Thursday, September 28, 2023
HomePoliticsBig losers edition: Begich, Walker, Beltrami, Ivan Moore, Alyse Galvin

Big losers edition: Begich, Walker, Beltrami, Ivan Moore, Alyse Galvin


On Election Night, the precinct tapes from Hoonah, Alaska said it all. Mark Begich was losing badly. The union influence over elections had slipped. And the experts were wrong.

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At the Anchorage Alehouse, Alaska Republican Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock had his laptop computer propped up on a pony wall, and he and Mike Dunleavy were looking over the results coming in from volunteers who snapped photos of precinct tapes from around the state.

Then came the precinct tapes from Hoonah. It was Dunleavy-Meyer 159, and Begich-Call 136. Walker-Mallot received 9, and Toien-Clift took 8.

Tuckerman Babcock, right, and Mike Dunleavy look at election results on Election Night, as it sinks in that Hoonah has voted for Dunleavy.

“That’s it,” Babcock said to Dunleavy. “That’s all we need to know — you’ve won.”

It was just 9:15 pm and election results were not yet posted on the State’s Election website.

But a Republican candidate winning in a Democrat-heavy town like Hoonah was a bellwether. If you can win Hoonah as a Republican, you can win the state.

In the end, Mike Dunleavy took more votes in the governor’s race than all other three candidates combined. Dunleavy won 123,447 votes, Begich got 102,654.

Bill Walker, the unpopular incumbent, and Billy Toien, the Libertarian, fought for the scraps, each getting less than two percent.


Mark Begich has more political pedigree than just about any Alaska politician since Wally Hickel. He is a highly capable and personable campaigner who loves the political battle, and thrives on retail politics.

But every time he runs for statewide office, he is doing worse.

In 2008, he won against Sen. Ted Stevens, but only because Stevens had faced an indictment by the Department of Justice, a charge later thrown out because DOJ lawyers suppressed evidence that would have exonerated him.

That race was close: 47.8 to 46.5 percent — a one point difference.

In 2014, Begich lost his Senate seat to former Alaska Attorney General Dan Sullivan by two points. Sullivan is Alaska’s U.S. senator and will face re-election in 2020.

Now, in 2018, running for governor, Begich lost to a rural schoolteacher and former state senator by 9 points — maybe more, after all the absentee votes are counted.

In other words, from his one-point win in 2008 to his -9  or -10 loss in 2018, there’s at least an 11-point drop in his popularity.

Begich’s drop-off in rural Alaska was pronounced. Although he won most rural areas, he lost a third of his margin in the Bethel region. Dunleavy, the governor-elect, got close to beating him in rural areas where Democrats typically do well.

The craftiest, most polished politician in the state was running against a Sasquatch — a working class guy who came to Alaska as a logger, became a school teacher in deeply rural Arctic Alaska, and who was hard to “manage” when he was in the Senate.


Most polls and pundits said Gov. Bill Walker would get some votes — either protest votes or simply a mark on the ballot from voters who were not aware that he had dropped from the race. His name was still on the ballot, after all.

The election of Dunleavy was a complete rejection of the policies and results of the last four years. It was a rejection of the way the Permanent Fund dividend was calculated, a rejection of the economic recessions and a rejection of the catch-and-release criminal justice situation.

Even the votes that went to Begich were a rejection of Walker’s direction, since Begich was also mainly running against the performance of the past four years and for most of his race was running to unseat Walker.

But few people suspected that there was no floor at all for Walker. In the end, he had as much political relevancy as Toien.


Vince Beltrami, head of the AFL-CIO, was one of the biggest losers of the election. He and his affiliates had placed all their chips on Bill Walker this summer, only to have him pull out of the race in mid-October, leaving them holding the bag. Instead of finding a path to work with Dunleavy, they immediately voted 100 percent to back Mark Begich.

Vince Beltrami, left, did badly this election cycle, in picking a governor he could control.

This isn’t a great result for the union boss and his colleague Joey Merrick, who is the business manager for Laborers Local 341. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars losing just about every race they backed this election cycle, with the exception of Merrick’s wife, Kelly Merrick, who is the Republican elected to represent Eagle River District 14, and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, who won with only 40 percent of the vote for Muldoon District 15.


Ivan Moore, of Alaska Survey Research said last week the race was within the margin of error. A point separated them, he said. His five-week campaign to excite Democrats and swing voters into giving Begich a chance didn’t work. Every week during Moore’s survey propaganda campaign, he showed Begich closing the gap, until it was 42-43, advantage Dunleavy on Oct. 31.

Last week, Moore did a Facebook poll, and the Facebook universe gave him an entirely different result — which turned out to be more accurate than his traditional polling:

Pollsters are only as good as their assumption is about who the electorate is. Conventional polls may not take into account the “hometown hero” affect, and in this case, that appears to have skewed the results.

Perhaps the surveys didn’t ask as many people in Mat-Su, or didn’t see the surge of voter excitement. The Mat-Su voters brought over 1,000 more voters to the polls in each district than in 2014.

And then you have these experts — the readers of Must Read Alaska on Facebook, who on Monday made the choice between how much Dunleavy would win by — over 7 or under 7, and were surprisingly intuitive:

One polling company that did not release its results was Dittman Research. This preserves the company’s record of calling every race accurately.

Dittman may not have been confident enough in its own results to release them. With so many moving parts in the governor’s race, that turned out to be the prudent decision.


Ivan Moore also forecasted a possible win for Democrat challenger Alyse Galvin over Congressman Don Young.

But Alaskans were not impressed with Galvin’s substance or style and she lost badly. Galvin displayed a radical side, and it would have been remarkable for the same voters who brought Dunleavy to office to also allow someone like Galvin, who is to the left of Nancy Pelosi, to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives as its lone congressperson.

Young’s win was very solid for the Dean of the House, the highest since Democrat Sharon Cissna took him on in 2012, when he won by over 63 percent.

In 2014, Young won with 51 percent of the vote against Democrat Forrest Dunbar.

In 2016, he won with 50 percent of the vote against Democrat Steve Lindbeck.

This year, he won with 54 percent of the vote to earn him his 24th term in office.


There were others who might join the club, but here’s the analysis from one leftist political pundit this morning, who cast her judgment on the electorate:

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Shannyn Moore’s comments follow the Liberal play book, which is to insult, and demean opposition and prented it is an intellectual comment. It is one of many reasons I walked away from Liberals.

    All on all a good election. Too bad Matt Claman won, but so happy With our new Governor, and telling the environmental movement to “F” off.

    Defeating ballot measure 1 was so important, perhaps the most important issue on the ballot. Good job Alaska As a former “environmentalists” I know there are forces out there who want to lock up our land for the elite.

  2. Great Article. Regarding Shannyn Moore’s comment: She needs her mouth washed out with soap and water. I quit subscribing to ADN because her potty mouth and hatred gave me indigestion.. I wrote to Binkley many times to get her out of the paper. Have not seen her articles in a while when I read my neighbor’s used papers.Maybe Alaskans remember Ted Stevens and what Begich and Schumer did to get Begich elected. Alaskans do remember, paybacks are painful.

  3. Excellent article!!!! Very informative and factually right on the mark. The title says it all. Oh, and Ivan Moore is not a pollster – he’s a partisan pundit followed by the mass media and the likes of Shannyn Moore.

  4. I just finished my letter to Governor-elect Mike Dunleavy, asking him politely to hire Suzanne Downing as his new Communication Director and speech writer. I hope others follow my lead. Suzanne helped
    get Mike elected in a BIG way.

  5. The facts confirm that Ivan Moore is a biased pollster. There isn’t much new there.

    I hope most people recognize that the last time Mark Begich won an election, it was in 2008 — ten years ago. I see a trend here, but hope that he keeps running for office.

    As displayed by Ms. Moore, the interesting part for me is the RAGE on the Left. It appears that some have pumped up the pressure on the “identity politics” hypodermic to the point where the Left has become mentally and emotionally unhinged. The Left wants, really, really, really wants identity politics to work in practice, but it seems to be failing at the ballot box. Reassessment is in order, folks. And maybe they should stop calling everyone racists.

    Sorry, Suzanne, but you have a contradiction in your column: You have suggested that there was substance to Alyse Galvin’s candidacy. I never saw any such thing.

  6. Excellent article. Spot on.
    Other than the obvious candidates there is no question the biggest losers last night were AFL-CIO Vinny and Ivan (it’s closed to within 1-point) Moore.
    It must absolutely suck to be Vinny and Ivan today….. but then again it must suck to be Vinny and Ivan every day!?

  7. We actually need Suzanne right here in the private sector, pointing the truth needle in the correct direction. That’s where she shines. That’s why we love her and Must Read Alaska. Who needs the ADN, Newsminer, or Empire, when we have Suzanne.

    As for our former 2% governor walker, he should be hanging his head in shame. He spent his 4 years on the Third Floor conspiring against ordinary Alaskans. He stole our dividends,
    put his union and globalist cronies into his elite circle, intended to see the construction of a gas pipeline in which he could personally benefit, broke the spirit of young people by running with a sexual pervert, put on a huge false front with Native Alaskans, abandoned his Republican Party, became a stooge for corrupt union bosses, and leaves a trail of crud behind for Dunleavy to mop up. The only thing Alaskans will remember him for is his final tally on election night……..2%.

    • Walker will find it impossible to divorce himself from corrupt union bosses. There is no divorce once you “take” from them. Sorry, Bill. John Eberhart, former disgraced mayor of Fairbanks, lost his chances for a second term after he ran that town into near bankruptcy with his love for crooked union bosses. His devotion to the mob and outrageous contracts with the city did not sit well with voters who finally tossed Eberhart. He now works as a Teamster lawyer here in Anchorage. Mark Begich did the same thing when he was mayor of Anchorage. Caused the city lots of debt problems because of union contracts. Begich is no lawyer for hire, and he has his daddy’s name to always fall back on. In the end, Begich’s latest and last dive will be attributed in part to allowing Walker to stump for him. That REALLY pissed off a lot of people and moved them over to Dunleavy. While there will be no job opportunity for Walker in the Dunleavy Administration, maybe Walker can get a job as AFL-CIO lawyer. Who else would hire a “tainted goods” attorney?

  8. On a local level, most of the results were positive. No on One and conservatives winning will help the economy stay alive. I’m not sure how we can afford a 6k PFD payout, time will tell ( pray for 100 d/bbl oil )

    Gabby sliding in after her nefarious voter manipulation is sad indeed. A crook is a crook, regardless of party affiliation.

    The worst thingfor me is the return of
    Nancy as the House heir apparent. Her bat guano crazy comments are coming back for two years at least. The horror. She is a perfect example of Botox crossing the brain barrier.

    All in all though it was not bad. Stay tuned for the whacks in the House stirring up impeachment and other anti-Trump tripe. Get the mud flaps out cuz its going the dirt is going to fly soon.

    • Respectfully disagree. SOTH Pelosi and her gang of freaks makes Trump’s re-election prospects quite likely. People get used to winning and soon they lose perspective. Nancy and Maxine will give voters context. LBGT, citizenship for all, investigations of Trump etc is fantastic. Reminds me of the one about mud wrestling a pig – soon you’ll realize that the pig is enjoying himself!

  9. I am very happy that Mike won and that the voters responded to the traitorous 3 R’s and Jason Grenn. Hopefully the House will now organize under Republican control. BUT I am very concerned about the responsibility that comes with that power and the ability to perform on all these “promises”.
    In this campaign we saw again how the Dividend deeply corrupts our elections (from all candidates).
    There is no hope of resolving our budget problems without reforming or ending the Dividend.
    Oh, and could someone explain why the constitutional requirement to re-pay the CBR is never mentioned? The argument that there are no “surplus funds” (article 9, para 17) seems thinner than ever.

  10. I don’t think Ivan really pretends to be a real pollster to his clients. His polls are designed to move the needles, not to measure real voter sentiment, and that’s why he is hired.

  11. I know Scott Kawasaki a whole lot better than I know Pete Kelly. When it came to that campaign, it was an easy choice to make yesterday for one simple reason: Pete took the high road time and again. I have no problem with Scott personally. I can’t say the same for many of the people he associates with, however. Last I checked, there was a difference of 11 votes. Pray for Pete, as it appeared that the Democrats and the unions were a whole lot better organized locally than were the Republicans.

  12. Yes, thank you, Suzanne, for everything! Without your reporting, we would have nothing. I also truly appreciate that when you are wrong, you openly admit it, and do it publicly. You are open and honest. You have graciously accepted apologies from others that have toasted you, in forums where – quite frankly – I’m not sure I could have, and moved on. Glad to read that you will stay on the streets with us and continue to give is the real scoop on what is happening. Keep dishing it out and taking it. Oh, and what happened to the Binkley’s anyway? Shannyn Moore is vile. Has she checked her look in the mirror lately? Why is the liberal go-to line always the “color” white? Disgusting. They have no substance.

  13. Hopefully with a new Lt. Governor we will find out if dead people voting is ok, we will find out if out of state voters is ok, and we will ultimatley find out if LeDoux should be behind bars.

    It would also be nice to know if Mallot committed any crimes while in office.

    I like the Moore polls, they give the liberals hope and it is so sweet to see liberal hope dashed!!!

    • Amen! Scrub the voter registration rolls to the nubs and rebuild that sucker line by dreaded line. Get a competent leader over the division of elections. Someone with some cred for crying out loud. Definitely, show Alaskans you mean business by letting us know something is happening in the district 15 debacle – anything! This can’t just be over. Something nefarious went on and we need to know what it was. LeDoux will have the most ineffective term a legislator will ever experience. I’m super disappointed in the people of district 15. I hope the division of elections is scouring those ballots. If something does come of this and she gets rung up, that will be shameful that it didn’t go down BEFORE the election. Then, Lt. Gov Meyer can maybe get to the bottom of the Mallott garbage so the people of Alaska can start trusting the Administration again.

  14. Governor Dunleavy won’t have to worry about being on the firing line for severe operating budget cuts in 2019.
    Representative Tammy Wilson, co-Chair of House Finance will be glad to do it all for him. Lol.

  15. Hope Mike revisits the article posted here a while back about how he needs to clear out the Juneau swamp during week 1.
    Focus on process improvement, thin out the programs. All year I’ve been hearing about how we have less oil flowing through the pipe so we need to find other revenue sources. We have less oil flowing through the pipe, so we need to reduce our expenditure. We have massive unfunded liabilities and the next four years need to be about brave and artful cost cutting to get back within our means and to stop trying to pretend we’re WA or CA.

  16. What campaign would ever hire Ivan Moore?!?! The guy is horrible at his job. I always thought when Hilary lost the election she had every right to throw the pollsters under the bus and blame them for losing the election for her. As history goes, she blamed everyone but the pollsters including Russians and Comey. Why are Democrats still hiring a pollster who has proven time and time again he is unable to deliver an accurate prediction. No one should be hiring this guy. Ivan Moore should be cleaning toilets, not be able to make large sums of money sitting behind a computer.

  17. Bagitch is done in Alaska, he will be forever known as the “man whose vote gave us Obamacare”. There’s nothing he can do to escape this branding; its like an actor who is type cast as a comedic bafoon wanting to be a leading man in an action-adventure movie. He will never get the part!

  18. I am happy with the outcome of this nasty election. I to want to hear what is going on with the 17 people living in a trailer voting for Ledoux. Ms. Moore should be fired and if not everyone should boycott the daily rag as it stills leans left of center. We quit the paper because of that. In shot I agree with all the letters above way to go Susan.

  19. The Hoonah angle is interesting. begich narrowly defeated Senator Stevens with the margin likely the result of AFN throwing Stevens under the bus. Led by Al Kookesh from Hoonah.

  20. Is this any surprise? The Dunleavy supports I know, and I am one, would not/ could not speak openly about how they were voting. Its like being a Trump supporter…I just don’t talk about it because many of my friends and coworkers are strong, verbal supporters of the left. I don’t feel that I’m alone in this . Begich has had three tries and failed each time to meet my expectations. I have been in the room with him on multiple occasions and he will neither acknowledge me nor make eye contact. I’m not young or pretty but I am smart and involved across many aspects of our town and culture. Begich can kiss my behind. I’m thrilled with the outcome of the election and sit here … the silent majority.

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