State Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) announced he is reentering the campaign after suspending his bid “to focus on his health. … Dunleavy made the announcement on Facebook during a live video broadcast.” (Must Read Alaska)
“[R]eports are that” businessman John Binkley (R) “is reluctant to enter the race, at least so far. Four of his children purchased the state’s largest daily newspaper this past fall, and have since returned the Alaska Dispatch News to its original name of the Anchorage Daily News.”
“Some poll results, which are confidential, show” Gov. Bill Walker’s (I) “popularity down and faring poorly in a three-way race, with a Republican candidate, mainly Dunleavy, showing stronger against an independent (Walker) and a Democrat. In a two-way race, with no Democrat and Walker as independent running only against a Republican, the Republican still looks to win, according to the poll conclusions, which were described to the Journal of Commerce.” (Alaska Journal of Commerce)
State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D) “said he was ‘considering’ running against Walker to challenge his proposed fiscal reforms but would defer to” Sen. Mark Begich (D), “whom he said ‘would be a great governor.’”
“Begich criticized Walker’s cuts to the state’s permanent dividend in an interview at a conference of moderate Democrats [in November] in Washington and said Walker has ‘struggled to get things done’ on the North Slope oil pipeline, despite a new memorandum of understanding with Chinese stakeholders.”
“Alaska Democratic Party Executive Director Jay Parmley said the party still plans to back whoever wins its Aug. 21 primary despite having supported Walker three years ago. But he said the fact that there have been discussions ‘with at least two or three Democrats’ is ‘not to be construed as we’re actively searching for a candidate against’ Walker. Complicating matters further, the Alaska Supreme Court hasn’t ruled on a lower court’s decision to allow independents to seek the Democratic nomination. In an interview [last month], Walker didn’t rule out doing just that but noted he has filed as an independent candidate. Parmley said Democrats sought the initial ruling outside of the governor’s own deliberations.” (National Journal)
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"Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court has stepped back from public life. ...She last made public appearances over two years ago. This summer she turned over an office she had kept at the Supreme Court to the court’s most recently retired justice, Anthony Kennedy. Her son Jay O’Connor said in a telephone interview that his mother began to have challenges with her short-term memory. That made some public events more difficult. He says she now stays close to her Phoenix home."
"The Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times. The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined 'on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.' The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with."
"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."