Jake Metcalfe's career in Alaska politics ended last September, when, according to Dana Crawchuk, his campaign manager at that time, Jake agreed with his top advisor that it would be OK to buy up some domain names attached to Ethan Berkowitz's name. After that, web sites were created that were meant to deceive voters and the media. The failed plan's launch was about three weeks ago. The plan worked for about a half a day.
Since then, Metcalfe's doomed campaign has spun out, mostly due to unprecedented collaborations in Alaska media.
Metcalfe gambled, in his opening weekend, that by announcing his resignation as Chair of the Alaska Democratic Party and filing for the office with the Federal Elections Commission, from Washington, D.C, he would send a message to Mark Begich, Ethan Berkowitz and Eric Croft that might deter them from running against Diane Benson in the August 26 primary.
Here's the YouTube announcement he posted, taped in Washington, D.C:
What can you say? Other than it came out of the wrapper, already toast...
KUDO Radio, owned when Metcalfe announced, by the IBEW, for whom Metcalfe was then and is chief counsel, went "Woopie!!!" for a couple of days. The connections of Metcalfe to KUDO and the IBEW and how that has played out locally may be the only historical features of value to his otherwise undistinguished campaign.
Needless to say, Jake's antics over the past eight months have pissed off a lot of Democrats.
As slimy antics by politicians getting exposed to the media during the course of battle - Hello!, Goodbye, John Lindauer comes to mind - are conjured, this wasn't much. And, if you look around the country this winter and spring, there's a lot of creepy stuff being slung at Democrats by other Democrats. And by Republicans against Democrats.
This didn't compare to 98% of that stuff. But the fake web site story was something else, and was handled quite well by the collaborators - KUDO's Aaron Selbig, APRN's David Shurtleff, the Anchorage Press's Brendan Joel Kelley, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's Robert Dillon. It was something else for at least two reasons.
First, the story got attention by showing that old-school politics in Alaska thrives on both sides of the party aisle. Secondly, it highlighted the importance the press is showing toward this contest for the privilege of representing the Democratic Party to take back that seat in congress.
image of Jake Metcalfe with handler descending the Sitka ferry terminal ramp, on their way to town with me, back on August 30, 2007