No, no, no, not that type of "coming-out". This is about the first serious fundraising event for Ralph Samuels ever since he announced his intention to seek the Alaska Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010. Samuels now has an official campaign website, and there is more information and links in my previous post.
According to Alaska Ear, over 300 people showed up at the Corsair, resulting in an infusion of $60,000 into Samuels' campaign. The list of prominent attendees, fleshed out by an Alaska Dispatch story, shows there is some serious political muscle behind Samuels' challenge, and incumbent Sean Parnell could be in serious trouble. Indeed, a comment posted to the Alaska Ear story indicates that at a competing fundraiser for Governor Parnell, only 50 people showed up, with no legislators, and he raised very little money.
Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage)
Sen. Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla)
Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Kenai, also the House Speaker)
Rep. Mike Hawker (R-Anchorage)
Rep. Craig Johnson (R-Anchorage)
Anchorage Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston
Anchorage Assemblyman Chris Birch
KFQD talk show host Dan Fagan
Philanthropist Eddie Rasmuson
Northrim bankster Marc Langland
Dispatch said they couldn't get close enough to check the name tags of the last three, but one does not need a name tag to recognize Dan Fagan. Samuels just returned from a vacation before diving into the campaigning. He said that the biggest issue for all candidates is the economy, and that if one looks ten years out, the education and health budgets will overwhelm the state.
But just because the elite are lining up behind Samuels at this point, it doesn't mean he can declare victory. Many Palin supporters have lined up behind Sean Parnell. And Bill Walker and Gerald Heikes will also affect the Republican race. This correlates somewhat favorably with pollster Dave Dittman's assessment, referenced on The Alaska Standard. In an interview with Dan Fagan, Dittman acknowledges that Parnell is in the lead today, but Samuels could overhaul him in the future.
Ralph Samuels also receives a mention in Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue, in at least two places, although not by name (I've read through page 165 so far). On page 142:
Later, one lawmaker called Meg [Stapleton] to his office to continue the conversation. "I can tell you right now which bills will pass this session and which won't", he said. "It's based upon one thing: relationships - and who is sleeping with whom"
And on page 159:
After much debate, the legislature adopted AGIA. In the end, only one lawmaker voted against the measure. Interestingly, it was the legislator who had told Meg early on that bill passage is all about relationships and who is sleeping with whom.
Ralph Samuels was previously identified as the only legislator who voted against AGIA, so the passages describe him. No inference of impropriety on Samuels' part is implied; I just thought it would be interesting to pass that along.