The Alaska Democratic Party is jettisoning Gov. Bill Walker to rally around Mark Begich as the true-blue Democrat who can help them rebuild their party.
Begich re-enters the arena today as a Democratic candidate for governor; Walker has indicated he will retreat from the Democrats’ primary and run as a petition candidate in November. He will return to gathering the signatures he needs.
Debra Call, a left-leaning member of Knik Village and Cook Inlet Tribal Councils, showed up at the Division of Elections today and began her paperwork for lieutenant governor, telling news reporters that Begich had called her at 9 pm Thursday and asked her to be his running mate.
In a three-way race, Begich has a tough time beating both Walker and the Republican nominee, so his goal will be to destroy Walker between now and Sept. 2. That’s the last day that Walker can withdraw from the November ballot. Voters can expect a bruising campaign from Begich, who will pound on Walker’s failings and publish damaging information about him.
Begich will then emerge as the head of the Alaska Democratic Party, and even if he comes in second will be ready for a run for Senate in 2020 against U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan.
A former mayor of Anchorage, Begich defeated Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008, and served one term in the Senate before being defeated by Sen. Dan Sullivan.
DEBRA CALL TRUMPS BYRON MALLOTT BY AN X CHROMOSOME
For a running mate, Begich has gone to a Native matriarch to match against Tlingit Byron Mallott, the current lieutenant governor. At 63, she is 12 years younger than Mallott.
Mallott had run as the Democrats’ pick for governor in 2014, but after the primary, the Alaska Democratic Party’s state central committee kicked him to the second slot on the ballot and installed Walker, who was still a Republican at the time of the negotiations, at the top of the ticket. Walker then registered as an undeclared, and the two went on to victory, pulling from the left and the middle of the electorate.
But Begich has drawn on the new technique of Democratic “intersectionality” in his pick of Call. He’ll have a Native running mate and a woman running mate all in one.
Plus, she doesn’t come from a Southeast tribe. And with Mallott’s famously fiery temper, Call has a lot to work with to oppose him.
Call is deeply immersed in grievance politics and appears anti-Second Amendment, if her Facebook feed is any indication.
Bloomberg’s profile of Call says: “Ms. Debra L. Call, also known as Deb, served as Corporate Director of Health Information at Centere Healthcare Corporation. Ms. Call served as Vice President of Operations of Alaska Native Heritage Center, Incorporated. Ms. Call served as a Director of Operations and Human Resources of Alaska Native Heritage Center, Incorporated. She is a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) with over 25 years of experience in health information services. She specialized
A PARTY IN SHAMBLES?
Alaska Democrats took the State House over when they convinced three Republicans to join them in 2016 in a coup.
But now, one third of House Democrats are either not running for reelection or have resigned, and the party has Bill Walker as its current standard-bearer; he is not even a Democrat. If he won a second term, they could not count on his support for their party platform.
This is a Democratic Party in need of rescue and Begich is the man to do it. Today at 5 pm is the filing deadline for candidates. This story will be updated. Check back for more.