In-person fundraising continues for Alaska Republicans

A photo taken at a fundraiser in Homer Friday shows Republican Lawmakers and state officials...
A photo taken at a fundraiser in Homer Friday shows Republican Lawmakers and state officials closely gathered inside. (Courtesy Sen. Peter Micciche)(Sen. Peter Micciche)
Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 6:02 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A photo making the rounds on social media shows a number of Alaska republican lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, and state officials, posing for a photo indoors without masks and very little distancing.

The photo in question shows around 45 people gathered in a dining room, smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera. It was taken on the phone of State Sen. Peter Micciche, R-District O, who said it was not indicative of the whole event.

“The photo that people saw was a single moment in time.”

He added organizers followed guidelines for spacing tables and sanitizing, and masks were offered at the door. There were also many other attendees calling in remotely.

“As people arrived, they were given a handbag that had two different kinds of one’s face shield and one’s face mask, they had their choice," he said.

However many chose not to wear masks. Videos of the event that have surfaced on social media show many of the attendees in the photo not wearing masks, including while many sang.

Sullivan is seen wearing his, however.

Wearing a mask is not mandated by the State, Kenai Peninsula borough, or Homer, though state health guidelines do strongly recommend wearing one, along with keeping a distance of six feet between yourself and others and keeping circles and interactions small when possible.

Micciche argued masking and distancing are personal choices.

“I think adults, such as in this case, at the State Central Committee meeting need to decide what’s right for them,” he said.

Micciche and several others in attendance work in or represent part of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, which has some of the lowest rates of Covid-19 in the state. KPB Mayor Charlie Pierce, also in attendance, argued those numbers show the peninsula has done a good job following state guidelines.

“You had 190-something cases in the state today, I understand, and two of those cases were in Soldotna,” he said.

While Republicans continue to hold in-person events, state Democrats have switched to mostly-remote events. Fundraisers are all held online.

“We do have some volunteer efforts where we have had people come together, but we always do it outside, six feet apart, masks on, and limit the number,” said Lindsay Kavanaugh, Executive Director of the Alaska Democratic Party.

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