Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Conservative Assemblyman Dan Sullivan Declares His Intent To Run For Mayor Of Anchorage In 2009

Update May 5th 2009: Dan Sullivan wins runoff election, updated post HERE.

Today, both KTUU Channel 2 and the Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Politics blog reported that conservative Anchorage Assemblyman Dan Sullivan (pictured at left) has filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) to begin fund-raising for a mayoral run in 2009. Filing an APOC letter means one can begin fund-raising immediately, although filing an official declaration of candidacy itself can't happen until the official filing date, which is generally three months before the mayoral election.

Sullivan is both a fiscal and social conservative, although not dogmatic about the latter. He favors sales taxation over property taxation; two years ago, when Anchorage voted down Proposition 13, a scheme which would have instituted a small sales tax and simultaneously reduced property taxes, Sullivan fielded a competing proposal which would have completely eliminated property taxes and replaced them with a sales tax. Sullivan later shelved that proposal. A press release further outlining his vision is available HERE.

Update March 27th, 2009 - Pertinent campaign links:

-- Official campaign website
-- December 2007 press release outlining his vision
-- KTUU Channel 2 profile with video
-- Anchorage Press profile on Sullivan
-- KSKA Interview accessible

Sullivan also exhibited the courage to join fellow Assembly members Anna Fairclough and Debbie Ossiander in voting against the new, tougher anti-smoking ordinance passed in August 2006.

The only downside is that Sullivan is a co-chairman of the Rudy Giuliani campaign in Alaska, but heck, nobody's perfect. Giuliani even suckered Pat Robertson, of all people, into supporting him.

A Hayes Research Poll taken in August 2007 provides a snapshot as to how Sullivan might fare against a prominent Democrat. When asked to choose between Ethan Berkowitz and Dan Sullivan for mayor, respondents chose Berkowitz 50 percent to 33 percent. While Berkowitz won't be running for mayor, it does give an idea as to how Sullivan might perform against an equally prominent and respected Democrat. Other than Mark Begich, there are no other prospective Democratic mayoral candidates who are as prominent and respected as Berkowitz. Sullivan could win.

Those who are particularly curious and who have time on their hands can click HERE to access the minutes of previous Assembly meetings to see how Dan Sullivan voted on various issues.

While it may seem early for Dan Sullivan to start a 2009 mayoral campaign, there's a possible good reason for the early start. If Mark Begich decides to step down in 2008 to run against U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, then the mayoral election would take place sooner. However, Begich has yet to confirm that he's running, and even if he does, he's not legally required to step down early as mayor unless he wants to. Some pundits believe that if Begich makes no announcement by the end of the year, it's a sign he's actively considering the idea.

However, as of right now, Dan Sullivan is still an Assemblyman, and at tonight's Assembly meeting, they will be discussing AO 2007-152, a proposed ordinance by Sullivan that, if passed, could actually make it harder for him (or anyone else) to become mayor. Sullivan proposes raising the bar for winning the mayor’s race from 45 percent back to 50 percent of the vote. Get less than 50 percent, and a runoff election would be required. One of the original reasons for lowering the bar was to reduce the frequency of runoff elections and save taxpayer dollars. However, its passage in 2003 put it into effect immediately, and Mark Begich immediately benefited, because he was declared the outright winner over George Wuerch, despite the fact that Begich didn't get 50 percent of the vote and barely squeaked past the 45 percent threshold at 45.03 percent(it is widely believed that Rick Mystrom, who got 16 percent in that election, took enough votes away from Wuerch to cost him the election).

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