By Lee Revis
editor, Valdez Star 

Governor's race is still too close to call

Some races can be called, others may dangle for some time


Photo source: Walker of Governor

Lt. Gov.-elect Byron Mallot, left, and Gov.-elect Bill Walker together last August after the pair announced their unprecedented partnership to run on an unaffiliated ticket.

Who will be governor of Alaska for the next four years?

While the Div. of Elections is not poised to certify the election until its target date of Nov. 28, Valdez favorite Bill Walker, running unaffiliated with Byron Mallot, the former Democratic gubernatorial candidate who dropped out of that race to run with Walker as Lt. Gov., are putting together a transition team.

The move came Tuesday after the elections division began counting early and absentee votes, and Walker began leading by at least 4,000 votes.

Many voters were frustrated after the results for the governor's race proved too close to call after the polls closed Nov. 4.

As of Friday, incumbent Sean Parnell and running mate, Anchorage mayor Dan Sullivan, had not conceded and the Walker/Mallott ticket has not declared victory.

Despite the nail-biting on the governor's race, a number of races can be called. Jim Colver, R-Hatcher Pass, will be sworn into the Alaska House, representing Valdez and District 9. Incumbent Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, will keep his seat in Senate District E. Valdez is new to this district.

Ballot measures to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage and protect Bristol Bay appear to be shoe-ins, despite the number of uncounted ballots. But don't plan on lighting up or getting a fatter paycheck just yet. The laws will not go into effect until 90 days after the election is certified.

The targeted date for certifying the election is Nov. 28.

The race for Congress is only half settled.

US Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, beat upstart democratic challenger Forrest Dunbar.

Republican challenger Dan Sullivan was leading U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, by over 8,100 votes after the election, but the Begich team has not yet conceded the race.

A brief recap from the Associated Press briefly explains how the passage of the three ballot measures will play out.

Legalized pot:

Pot already is legal in small quantities in Alaska homes. A 1975 state Supreme Court ruling on privacy rights cleared the way for Alaskans to possess small amounts.

Alaska in the late 1990s legalized medical marijuana, but it did not create dispensaries where the drug could be purchased.

The passage of Ballot Measure 2 means that 90 days after election results are certified, adults no longer will be arrested under state law for possessing up to an ounce outside their homes.

They also no longer will be prosecuted under state law for growing small amounts - up to six plants, with three flowering. Smoking pot in public will remain prohibited.

The measure lays out a nine-month rulemaking process for selling, growing and testing marijuana.

Minimum wage:

Ballot Measure Three raises the minimum wage by $2 an hour.

The wage is currently set at $7.75. With the measure's passage, it will go up $2 over the next two years. After that, the measure calls for it to be adjusted for inflation.

Bristol Bay:

Ballot Measure Four will require legislative approval for a large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation in the Bristol Bay region.

The initiative states that, in addition to permits and other authorizations required by law, a final authorization would be needed from the Legislature for any large-scale mining operation within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve.

That authorization would come in the form of a law finding the operation would not constitute a danger to the region's world-class salmon fishery.

The measure has implications for the massive proposed gold-and-copper project known as the Pebble Mine.

Sen. Mike Dunleavy, Senate District E, left, and Jim Colver, District 9 representative elect.


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