Bill Walker ended the Republican Primary’s gubernatorial race in second place with 33% of the vote to Governor Parnell’s 50%. Although he covered the bases on the traditional issues, Walker really ran his campaign based on one issue: he wants to see some respect for the All-Alaska Gas Line from the North Slope to Valdez where the gas would be converted to Liquefied Natural Gas and exported to Hawaii, Japan, and Whereever. Parnell doesn’t seem to give him the confidence he needs.
Few people who talked to him believe that he will shrug his shoulders and say, “Well, I tried, but it’s over.” The only question is how he will keep the issue alive.
He has said repeatedly that all sorts of options are open to him, but there are really only two that would work: 1) Rent-a-Party and follow the lead of Wally Hickel in 1990; or 2) endorse someone else and get some firm commitments on the All-Alaska option.
Enter Ethan Berkowitz the Democratic nominee — who already has endorsed the All-Alaska option. Walker could endorse Berkowitz, take some votes over to the D’s and get full support for what Walker really wants.
Or, he could go Rent-a-Party and run as a candidate for the Alaska Independence Party. The AIP is scheduled to have a meeting of their leaders tomorrow (Friday) to discuss that option.
That could present some problems, though. The rumor mill was spinning yesterday that the AIP candidate, Don Wright, had withdrawn from the race. Here’s my report to editors, etc, from this morning:
The Division of Elections says they have received nothing from the AIP concerning Don Wright’s dropping out of the gubernatorial campaign. That’s what he said, too, when I asked him yesterday. Meanwhile, the AIP and Wright’s daughter-in-law say he has withdrawn. He just had forgotten about it when he talked to me.
That’s the final word on that subject.
Now — Can Walker (or Wright) actually serve as governor without having a running-mate coming out of the primary election? No one filed in that primary. Another firm answer: Maybe!
Elections says they have dueling legal opinions on the subject, but the general consensus is that the party can appoint someone — even if there was no one in the primary. If it ever becomes necessary, of course, who would choose the Lt. Gov candidate? The party or the candidate?
Let’s take the step toward a Walker victory on the AIP ticket (with or without a running-mate): how many months or years of litigation would it take to resolve the issue (Parnell and Berkowitz, together at last)? And who serves on the third floor if inauguration day passes?
I hope I cleared all that up for you.
Walker has plenty of time since he’s not bound by deadlines right now. It will be the candidate’s decision.