Roll Call: Can Stock Beat Murkowski?

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Eric Garcia of Roll Call: In January, the Alaska Democratic Party adopted a rule change that would allow for candidates not affiliated with a political party to run in the state’s Democratic primary.

“There were a lot of considerations that went into it,” said Kay Brown, executive director for the Alaska Democratic Party. “It’s an effort by the party to be more inclusive.”

Margaret Stock

Margaret Stock

Allowing non-affiliated candidates to be part of the primary might also be an act of pragmatism, as 54 percent of the state’s voters are nonpartisan or unaffiliated, according to state voter registration statistics from 2015. In addition, in the 2014 general election, independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker merged his ticket to make his Democratic rival, Byron Mallott, lieutenant governor – and won, beating Republican incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell.

“It’s an acknowledgement it’s hard for Democrats to get elected statewide,” said a former Democratic official.

However, the lieutenant governor’s office declined to formalize the rule change, which has led to the party filing a lawsuit challenging a state law that requires a candidate running in a party’s primary to be a member of that party.

Brown had positive remarks about Stock, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps.

“Lt. Col. Stock has an impressive background and record and we are looking forward to getting to know her better,” Brown said. “If the rule change is allowed by the Alaska courts, then she would have the opportunity to run in our primary.”

Stock said she would be open to running on the Democratic primary ballot if it were possible.

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