Quick thread on Alaska's U.S. Senate race, since people have been asking about it this morning.
Dem-endorsed independent Al Gross, who's trailing by nearly 60,000 votes put out a memo this morning saying: We still think we're going to win. Here it is #AKleg#AKsen#AKelect (1/x)
Their argument, summarized, is: Only about 200,000 votes have been counted so far, and as many as 150,000 absentee/early/questioned ballots won't be counted until starting next week (more on that delay in a separate story).
Gross: "A question mark on this race should remain"
The campaign of Gross' opponent, incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, sees the math very differently -- as do a number of Dems/progressives I've spoken to.
Gross trails by about 60,000 votes. In theory, he needs to win @ least 70% of the uncounted votes to pull even.
One big change now that a second set of results are reporting: Robb Myers (R) takes a 1,600-vote lead over independent Marna Sanford in Fairbanks/North Pole with 8 of 12 precincts reporting. At least 5,000 or so ballots won't be counted til next week.
A few observations from reporting this week on the new crisis state of Alaska's budget. (thread)
(The situation was summarized by multiple sources familiar with the matter as: "We are f***ed.) #AKleg
The first and most striking fact: Even if oil prices recover to $35/barrel next year (and they're at $23/barrel now), Alaska still will not have enough cash to pay another year's bills -- even without any Permanent Fund dividend whatsoever.
Putting this another way: Alaska has $1.4 billion in its main savings account. It's going to spend $1 billion of that in the next fiscal year. Then we'll have a $500 million deficit and only $400 million to pay for it. (Again, this is if and only if oil prices recover.)
The state Legislature approved the prohibition in the early 1990s.
The legislator who pushed for the law told me he did that because when lobbyists help candidates fundraise, it makes it harder for the candidates to say no to lobbyists' requests once they're in office
I did a bunch of reporting and found what seemed to be pretty clear cases of two lobbyists violating the prohibition on fundraising activity -- they'd been emailing out invitations to fundraiser events to their clients and friends.