The Alaska Division of Elections leadership yesterday voided a citizen-based recall petition against Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) saying it does not meet legal qualifications. Under Alaska state law, a Governor may be recalled for lack of fitness, incompetence, neglect of duties, or corruption. The group was accusing Gov. Dunleavy of not appointing a Superior Court judge within the 45-day mandated vacancy period, cutting funding for the Judiciary, and sending partisan messages through state-funded communication pieces. At this point, the recall effort will not continue. Gov. Dunleavy next faces voters in 2022.
At-large US Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), the Dean of the House of Representatives with 46 years of service after winning a special election in 1973, announced that he will run for a 24th term next year. It looks like we may see a re-match of the 53-47% campaign ran in 2018. Also looking to declare her candidacy is the 2018 Democratic nominee, Alyse Galvin.
A new Alaska Survey Research poll (10/26-29; 500 AK likely voters) finds former US Senator Mark Begich (D) pulling into a virtual tie with ex-state Senator Mike Dunleavy (R) in the now open Governor’s campaign. The poll finds Dunleavy holding the smallest of edges, 45.5 – 45.3%, over Mr. Begich. The race has obviously tightened substantially since Gov. Bill Walker (I) exited the race and threw his support behind Begich.
The latter man served one term in the Senate, defeating veteran Sen. Ted Stevens (R) in 2008 but then losing to current Sen. Dan Sullivan (R) six years later. Prior to serving in the Senate, Mr. Begich was twice elected as Mayor of Anchorage. This Governor’s race is now an obvious toss-up campaign entering the final days.
Alaska Survey Research is reporting the first statewide polling figures since Independent Gov. Bill Walker ended his run for re-election and endorsed former US Senator Mark Begich (D). The ASR poll (10/19-22; 500 AK likely voters) gives former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R) a 48-44% lead over ex-Sen. Begich. The only way that either Walker or Begich had of derailing Dunleavy was to coalesce behind one candidate. Now that such has happened, this race is expected to become even closer.
It has long been suggested that either Gov. Bill Walker (I) or former Sen. Mark Begich (D) drop out of the Governor’s race to coalesce their support against Republican former state Senator Mike Dunleavy. All polls were showing Mr. Dunleavy with a substantial lead in the three-way contest.
In an unexpected move over the weekend, one candidate did drop out. In a surprising announcement, Gov. Walker stated he is ending his campaign three weeks before the election and quickly yielded to Mr. Begich. This development makes the contest more competitive and will drastically change the closing days. Whether or not projected outcome of a Dunleavy victory becomes distorted remains to be seen, but certainly former Sen. Begich is now in an unimpeded position to score a come-from-behind victory.
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot (I), who was Gov. Bill Walker’s (I) original choice for Lt. Governor and served throughout the Administration, has resigned his position. He admits to making inappropriate, but unspecified comments. Mr. Mallot was immediately replaced in office and on the ballot. Gov. Walker chose Indian healthcare policy advisor Valerie Nurr’arsoluk Davidson both as Lt. Governor and as his running mate for re-election.
The appointment may be short-lived, however. Polling indicates Gov. Walker is trailing badly and is on the precipice of losing his office on November 6th.
Polling continues to suggest that the nation’s lone Independent Governor, Alaska’s Bill Walker, likely will not win a second term. A new Alaska Survey Research firm poll (10/1-6; 500 AK registered voters) projects Republican former state Senator Mike Dunleavy to be holding a commanding 47-27-23% lead over Gov. Walker and former US Senator Mark Begich, the Democratic nominee. It was believed at the time he entered the race that ex-Sen. Begich’s presence in the contest would likely tip the balance toward the eventual Republican nominee. Such appears to be happening.
Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), the Dean of the US House, was first elected in a 1973 special election and has won 21 additional statewide elections. In recent campaigns, however, his margins have grown smaller. Now, pollster Ivan Moore of the Alaska Survey Research firm released a new study conducted the first week of this month (500 AK likely voters) finding Rep. Young leading his Democratic challenger Alyse Galvin, an education reform activist, by just a 50-46% clip.
Seeing polls like this from Alaska are not particularly surprising, and Young’s victory percentages in the last two elections have declined to 50.3 and 51.0%. But, since many independent and minor party candidates run in the Last Frontier, the highest percentage registered against him in those electoral contests is 41.
The nation’s lone Independent Governor might lose if a new Alaska Survey Research poll is accurate. The study (9/21-25; 500 AK certain and very likely voters) finds Republican former state Senator Mike Dunleavy leading ex-US Senator Mark Begich (D) and Gov. Bill Walker (I), 44-29-23%, respectively, in the three-way contest.
Originally, most believed that the three-way format would be the main reason that Walker would fail to win a second term, but this poll suggests differently. While Mr. Dunleavy holds a 40:23% favorability rating, former Sen. Begich drops into unfavorable territory at 35:39%, but Gov. Walker falls even deeper to 31:49%.
Dispelling the idea that Walker fares better in a two-way, this poll finds that he would lose to both Dunleavy and Begich in one-on-one races. Against Dunleavy alone, Walker would lose, 54-41%. If Mr. Begich were his only opponent, the Governor would trail 46-40%.
The three-way race among Gov. Bill Walker, the nation’s lone Independent state chief executive, former US Senator Mark Begich (D), and ex-state Senator Mike Dunleavy (R) became official early this week. Though Walker supporters, including the state AFL-CIO, have been urging Mr. Begich to drop out of the race seeing that polls are uniformly finding Mr. Dunleavy would win a three-way race, he refused to do so.
The adverse split is occurring because Democrats and left-of-center voters are split between Gov. Walker and Mr. Begich, thus allowing the Republican base to push Mr. Dunleavy toward plurality support. In 2014, Mr. Walker and then-Democratic nominee Byron Mallot unified their ticket (Mallot agreed to run as Lt. Governor), which led to unseating then-Gov. Sean Parnell (R).
The state deadline allowing candidates to withdraw post-primary has now elapsed, and all three remain as candidates. It is still possible for a contender to leave the race, but now his name would remain on the ballot. Therefore, the Alaska Governor’s race continues as one of the most interesting statewide campaigns in the country.
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