“Mr. Burke has made uncomplimentary remarks on his radio talk show about individuals on several different occasions. CPG believes these remarks will be used by his Democrat opponent and the liberal news media in an attempt to discredit Mr. Burke should he win the primary.”
Since CPG presented evidence seemingly indicating the both Burke and Treadwell were equally conservative, this decision made sense at the time. They broke the tie by endorsing the candidate they considered more electable and less polarizing.
But is Mead Treadwell truly as conservative as Eddie Burke? Burke himself raises serious doubts about this contention, as reported in ADN's Alaska Politics blog under the hyperbolically-worded title of "Eddie Burke fuming over Alaskan Tea Party group's endorsement of Mead Treadwell". The local media likes to portray Eddie Burke as a "loose cannon". Burke issued a statement, posted on his campaign website, in which he explains his objections to considering Treadwell a conservative:
-- Treadwell's close friendship with, support for and countless donations to Senator Lisa Murkowski dating back to 2002. Frankly, I'm not too inclined to penalize Treadwell for this.
-- Treadwell has made "questionable" statements in the past regarding “human-caused climate change. In the cited link, Treadwell gave testimony indicating that he supports conventional wisdom regarding climate change, and a change in the Federal government's Arctic policy to reflect it, although he does not come out in favor of any coercive measures.
-- Treadwell has made recent donations to liberal, big-government Democratic candidates. The key word is "recent". This is a biggie; the donations were to hard-line progressives Matt Claman (here and here) and Sheila Selkregg (here). Treadwell donated $100 to Selkregg’s Anchorage Municipal Campaign (February 2009), and donated $200 on two separate occasions (March 2009, February 2010) to Claman’s Anchorage Municipal Campaign, totaling $400. Both Claman and Selkregg enthusiastically supported the divisive Ordinance 64, Anchorage's gay nondiscrimination ordinance; furthermore, Claman not only supported it, but also sponsored it. These donations are not mere "youthful indiscretions"; they were proffered during the past year and a half. This alone should cast serious doubt upon the depth of Treadwell's "conservative" convictions.
Update July 28th: The Anchorage Press reveals that Treadwell has explained his contributions to Claman and Selkregg. Treadwell explained through an intermediary that he’s known Claman’s wife since college, and worked with Claman, as well as Ernie Hall, who beat Claman in the April 2010 municipal election, on charitable projects as members of the Rotary Club. Selkregg was an active volunteer for the Institute of the North, where Treadwell is a senior fellow, and Selkregg worked on Christmas toys for children with Treadwell’s late wife.
Update July 18th: There's now even more reasons to question Mead Treadwell's "conservative" credentials. On RedCounty, Thomas Lamb, whose own conservative credentials are unimpeachable, claims that Treadwell is an enthusiastic proponent of the Law of the Sea Treaty and cites a link to a speech given by Treadwell in 2010 to support it.
In response to Burke's criticism, the CPG told ADN “All I can tell you is that our vetting committee went through a process of looking at the candidates and they decided Mead Treadwell fit our conservative (criteria), at least 80 percent conservative, which is what our requirements are, we don’t expect the candidates to be perfect.” During the vetting process, Treadwell told CPG he opposes cap and trade, carbon taxes and that the climate science gaps are way too large – in observation, in modeling, in planetary physics – to support coercive governmental decisions.
The questionnaires that Burke, Treadwell, and Jay Ramras (considered a "RINO") filled out for CPG are available HERE. However, an eagle-eyed citizen spotted a discrepancy between the questionnaires. While the questionnaire filled out by Ramras and Burke has 18 questions, the questionnaire filled out by Treadwell only has 15 questions. The following questions were omitted from Treadwell's questionnaire:
-- Have you or would you join with Democrats to form a majority legislative coalition rather than joining with Republicans to form a majority coalition?
-- Would you support the construction and operation of a clinic in the Anchorage/Mat-Su regions that only treats Medicare patients using a series of specified guidelines (put forth in three parts)...?
-- Do you support predator control?
The media did not catch this discrepancy, and the CPG has not explained it. The commenter to the ADN story (AK574) suspects this was a deliberate attempt by CPG to make Treadwell "a better fit". The CPG has since withdrawn their endorsement of Treadwell, and did not pick a substitute.
Now that all of this has been said, Eddie Burke's best strategy would be to leave off hammering the CPG over their endorsement, and re-direct his efforts against both Treadwell and Ramras. As a matter of fact, on May 13th, Burke showed even more powerful evidence why he is electable; he issued a press release supporting Arizona's SB1070 immigration enforcement law. This shows that Eddie Burke takes America's sovereignty seriously. Though Alaska is far from the Mexican border, we still have an estimated 50,000 illegal aliens in our state, and OJJPAC still designates Anchorage as a sanctuary city, so our candidates need to be sensitive to these concerns.
Eddie Burke isn't merely the best choice - he's the ONLY real choice for conservatives.