The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Bill Walker's bio omitted from official election pamphlet

Independent governor candidate will be featured in future supplement


Valdez Star photo

This display on Hanagita St. shows the popularity of Bill Walker's independent bid for the governor's office.

Independent governor candidate Bill Walker's name is on the ballot, but his biography and photo are nowhere to be found in the state's official election pamphlet.

The Division of Elections neglected to include the independent gubernatorial candidate's information in its publication sent to Alaska voters in the mail in recent days.

The Walker campaign issued a written statement Monday, agreeing with the explanation given by state election officials for the omission.

"We learned about two weeks ago there had been an oversight by the Division of Elections: they had inadvertently failed to request my candidate information for inclusion in the official Alaska voter pamphlet," Walker's statement said. "Because I had not been a candidate in the Primary Election and therefore not included in the Primary Election guide, they overlooked including me in the General Election guide."

Walker's running mate, Byron Mallott, is included in the pamphlet. The online version of the pamphlet, available on the Div. of Elections website, has been corrected.

"When the Division learned of the omission, they quickly gathered the necessary information and printed a supplement to the official Alaska voter pamphlet," Walker said. "Those supplements will be landing in voters' mailboxes soon."

Walker's independent bid to become governor has seen its share of surprises.

The campaign made nationwide news in August after the primary election. As an independent candidate, Walker and his former running mate, Criag Fleener, were not on the ballot because the results of the primary election determines which candidates will be on the general election ballot to represent specific political parties.

Byron Mallott, who won the primary election for the Democratic party, abandoned his bid for governor to run as Walker's running mate as Lt. Governor.

Both candidates dropped their respective running mates to form what the campaign is calling the Unity Ticket.

The unusual move spawned a lawsuit, which was dismissed a week ago Friday.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit that challenged the merged campaigns of two Alaska said he will not appeal the judge's ruling that an emergency order allowing the ticket was valid.

Plaintiff Steve Strait said, however, that state lawmakers should enact a permanent regulation to address a legal "train wreck" - the label used by Superior Court Judge John Suddock in describing a gap in Alaska election statutes.

The Sept. 2 emergency order was issued by Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who was named in the lawsuit along with elections director Gail Fenumiai. The order paved the way for Mallott to join Walker's campaign.

The new ticket is deemed a stronger challenge to Republican incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell, who is seeking his second full term in office. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is Parnell's running mate.

The state maintained that Alaska statutes are silent on how to fill vacancies left by the withdrawal of a no-party candidate. The state argued that invalidating the order would derail the November election and disenfranchise voters, saying more than 2,400 overseas ballots have already been mailed out.

The case was expected to be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court by either side that lost.

Strait, an Alaska Republican Party district chair who filed the lawsuit Sept. 17, said he decided not to appeal for two reasons. One is the sheer expense of taking the case to the next level. The other is that Oct. 9 would be the earliest the high court could schedule oral arguments. That was too close to the Nov. 4 election, Strait said.

Valdez Star photo

Independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker's biographical information is included in a supplement, pictured on the left, after it was omitted from the official election guide published by the Div. of Elections.

"What do achieve if we're successful at this point?" he said. "And then it's yet a bigger train wreck, in my opinion."

The lawsuit is an "example of partisan politics at its worst," Walker, whose campaign intervened on behalf of the state, said.

"Byron and I look forward to a nonpartisan administration where party platforms will no longer impede productivity in Alaska," Walker said. "There are so many critical issues facing the state such as the fiscal and energy crises. We will only solve these problems when we work together."

Treadwell said his office is proposing to make the emergency regulation permanent to address the gap in the law. Public comments are now being taken.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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