vs. Berkowitz, starting…NOW!

11:00pm.  Result update with of 97.6% precincts reporting:

  • Ethan Berkowitz at 36.84%
  • Dan Coffey at 14.48%
  • Amy Dembowski at 24.31%
  • Andrew Halcro at 21.60%

It looks like it will be a runoff since the magic 45% of votes was not reached by a single candidate.

10:45pm.  Just spotted:  Nick Moe and Samuel Moore.  Not talking with one another, but here.  Also here:  former APD Police Chief Walk Monegan sporting the only Andrew Halcro button in the room.

10:43pm.  The party is winding down.  Media is putting away their gear.  Not so for the Dispatch and APRN.  They are in their own worlds typing away on their keyboards with fury.

10:39pm.  Result update with 93.5% of precincts reporting:

  • Ethan Berkowitz at 37.56%
  • Dan Coffey at 14.33%
  • Amy Dembowski at 23.84%
  • Andrew Halcro at 21.54%

10:30pm.  Alaska Commons called it quits.

10:24pm.  Amy Demboski is being interviewed by the Political Pipeline. “He [Ethan Berkowitz] is for big government and I’m for small government” paraphrasing of Amy Dembowski’s last remarks to Austin Baird.

10:22pm.  The Amy Demboski signs are blocking my view of the rest of the room. Arg.

10:19pm.  A VERY short “Ethan! Ethan! Ethan!” chant happened.  It was quickly shut down.

10:16pm.  It has been whispered to me that Andrew Halcro is not planning on showing up at election central tonight.  Reporters’ faces are a mixture of shock and disgust as this information telephones around the room.

10:15pm.  Reporters are huddling.  Looks like they are about to collectively call the elections.

10:11pm.  Just spotted:  Former Lt. Gov. candidate, Craig Fleener.  Looking really happy and surrounded by lots of people (not just reporters).

10:06pm.  Amy Demboski and supporters have arrived!

10:04pm.  Mayor Dan Sullivan is being interviewed by KTVA (sporting jeans) while Ethan Berkowitz is doing the same over with KTUU.

10:02pm.  Former Rep. Lindsey Holmes (D R-Anchorage) is here.  Talking to notable Republicans.

10:01pm.  Mayor Dan Sullivan has arrived.  Nobody is talking to him.  Awkward.

10:00pm.  Result update with 59.7% of precincts reporting:

  • Ethan Berkowitz at 39.01%
  • Dan Coffey at 13.78%
  • Amy Dembowski at 22.96%
  • Andrew Halcro at 21.34%

9:56pm.  Photographers with better/cooler/flashier cameras than I have flocked to Berkowitz’s interview with KTVA,blocking my view.  Total score for this station on landing the first interview from the candidate.

9:55pm.  The Dems have ARRIVED!!

9:52pm.  There is shouting from the lobby.  Not quite clear what is happening.  It isn’t chanting.  Oh, its Ethan and supporters!

9:40pm.  Tam Agosti-Gisler and supporters have arrived with lawn signs in tow.

9:47pm.  The Dispatch is calling the School Board Seat E for Kathleen Plunkett.

9:38pm.  Result update with 50% of precincts reporting:

  • Ethan Berkowitz at 38.73%
  • Dan Coffey at 13.67%
  • Amy Dembowski at 23.25%
  • Andrew Halcro at 21.48

9:30pm.  Suits (i.e. political wonks) have arrived.  It’s getting real in here.  A definite political divide is already happening in the room.  I guess that article about political leanings and pheromones had something to it.  That or it is a wicked small state and people whose good idea of a Tuesday night is to be on the second floor of the Dena’ina Center is even smaller in number.

9:20pm.  There was a collective gasp though out the room at the results showing a tie between Halcro and Demboski.  Austin Baird with Political Pipeline showed up.  He is sharing a table with Alaska Commons.  Looking rather chummy.

9:16pm.  The room is beginning to fill up.  I’ve moved from my massive conference table of one to a smaller side table.  Bonus:  I have access to a plug and a wall behind me.

8:47pm.  Mayoral candidate Dustin Darden and three supporters just walked into the room.  He had a brief chat with Steve MacDonald about a possible interview.  Now he is talking with the Dispatch table about sign waving today.  FOT6C9B

8:44pm.  People (read reporters at this point) are milling around talking smack about politicians from previous election cycles.

8:30pm.  KTVA just showed up.

8:20pm.  More of the Dispatch team has shown up.  Enough to almost fill a conference table.

8:00pm.  I arrive at Election Central.  Second floor of the Dena’ina Center.  Steve MacDonald with KTUU, Devin Kelly and the Dispatch and the Alaska Commons’ team are all here and setting up for the “big” event.  The room is vacant except for the real journalists…and me.  They are all anxious.  Like race horses at the gate, waiting for the bell.  This is fun!FOT6278











Alaska News Roundup for April 7

  • Today is the Anchorage Muni elections. Click HERE to find your polling location. Polls are open from 7:00am-8:00pm.Election Info


  • Devin Kelly with the Dispatch reports further on Anchorage mayoral candidate Amy Demboski’s signage vandalism. This time, THERE. ARE. GUNS!
  • Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner explains the House Chamber drama that unfolded during HB115’s legality debate. The bill to has passed the House. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez explains that the bill would allow Alaska to claim federal lands (nearly 170 million acres) and that there is an extremely low possibility of the federal government being ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ with this development.
  • Fairbanks City Councilman Jim Matherly is throwing his hat into the Fairbanks mayoral ring. The Fairbanks News Miner has the details as to his early announcement for the October elections.

    Fairbanks Mayor Candidate

    Photo Credit of Profile

  • Ready your IMSAI 8080 because we’re in for an update on Arctic War Games! Russia has upped the anti with the presence of military aircraft within view of Alaska! The Dispatch explains the where, possible why and what this means to The Last Frontier.

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Lunch Break: ANC Mayoral Candidates’ Fun & Games Edition

It’s the Fun & Games edition of Lunch Break in honor of the Anchorage mayoral candidates!

Sure, you could choose your candidate by reviewing Alaska Political Pipeline‘s sit-down interviews, KSKA’s heady Running debates and/or the Dispatch’s in-depth profiles, but where’s the fun in that?

Today’s politicians have to be polished with canned answers and are less likely to reveal their true selves due to the ever constant worry of becoming television fodder.  That leaves the last bastion of political vulnerability:  campaign Twitter accounts.

Thanks to AnalyzeWords, all the Anchorage Mayoral candidates’ Twitter feeds have been analyzed for personalities, emotional states and thinking styles.  The results are revealing and somewhat surprising.

True, some campaigns have employee(s)/volunteers to handle their social media, but because Twitter is a constant of-the-moment social media tool, the pulse of how a campaign is really doing and the true makeup of a candidate can be found in the distillation of its 140 characters.

  • The most upbeat award goes to Ethan Berkowitz
  • The most plugged in award goes to Jonathan Harrison
  • The most analytic award goes to Andrew Halcro

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Alaska Morning News Roundup April 3

  • Holy Bill of Rights Batman! Sen. Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla) suggested during a Senate State Affairs Committee hearing that the state should start to collect DNA samples from middle schoolers so that it could then be compared to later crime scene samples. Nate Herz with the Dispatch has all the Minority Reportesque details.
  • The Kenai City Council unanimously passed a resolution yesterday in support of Robert Ruffner as a new member of the Board of Fish. This piece of news should put a spring in his step as he heads to his confirmation hearing with the House Resource Committee today.
  • Mat-Su coal mining is no longer a sure thing since a coalition of environmental groups have banded together in filing a lawsuit against a Usibelli Coal Mine permit with the federal courts. The Frontiersman explains that this filing occurred after it discovered that existing community members would be left out of voicing mining operations (future problems/issues) once Usibelli began operations.

    Image credit of

    Image credit of

  • Municipalities can now begin breathing a sigh of relief as regulations involving what muni’s role in regulating marijuana passed the House and is now headed to the Senate. Matt Buxton with the Fairbanks News Miner explains what specific clarifications HB75 currently entails.
  • Alaskans now have buddies to listen to The Smiths with to help dull the pain of financial realities stemming from the falling North Sea oil prices. The Dispatch reports that Great Britain’s (particularly Scotland) will be feeling monetary heartache as well.
  • In coffee spitting news, the Peninsula Clarion reports that the Senate Finance Committee has advanced the operating budget, but it does not include forward funding for public education. The slashing and burning doesn’t end there. The Fairbanks News Miner informs of education funding cuts that have left many speechless.Education Shock Tweet


  • The Dispatch’s Devin Kelly has the skinny on how the Anchorage mayoral candidates will be utilizing their time during the Weekend of Decision.
  • The Not-Rep. Geran Tarr’s Version of Erin’s Law received its first hearing in the Senate Education committee hearing, per the Juneau Empire.
  • Paging Yereth Rosen: Slate is wondering if Alaska is the next place where exploding permafrost will become the norm.Permafrost Explosion


  • Taking a page from the scorched earth policy book, Rep. Lora Reinbold (R-Eagle River) has proposed a constitutional amendment, HJR21, on term limits for state legislators that would prevent a state representative (elected every two years) from serving more than four full or partial successive terms or a state senator (elected every four years) from serving no more than two full or partial successive terms.
  • Alaska has joined 14 other states in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage bans, per APRN.
  • The Juneau Empire explains the changes occurring to charitable gaming.
  • Oil rigs off the coast of the U.S. dropped in number by 11 to a new lowest oil rig count of 802 since 2011, per Business Insider.Oil Rig count Graph


  • Read (and listen) to APRN’s in-depth interview with the two contenders for School Board Seat F.School Board Seat F


  • Business Insider explains what the Iran deal means to Alaska’s price per barrel. It isn’t good.
  • Politico reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski could be of a handful of republican senators that could help confirm Loretta Lynch as the new U.S. Attorney General.
  • The Anchorage LIO appears to be on its way into “new” digs known as the Egan Center! The Dispatch explains that the Taj Mahawker’s lease funding is no more.
  • In Kids Say the Darnest Things News:
    Funny Tweet

Lunch Break: When Bad Campaign Ad Strikes

The Anchorage mayoral campaigns’ APOC reports show interesting uses with their war chests.  Devin Kelly‘s Dispatch article about run-off funds (or in some cases, lack there of) got me thinking about the likelihood of fresh campaign ads after the April 7 results.

Whatever topic these future run-off candidates take-on, use former Rep. Vance McAllister’s (R-LA) 2014 “Blessed” re-election campaign video as a guide of what not to do.

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This cringe worthy video was the campaign’s response to the kissing scandalto which it alludes.  Unfortunately, this video didn’t save McAllister’s re-election bid.  In fact, it did the opposite.  The lack of warmth between the McAllisters and most importantly: how the issue was addressed within this 30 second spot is the reason politicos have pointed to this video as the deciding nail in McAllister’s political coffin.

Let this video serve as a lesson.  Pick your messaging carefully.


Alaska News Roundup for March 12

  • Palmer’s Alaska Republican Assembly has shown Anchorage mayoral candidate Amy Demoski some love by forming their own Super PAC to raise money and GOTV on her behalf. They had most recently endorsed Joe Miller for his 2014 senatorial bid.
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan has continued to be underfire for signing the infamous letter to Iran. KTVA has the latest on this developing controversary. Politico Magazine very clearly outlines the devestation Iran’s withdrawal from the current nuclear talks would have not just on America’s, but also the world’s security and safety. It isn’t just the media outlets that are unamused. This little cartoon has been circulating:

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  • Soldotna’s moving toward annexation, but wanted the Peninsula Clarion to emphasis that transparency will be a key point in the process.
  • Justice Not Politics Alaska spoke at the Greater Wasilla Chamber of Commerce and explained why confirmation hearings for new judicial appointments to the Alaska Judicial Council was a bad idea in their opinion and the Frontiersman was on hand to capture their talking points.
  • Meanwhile, Sen. Lisa Murkowksi is getting traction of another kind with her bi-partisan bills. The first exempts Alaska and Hawaii from TSA air travel fees (!), and the second opens federal land to hunters and fishermen.

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Lunch Break: Mayoral Money

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APOC has the details on who’s making it rain with campaign contributions within the Anchorage’s mayoral races with their 30 reports (February 2-March 6).

Here are the highlights:

Dan Coffey started out this time period with $123,229.04 COH and raised a respectable $53,495.00. He also picked up a $500.00 donation from the Alaska CHARR PAC and a $100.00 donation from Randy Ruedrich, which is worth more than the credit card charge in certain moneyed circles.

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Andrew Halcro had $8,613.88 COH and shook the money tree to a tune of $95,502.95, though $85,000 came from the candidate-so really it was more along the lines of $10,502.95. Sometimes it is not the amount (though that helps), but who is behind the donations. Donations of note include from the ED of the National Education Association-Alaska, the President of Dowl L.L.C. and ConocoPhillips’ VP of Finance.

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Ethan Berkowitz just started his campaign on February 10th, but has made up for it with $61,700.72, though his wife did contribute $500.00. The PACs seemed to line up in order to give to the Berkowitz campaign: ASEA/AFSCME PAC $1000.00, IBEW PAC $1000.00, Carpenters Local PAC $1000.00, AFL-CIO Gaming Account $1,000.00, and the Alaska Democratic Party PAC $99.88. Donations of note include the Deputy Commissioner of Administration (3 times!), ED of the Anchorage Park Foundation for $200.00 & the Alaska Democratic Party Executive Director Kay Brown for $100.00 which like Randy Ruderick, opens wallets faster than most other names in town.

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Amy Demboski raised $28,144.21 with $22,065.14 COH, though $12,219.85 came from the candidate-so she really raised $15,924.36. Demboski also received $500.00 from the Alaska CHARR PAC, though that was returned. Noteworthy donations include the President of Alaska Family Action Jim Minnery for $100.00, Sen. Bill Stoltze for $100.00 and the CFO of Anchorage Community Mental Health for $100.00.

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Lance Ahern also started his mayoral race after the February 2 start mark, and has a respectable raised $2,399.82, with $1535.82 from the candidate making it $864.00 in donations. The silver lining is that his reports looks as if he has the IT crowd locked into his campaign. Donation of note is the Director of the Ukpeagvik Inupiat Corporation.

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