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Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Sullivan – The Deadliest Fail, Homer Edition

It’s almost become a sport now – like shooting fish in a barrel. In the primary debates, and now as we head into the general election, there is a new kind of question being presented to Senate candidates.  It falls under the genre “How Alaskan are You?”

In the primary debate between Mead Treadwell (the most Alaskan), Joe Miller (the next most Alaskan) and Dan Sullivan (the DC beltway guy from Ohio for whom these questions are intended) there were questions like:

Have you eaten salmon this week?

Have you ever been to Koyuk? Kipnuk? Kake?

Will you retire in Alaska?

Have you ever been to Chilkoot Charlie’s? (Anchorage’s most famous bar and landmark)

Now that Dan Sullivan has managed to knock off the two Alaskans in the primary with the help of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, and his family and friends in Ohio, he faced Democrat Mark Begich in a debate last night.

And predictably, there was another question about another iconic Alaskan watering hole, at least as well-known as “Koots.”

I refer, of course, to the Salty Dawg Saloon on the spit in beautiful Homer, Alaska. Here’s a little fun history about the Salty Dawg for those of you who have never been there. But if you’ve been to Alaska, and certainly if you’ve ever been to Homer, chances are you’ve darkened their door. The Salty Dawg has been serving locals and visitors alike since before Alaska was a state.


The Salty Dawg started out as one of the first cabins built in 1897, soon after Homer became a town site. It served as the first post office, a railroad station, a grocery store, and a coal mining office for twenty years. In 1909 a second building was constructed, and it served as a school house, post office, grocery store. And at one time, it housed three adults and eleven children.

It was acquired in the late 1940′s by Chuck Abbott to be used as an office for Standard Oil Company. In April of 1957, he opened it as the Salty Dawg Saloon.

Earl Hillstrand, the late State Representative, purchased it in 1960. After the March 1964 “Good Friday” earthquake, he moved the structure to its present location. The distinctive lighthouse tower was added to cover a water storage tank, thus completing one of Homer’s more historical and recognizable landmarks.


Yes. It is indeed a recognizable landmark inside, and out. It sells more tshirts, and sweatshirts, and hats, and hoodies, and beanies, and tank tops, and sweat pants, and boxers, and bandanas, and key rings, and bumper stickers, and tote bags, and shot glasses…. (gasps for air)… than you can shake a stick at. If you choose a hundred Alaskans at random, chances are good that at least a few of them are wearing a Salty Dawg clothing item. Or at least own a beer cozy.

There’s a reason these two establishments were chosen as questions – Chilkoot Charlie’s, and The Salty Dawg. These are not trick questions. They were chosen precisely because Alaskans know in their gut, that if you have no idea what those things are, you’re basically a tourist. A tourist who doesn’t read tourist brochures.

So when the question was asked of Ohio Dan Sullivan, “Where is the Salty Dawg?” it almost seemed too easy. Cringy. Insulting, even. The softball of softballs.

And yet… his answer, written on a white board, and flashed to the audience – for all to see:


At that moment, if you could hear the entire population of the state, as an omniscient observer, it might have gone something like this:

Half of Alaska:  Oh, no he di’int!

The other half of Alaska: Ohhhhh, yes he did!

It might actually have been better for him just to say he didn’t know.

Maybe our friend Dan had better stick with Cleveland. I took the liberty of looking up a list of historical taverns for him in his home town, but then I thought… he probably already knows.




14 Responses to “Sullivan – The Deadliest Fail, Homer Edition”
  1. Sheila Burke says:

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer headlined an article the day after the election that read “Local Man Wins Senate Republican Race In Alaska”

  2. tony vaska says:

    Ask him to properly pronounce the Yup’ik name for the 8th largest city in Alaska: Mamterrilleq,

  3. mike from iowa says:

    Obviously Sullivan doesn’t spend his free time in Alaska. Thanks for reminding all rill Alaskans,troll.

  4. Mike D. says:

    Amusing, but the larger issue here is exactly where does Sullivan stand on the issues?
    I’m not talking about the standard red meat issues that conservatives love. Shooting televisions and equating his combat experience with some vague political fight to win back our lost freedoms tell me nothing.There’s a good chance Sullivan will win this election, which means that he’ll be my state senator as well. And I’ll expect a lot more of him than his arriving in Washington ready to toe the party line by opposing the president on everything and rubber stamping the Koch brothers agenda. If elected and Sullivan wants to pass himself off as true Alaskan, then he should avail himself of the opportunity to be bold and independent and reflect the true pioneering spirit Alaskans pride themselves on. I could care less that he doesn’t know where The Salty Dawg is. It’s more important he remembers the place he’s now calling home.

  5. Mo says:

    Yeah, well our Republicans will vote for Carpetbagger Sullivan anyway. Just you watch.

  6. Alaska Pi says:

    weeellll….if Ohio Dan had wiggled and jiggled a bit about how big this state is he coulda used some of the lines we rill Alaskan folks far from the road/railbelt do to remind RR Alaskans we’re out here, but no, he’s gotta fake it
    this Alaskan has no clue about Koots and only a half a clue about Chilkoot Charlie’s but I know dang well that it is the Red Dog in Juneau if you’re a tourist.
    No cute dawg stuff, just dog.
    and there’s the Bubble Room… also too. ask him if he knows where the Bubble Room is 🙂

  7. Wugmump says:

    Never, never, never, ever miss a vote. You get the gubmint you fail to vote against, and you deserve no less.

  8. Zyxomma says:

    Alaska, if you elect him, I may have to give up on you.

  9. GoBig says:

    It doesn’t get more Alaskan than the Salty Dog, The Bird House, and ‘Coots. I bet he knows the best restaurants on K street.

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