The independent campaign of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott debuted its first campaign ad of the 2018 elections today.
In a not-so-subtle hint at the state’s fiscal crisis, the ad features the two shoveling a snow bank as peanut gallery featuring a man in a suit (played by Greg Hobson) and another in cowboy boots (played by Donnie McCann) sit idly by offering advice, but not a hand.
“It’s supposed to warm up next week anyways,” says McCann, “it’s a wasted effort altogether.”
“I actually wouldn’t have let it snow this way in the first place,” Hobson replies.
Walker’s only lines in the ad come in a short exchange with Mallott, who shows up with his own shovel midway through the video to lend a hand to shoveling out the driveway.
It finishes with the slogan “Some people talk. Leaders do the work.”
The ad’s trying to send the message that Walker’s time in office has been marked with difficult decisions–oh, like vetoing the PFD in 2016–but that he’s been willing to get to work while others–oh, like the Republicans who’ve scoffed at his revenue plans and insisted things will get better on their own–have sat back and criticized his efforts.
The ad doesn’t, however, lend any more direction on whether Walker and Mallott plan to enter the Alaska Democratic Party’s primary in order to stave off a Democratic opponent and set up a one-on-one race against the eventual Republican candidate. The Supreme Court ruled last week that Democrats could open their primaries to independents in a move that could give Walker a somewhat easier path to reelection.
Last week, Walker’s campaign said they were still reviewing the decision and, as best we know, that hasn’t changed.
The ad isn’t the first of the political season. Republican candidate Scott Hawkins debuted one over the weekend (we didn’t get the note) where he takes a shotgun to the first 500-pages of the tax code, which the subtitles helpfully tell us is a “monstrocity.”
Hawkins also says “If you’re like me you’re writing a big ol’ check to the U.S. Government,” suggesting that Walker and the House Democrats plan on bringing a big convoluted tax code to Alaska, but ignoring the fact that 80 percent of people who filed personal income taxes in Alaska in 2017 received a refund at tax time (according to IRS data, Alaskans filed 345,844 personal income tax filings in 2017 and received 276,887 returns). So, no, most Alaskans aren’t like Hawkins.
An independent expenditure group backing Republican Mike Dunleavy’s bid for governor paid for ads that played during the Super Bowl and Olympics featuring clips from Dunleavy’s 2012 run for office. That group is funded largely by Dunleavy’s brother.
It’s also not the last of the campaign ads. The Republican Governors Association has already reserved some $1.5 million in ad time in the run up to this fall’s election. Republicans are hopeful they can capitalize on Walker’s unpopularity and pick up Alaska’s governorship.