I had the pleasure of meeting ex-Alaska State Representative Ray Metcalfe this evening in Anchorage. He was at Anchorage's F Street Station, meeting with fishermen who are attending the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting being held in the adjacent Anchorage Hilton.
It was my first meeting with Metcalfe. I've been reading about him and reading articles by him for years. He was dressed up, from having attended the Kott sentencing this morning. He's very forthright and direct. He does ramble a bit, but unlike his potential challenger in the upcoming Democratic Party primary, my BS meter didn't immediately go off. It didn't go off through the whole meeting.
One of the guys there was a hardy, longtime Alaska commercial fisher who has seen them all. Politicians, to be sure. But also bullshit artists of all stripes. This guy - I don't think he wants his name out there - has fished all over the North Pacific. I met him long ago. A few million miles have since passed under the keels of his many vessels. He's contributed to slimy Alaska politicians of all stripes over the years, knowing that to have a stake in fishery policy changes, you have to be a player.
Another described going to GOP fundraisers in Alaska and Washington where the mounds of checks and cash donated by fishery contributors must have been far, far higher than the amounts for those events that eventually showed up on the FEC campaign filing report breakdowns.
These guys despise the Stevens family. They LOVE Ray Metcalfe. As I listened to the stories, most of which have been documented at least partially elsewhere, and watched Metcalfe come back with information that gave even more depth to their accounts, I wondered, "Why is Metcalfe still alive?"
Well, he is, and he's running against the guy these fishers have come to loathe. He convinced them. It turned into an impromptu fundraiser.
Ray Metcalfe says he's going to take this campaign very seriously. He's not going to be a single-issue candidate, and is developing a platform that addresses all the issues important to Alaskans. That being said, Metcalfe says people bring him new information every day. I watched it happen for two hours.