The anti-Dunleavy voters are looking for a winner. That’s no longer the Walker ticket.

Gov. Bill Walker prepares for the 2017 State of the State Address. (Photo by Office of the Governor)

“I’m waiting to see a poll to see who’s up.”

“I wish I could just cast a vote against Dunleavy.”

Over the past few weeks and months, we’ve all heard some variation of the quotes above as moderate and progressive voters wrestle with a three-way race for governor where up until this week, the only thing most could agree on was their opposition to the election of conservative Republican Mike Dunleavy.

Poll after poll of Alaska’s race has demonstrated that. After oscillating between independent Gov. Bill Walker and Democrat Mark Begich, the latest tracker poll by Alaska Survey Research put the two in a dead heat—for second place behind Dunleavy.

The consolidation between campaigns didn’t occur as many hoped before the general election ballots were finalized and printed, and the bickering between Walker supporters and Begich supporters continued while a huge amount of support, volunteer hours and money sat on the sidelines, undecided.

This week’s shocking resignation of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott has changed that.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about the “inappropriate comments” that forced Mallott to abruptly resign and withdraw from the campaign. It’s a matter that’s been muddied by a vague and indecisive response from the administration, welcoming further speculation and rumor mongering that will slow burn and drag on the race for the remaining three weeks before Nov. 6.

It’s a disappointment and a shame that so much of the hard work put into a landmark independent administration that was dealt a bad hand with oil prices and was forced to make the tough decisions is tarnished like this. Has Walker’s four years been perfect? No, of course not, but his willingness to stand up and make those decisions has earned him respect and support of many.

But respect only goes so far when it comes to winning.

The reason Walker can’t be the rallying point for the anti-Dunleavy vote unfortunately has almost nothing to do with his administration or even his administration’s handling of Mallott’s resignation, but the belief that’s been spreading fast as wildfire since Tuesday afternoon: That his already-slim chances of winning are now zero.

It’s going to be impossible for Walker to distance himself from Mallott with this little time. The two were the closest of friends during the 2014 race and the four years of their administration, but now it’s a liability. A liability the anti-Dunleavy voters can’t afford when the stakes are as high as they are.

As cynical as it sounds to be voting against something and not for something, that’s the reality of modern partisan politics. Walker’s legacy in office—the good for progressives like Medicaid expansion, significant progress between the state and Alaska Natives and the promise of a gasline—will assuredly be unwound by a Dunleavy administration, even if Democrats hold a chamber in the Legislature.

Simply put, the anti-Dunleavy crowd of voters is frantically looking for any clue of who has the best chance of prevailing against Dunleavy and now that we have that in hand, those on-the-fence voters have already started to make their decision. With time, a better response and a different race, Walker’s campaign and image could surely recover and the decision between Walker and Begich could revert back to the status quo, but we’re less than three weeks away.

Begich has a narrow path to prevailing in November, but at the very least he still has a path.

More from TMS

4 Comments on "The anti-Dunleavy voters are looking for a winner. That’s no longer the Walker ticket."

  1. “The promise of a gasline”– with the ChiComs? The ones with a million Ughyurs(sp?) in concentration camps already and how many dissident intellectuals? And how China conducts its construction business worldwide? Clueless, aincha?
    Good grief! Does anyone pay attention to U.S.foreign policy–even ongoing back to the TPP under Obama?
    It was all about containing China (as well as depriving us of our sovereignty by the corporate world.)
    So in a feat of brilliance assuming he could “trump” U.S. policy, Walker commits Alaska lock, stock and barrel and spends millions upon millions in putting us into near bondage with a nation the U.S. defense establishment and State Department considers a prime threat to the U.S.?
    And the Republican (gerrymandered) majorities under Parnell raising the budget through the roof prior to and during the 2014 fight over SB 21 right before the bottom fell out of oil?
    Tres convenient. Walker conceded all as soon as he hit office–including his quasi-opposition to SB 21.
    There are nasty entities out there, powerful ones at that, who rather enjoy Alaska’s plight, the one they’ve so successfully engineered on their way to getting at the PF and the PFD.
    Saudi Arabia and the U.S. colluded to challenge Russia’s dependence on oil and Alaska was a minor victim. That is, unless you happen to be a minor from a less-than-affluent family in Alaska. “Take no prisoners” from Alaska’s already-wealthy. They were the ones with the plan already (Alaska’s Future) to take advantage of their own crisis. It’s the Karl Rove Republican thing to do that exposed so many Alaskan quasi-“progressives” for their willingness to hurt the “Least among you” just so your own state-funded pity-party could continue without interrupting the status quo of “those in the know.”
    What a waste of four years and the fact oil is bouncing around $80 per bbl seems to have left this airless room.
    Certain herd animals deserve Dunleavy, they are the ones who went along with this B.S. that the sky has completely fallen. And the blameless Republicans who originally did this to us? They just keep going and going and ….
    Alaska has become a fool’s paradise, nobody remembers why long-term strategies (such as adopted by the major oil companies) have parallel political outcomes IF, but only IF, you connect the dots.
    God help us in our ignorance.

  2. We are behind Dunleavy, the Democrats have gone too far left!

  3. Paul A Shadura II | October 19, 2018 at 11:10 pm | Reply

    Dunleavy has no plans to move Alaska forward, not one! Just a bunch of rhetoric! It hasn’t changed from when he was a Senator. Nobody likes him, he just kept saying the same things over and over again with “no depth”. I say that Begich should grab the bull by the horns and get Walker to commit to being the Lt. Governor (he is an independent). Call can still be a useful leader in the cabinet, probably more effective. Alaska needs the LNG project and Walker, if nothing else has moved it forward further than anyone or any other entity. Owning the majority stake in the line will give us a piece of the pie that we can control and a percentage of return on investment. Dumleavy says, “the state should not be apart of it”. What a weak statement! Walker could be vested by Begich to continue to lead the LNG project as well as protecting the seal of the State. It is a match that will bring sincerity,strength and hope to all Alaskans. Otherwise four more years of deadlock with no mega projects and no increased revenues. Industry is already considering the Russian transport concept, leaving Alaskan’s, Alaskan businesses and our potential to have natural available to heat our homes and create jobs. Basically left in the COLD and out of the loop. The only thing that will be stranded is Alaska’s future.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.