Monday, February 14, 2011

East Anchorage Assembly Candidate Paul Bauer Explains Why He's Running Against Fellow Conservative Adam Trombley To Replace Mike Gutierrez

In the 2010 Anchorage Municipal Election, Tommy O'Malley, James Labelle, and Don Smith ran for Seat A of the Anchorage School Board. Unable to decide between O'Malley and Labelle, the Anchorage Education Association awarded endorsements to both. Subsequently, the two effectively split the liberal vote, permitting the conservative, Don Smith, to win the election. A win for our side.

Now, one year later, the same scenario appears in the East Anchorage Assembly race, only this time it could work against us. Despite the presence of the conservative Adam Trombley in the race to succeed the liberal incumbent Mike Gutierrez, former Assemblyman Paul Bauer decided to formally jump into the race on February 11th, the last day for filing. Bauer was decisively defeated by Gutierrez in 2008. This move immediately triggered concern amongst Republicans and conservatives that Bauer and Trombley could split the conservative vote, handing the seat to Gutierrez on April 5th.

-- List of Assembly and School Board candidates HERE
-- List of Ballot Propositions HERE

In response to this concern, Bauer issued a press release reaffirming his commitment to this campaign and explaining why he jumped into the race anyway. Bauer notes that when he jumped into the other East Anchorage Assembly race in 2010 against Trombley and eventual winner Paul Honeman, Mayor Dan Sullivan and other Republicans persuaded him to bow out to prevent a split vote, promising to support him in a 2011 campaign against Gutierrez. Bauer agreed, and Trombley finished second, but with an impressive 44.8 percent of the vote.

Despite the fact that Bauer took Sullivan at his word and filed a letter of intent for 2011 soon after the 2010 election, the Republican establishment decided to apply its muscle behind Adam Trombley, who also filed a letter of intent for 2011. Trombley has been endorsed by Sullivan, former Assemblyman Dan Coffey, the Anchorage Tea Party, and the Conservative Patriots Group. So Bauer now feels that the Republican establishment reneged on their promise, and believes he owes them nothing.

Paul Bauer sums up the justification for his campaign in this one paragraph:

Bauer is a proven conservative who has demonstrated that he fights for conservative principles. Bauer’s long-time military and civilian work experience and cultural exposure has given him the wisdom and knowledge to represent his district effectively. He fought against Mayor Mark Begich’s budget increases, initiated efforts to delete Anchorage off the “Sanctuary City” list; exposed Mayor Begich’s pet “E Street” project, questioned huge executive pay increases and ML&P use of taxpayer dollars as donations; fought for a community friendly Wal-Mart and Chester Valley Elementary school improvements.

Of course Bauer has more experience -- he's 55 years old, while Trombley is only 31. But when initialized against his age, Trombley's experience is just as useful and pertinent to the district. Trombley is an enterpreneur who's served on the Municipal Budget Advisory Commission and who has volunteered extensively with Anchorage's youth community. Considering that Anchorage is grappling with fiscal problems, Trombley's service on a budget commission would seem quite pertinent. But Bauer contends his lengthier experience is much more essential to the district during a time of fiscal uncertainty. Bauer provides a quick comparison of all three candidates HERE.

It should also be noted that Paul Bauer added to his experience by taking on the task of managing a national U.S. Senate campaign. Bauer was the campaign manager for U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller; while Bauer was aboard, the Miller campaign experienced its greatest success, rocketing from 32 points back in the polls to a primary victory in just two months. It was only after Bauer was unceremoniously fired by Miller on August 13th, 2010, just two weeks before the primary election, and replaced by Barrow lawyer Robert Campbell did the Miller campaign begin its long slide downward, punctuated by an inexplicable series of rookie mistakes. Miller did NOT make those types of mistakes when Bauer was the campaign manager.

In the final analysis, the choice is between Paul Bauer's experience and his willingness to stand firm under adversity and attack vs. Adam Trombley's youth and potential. A tough decision for East Anchorage, and I couldn't even make a choice at this point of the campaign.

Update February 17th: Bryan Hickok has published an excellent analysis of this race on The Alaska Standard, and like me and many others, wonders just what Paul Bauer is thinking. Hickok believes that even if as many as four out of five conservative voters in East Anchorage reject Bauer's message and support Adam Trombley, that still won't be enough to stop Mike Gutierrez. Hickok concludes, "One would be hard pressed to find a more fitting example of political selfishness, bitterness, and resentment then Paul Bauer entering the East Anchorage assembly race last Friday. No matter his true motivation, Mr. Bauer's actions have resulted in a greater likelihood of a Gutierrez win".


  1. I know and like Paul and his wife. I've donated time and money to Paul previous assembly races. I really don't see how Paul can possibly win - he didn't last time and Gutierrez now has incumbancy.

    From what I can tell Paul just wants to play the spoiler to get revenge on Sullivan. Personally, I'd rather see a conservative than a liberal. Trombley is a conservative who will win - if Paul doesn't screw it up by taking 5-7% of the vote.

  2. Robert - I absolutely share your frustration. I think Paul Bauer is a standup guy -- he's taking strong stands against illegal immigration against harsh opposition.

    I hope he's not trying to get revenge on Sullivan. Bauer should have run for a school board seat this time. He could have defeated Gretchen Guess.

  3. Follow-up post made to The Alaska Standard piece on Paul Bauer -

  4. Thanks for the heads-up, Bryan. Your Standard piece is first-rate; I've excerpted and linked it on this post now.

    Unfortunately, even if Mr. Bauer was to drop out now, his name would still appear on the April 5th ballot, and some people would still vote for him, because the official Feb. 15 withdrawal deadline has passed.

  5. A 2nd follow-up to my column on the alaskastandard has been posted.

  6. The link is