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

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Competitors for governor's seat are testing the waters early this year

While Walker confirmed he is running, others state that maybe they will


August 30, 2017

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is already facing some stiff competition in his bid for reelection.

Walker officially announced his reelection candidacy a week ago Monday, when he and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott filed candidate paperwork with the state Division of Elections.

The two filed separate letters of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission last week.

By Friday, former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, a Democrat, confirmed he is considering a bid to be governor in an email he sent to supporters.

"I wanted to let you know that in response to many urging me to run, I am considering it, but Deborah and I have not made a decision yet," Begich said. "I hope to make a decision and share that with you in the next few months. In the meantime, I ask that you keep your powder dry."

Another Democrat is also testing the waters.

State Sen. Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) confirmed he is also considering a run for governor.

Not to be left out, republicans have a strong contender in Sen. Mike Dunleavy, (R-Wasilla) who also represents Valdez in District 9.

Dunleavy supporters point to statewide poll last month by Alaska Survey Research that found only 38 percent of Alaska residents have a positive view of Walker.

Walker told reporters last week that he expects a lively race.

Valdez Star file photo

Gov. Bill Walker greeting a lifelong friend in Valdez, Gloria Day.

Walker changed his party affiliation from Republican to undeclared in joining forces with Mallott in 2014 to upset then-Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican.

Mallott, a Democrat, that year abandoned his own run for governor to be Walker's running mate, and the 2014 Walker-Mallott ticket won the support of state Democratic party leaders.

Mallott plans to remain a registered Democrat. Walker plans to remain politically unaffiliated.

The state Democratic party currently is suing the state, seeking the ability to have politically unaffiliated candidates run in the party's primaries. The party push for letting nonaffiliated candidates in its primaries predates the 2016 U.S. Senate race.


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