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January 22, 2022



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Friday, November 19, 2021

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

BREAKING: Alaska Democratic Party Chair Steps Down to Challenge Millett in November (UPDATE)

~Patti Higgins, announcing her retirement as Democratic Party Chair

Linda Kellen Biegel who is at the Alaska Democratic Convention in Fairbanks this weekend, reports that Democratic Party Chair Patti Higgins has just announced she’ll be stepping down to run against incumbent Republican State Representative Charisse Millett this November.

“I will be passing the gavel,” said Higgins.

The gavel will be passed to the new Party Chair. Mike Wenstrup of Fairbanks, the current chair of the Interior Democrats, is the only other Democrat that was running against Higgins for the Chair position. Wenstrup has an impressive track record of victories for the party, and for sustaining a strong slate of Democrats in interior Alaska.  Both Fairbanks Senators Joe Thomas and Joe Paskvan, as well as Representatives David Guttenberg, Scott Kawasaki and Bob Miller are Democrats.

~New incoming ADP Chair Michael Wenstrup, and Senator Mark Begich (file photo)

Last week at the eventful Republican convention in Anchorage, Randy Ruedrich, long-time Party Chair, announced he would be stepping down. Ron Paul and Joe Miller supporters installed Russ Millette, a little-known candidate sympathetic to that group, as Republican Party Chair.


Editor’s Note:

There was some controversy raised at the convention about this article being premature in its reporting of events. We’d like to be perfectly clear, that Linda Kellen Biegel (who is actually the only Journalism major on the editorial staff) was present at the banquet Friday night when Higgins made her announcement, and at the meeting the following morning when she said she would be passing the gavel. She verified the facts, and what she would be reporting, with the Democratic Party leadership on the dais before reporting them to me. I wrote the story, which I then verified again. After publication, this story was retweeted by the Alaska Democratic party itself, once again verifying what had been reported as legitimate and accurate.

Sometimes, “the blogosphere” actually gets the breaking news, folks.

Many thanks to Linda Kellen Biegel for doing a great job, as always, and for being out in the fray.

Congratulations to Chair Elect of the Alaska Democratic Party (by unanimous consent) Michael Wenstrup, who will assume his official duties in January.


 Congratulations to Michael Wenstrup!


~Delegate Ray Metcalfe, and winners of the Jim Doogan Lifetime Achievement Award, Barbara and Hal Gazaway.

~Morning color guard

~Katie McAdams, and her dad Scott

~Welcoming the returning troops coming home to Fairbanks





14 Responses to “BREAKING: Alaska Democratic Party Chair Steps Down to Challenge Millett in November (UPDATE)”
  1. betel says:

    Good luck to Patti Higgins, she will be an extremely positive member of the legislature who is wiling to listen to all. Guaranteed, Patti will work hard and make Alaskans proud.

    The Mudflats folks have to feel like there is some remaining egg on their faces after posting an article that was clearly premature regarding the passing of the gavel from Patti to Mike. A simple, “it is likely,” in front of the sentence, “The gavel will be passed,” would have sufficed as well as adding, “nominations from the floor will take place before the vote on Sunday.”

    Moreover, this startling announcement read by many delegates on Saturday prior to the Sunday vote is the realization that The Mudflats was only the messenger.

  2. David Otness says:

    She said-he said-they said–sordid.

    The arrogance and sense of entitlement.

    Oh, BTW, “He then stayed in Anchorage until Sept. 6, when he and Millett visited Homer and attended a “Voices for the Ocean” event.”
    Johansen is no friend of anything remotely positive to the environment in general.
    Totally down on Coastal Zone Management.
    I’ll bet they had a real nice view and room service from the Land’s End resort……

    Then there was that resolution regarding a park in New York or New York City, a play right out of the Don Young beanie-propeller cap.
    I’m posting this piece from Ratfish to all the people I know in Ketchikan and SE on FB.
    I suggest all others do too.
    Enough of this crap.

  3. EatWildFish says:

    Ratfish: WOW!! Alaskans are picking up the tab for Millet and Johansen’s love trysts.

    What unbelievable audacity!

  4. ISeeVillagesFromMyHouse says:

    Millette is one of those obstructionists that cuts her nose off to spite her face, at the cost of her constituents.

    I’d be really be surprised if her district would vote for her again, a tough general not withstanding.

    Much luck to Higgins. I really hope Alaskan Dems get some heft to their game, and become a formidable force for the State’s future.

  5. margarita mixxe says:

    Millette sucks. I am a republican and will NOT vote for her again. She needs to keep her pants on and remember who she works for.

  6. Marilyn says:

    Hmmmmm….a bit of a premature announcement……we haven’t VOTED on this yet, there can still be nominations from the floor tomorrow…..sort of like hearing on the news that Carter lost before you cast your vote…..sometimes this ‘media’ frenzy to be the first to announce something could be detrimental to the overall flavor of the convention which is to ELECT a new director and THEN announce it.

    • Happy Place says:

      I agree that factual accuracy is critical. Please be advised you’re electing a “chair,” not “director.” 😉

    • Marilyn says:

      The issue isn’t the name of the position held, chair, director, president, its announcing it before the ELECTED DELEGATES get a chance to vote on the matter… disenfranchises delegates when it appears ‘appointments’ are in place in matters they are ELECTED to vote on….nothing wrong with announcing Patti’s resignation; the only problem I, and some other delegates had, was in pairing that with making it appear her replacement was already voted on yesterday, when in truth, no vote was taken until today. I don’t care WHO breaks the news, just lets keep in mind how delegates feel, who have traveled from far and wide and sometimes at great expense, when things of this nature are announced as a done deal when no vote has been taken. We’d like to at least FEEL like we are doing our job……Just sayin’

  7. Ratfish says:

    I wonder if the female half of the Love Caucus will have the audacity to run as a good family values candidate like she did last time- even though she had already started her fling- according to press reports including in certain Capitol “facilities”- with another married person better known as the male half of the Love Caucus.

    The newspaper down in Ketchikan reviewed Johansen’s 2010 campaign finance disclosure documents, which are available through the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

    “Also, given the circumstances of Johansen’s departure from the House Majority Leader position and the House Majority Caucus, in addition to the long-running public speculation about the relationship between the two legislators, the Daily News reviewed the same basic state travel reports on file for Rep. Charisse Millett for 2009 and 2010, as well as some of the supporting documentation.

    Johansen has told constituents and the Daily News that the two legislators were no more than close friends…..

    Later in March, Johansen and Millett were among the 26 Alaska legislators who traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the Energy Council conference, according to state records.

    ……In April 2009, Johansen and Millett attended the National Conference of State Legislatures in Washington, D.C., followed immediately by the Alaska Geothermal Conference in Fairbanks, according to state records…..

    …….Then, state records show state payments for travel and conference fees for Johansen to attend the mid-May spring conference of the Council of State Governments in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho. State records indicate a state payment for Millett for travel related to the same conference…..

    ….in late May 2009, Johansen traveled to Bethel for an Energy Committee meeting (also attended by Millett), then stayed in Anchorage through June 5, when he returned to Ketchikan.

    State per-diem records indicate that Johansen was in Ketchikan for most of June and July of 2009.
    Millett claimed state per-diem payments for work in Ketchikan on July 6 and July 7….

    Johansen’s next trip began Aug. 24, 2009, when he traveled from Ketchikan to Anchorage ahead of an Energy Committee meeting and community tours in Dutch Harbor (Aug. 26-30). He then stayed in Anchorage until Sept. 6, when he and Millett visited Homer and attended a “Voices for the Ocean” event.

    After returning from Homer, Johansen remained in Anchorage through Sept. 11, when he traveled to the North Slope for a tour of the Oooguruk oil field, then continued on to Juneau and Haines for a Southeast Conference event and an Energy Committee meeting in Haines. Millet’s schedule parallelled that of Johansen.

    On Oct. 2, Johansen departed from Anchorage on a trip that tagged Seattle and Dallas en route to Santa Fe, N.M., for a meeting of the Council of State Governments-West. State records indicate Millett also traveled to Santa Fe.

    The CSG-W meeting itself was Oct. 5-8.

    A vehicle rented by Johansen from Oct. 4 to Oct. 8 logged 402 miles, according to rental receipts submitted to the state for reimbursement. The vehicle then was rented to Johansen again from Oct. 8 through Oct. 11. The vehicle was driven another 1,052 miles during the second rental period, according to the second receipt, which also was submitted for state reimbursement and paid for by the state…..

    ……State records show payments for Johansen and Millett related to the Energy and Environment Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyo., which was scheduled for Oct. 25-27….

    …..One aspect of Johansen’s Anchorage-area travel that remains unclear from the state records is where the representative stayed during much of his time there during 2009 and 2010. The state records obtained by the Daily News indicate one Johansen reimbursement request specific to lodging in the Anchorage area during those two years.

    Johansen was back in Ketchikan on Oct. 12…..

    ….After the Legislature reconvened on Jan. 19, 2010, Johansen’s brisk pace of travel continued during the legislative session.

    He took quick trips in January from Juneau to Anchorage for an Alaska Support Industry Alliance meeting, and from Juneau to Ketchikan for the “Throw the Breaker” party for the Swan Lake – Tyee Lake Intertie. State records indicate Millett also traveled to Anchorage and Ketchikan at the same times.

    State records also indicate a trip by Johansen from Juneau to Girdwood on Feb. 5-7 for a Challenge Alaska event. Johansen submitted a hotel receipt from the Alyeska Resort for reimbursement. The receipt is in Johansen’s name, but gives Millett’s home address. State records for Millett show travel Feb. 5-7 on the same flights as Johansen between Juneau and Anchorage, for the stated purpose of a “constituent meeting on HB281.”

    …..In early March 2010, Johansen and Millett were among the 21 Alaska legislators who attended the Energy Council conference in Washington D.C…….

    …His other pre-adjournment trip was from Juneau to Anchorage April 1-5, also for “state business.” Millet traveled from Juneau to Anchorage on April 1-6 to attend the Red Cross Real Heroes breakfast, according to state records…..

    After the legislative session ended, Johansen went to Anchorage, made a quick trip back to Ketchikan on April 23-25, and returned to Anchorage before attending the Rural Energy Conference in Fairbanks on April 27-28. State records indicate that Millett also attended the Fairbanks event.

    ….According to state records, Johansen traveled back to Ketchikan from Anchorage on May 7, 2010.

    Johansen returned to Anchorage later that month, apparently staying from May 23 through June 3.

    He and Millett were in Ketchikan to attend the June 11 christening of the MV Susitna at the Ketchikan Shipyard, and Gov. Sean Parnell’s signing of Millett’s HB365 legislation. State records indicate that Johansen and Millett traveled to Anchorage on June 14. Johansen, whose stated purpose for the trip was legislative and state meetings, returned to Ketchikan on June 24.

    Johansen then took a July 15-21 trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to attend the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region annual summit. Millett also attended the PNWER event, according to state records….

    ……Johansen’s final campaign disclosure report for the 2010 election apparently was faxed on Feb. 15, 2011, to the Alaska Public Offices Commission from the office of Rep. Millett, as evidenced by the time stamp across the top of each page.

    • slipstream says:

      The course of true love never did run smooth

      A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1, Line 134

    • Millie says:

      This information needs to be published besides just on this Blog! Might be interesting going to the Anchorage Daily News once Millet begins her campaign.

      I hope Patti wins the seat! We need someone like her!

  8. Stephen Gingrich says:

    Sorry, folks, but this doesn’t begin to top what the R’s did. 🙂

  9. John says:

    Go Patti!

  10. GoI3ig says:

    bravo. best of luck!

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