Mike Dunleavy answers a question about whether he would repeal SB 91, while Mark Begich and Bill Walker ponder their response. Gov. Walker was a no.
WALKER BACKTRACKS ON SANCTUARY CITIES ANSWER
According to an informal sidewalk poll conducted at the exit of Wednesday’s gubernatorial forum at Anchorage’s Coast International Inn, 60 percent said candidate Mike Dunleavy won the debate by, 40 percent gave the win to Mark Begich, but not a single participant said that Gov. Bill Walker won.
The three major candidates for governor appeared before 125 Alaskans from the real estate and home mortgage industry in a lunchtime forum that some observers say was the best one yet.
The questions ranged from curbing crime to the Permanent Fund dividend calculation, and most of the answers were ones the candidates had offered at other debates. But there were surprises:
During the “Yes or No” paddle round, the first question was whether candidates support “sanctuary cities,” where illegal immigrants can hide from federal authorities.
Sanctuary cities: All three held up their “No” paddles, but toward the end of the forum, Walker clarified his answer and said he didn’t support President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. That left his answer in the yes-no paddle round unclear.
Common Core: On whether they support the education program known as Common Core, it was Dunleavy and Begich not favoring Common Core, and Walker favoring it.
Medicaid expansion: Further Medicaid expansion in Alaska had Dunleavy opposing it, but Begich and Walker supporting it.
Logging in the Tongass: Dunleavy favored more logging in the Tongass, while Begich and Walker did not.
Ballot Measure 1: Dunleavy and Walker will vote no on Ballot Measure 1, while Begich will vote yes.
Walker thought he would take the gloves off and ask Dunleavy why he hadn’t attended all of the debates and forums that Walker and Begich had been to over the past few weeks.
The answer was not what Walker had hoped for. It was the smack-down of the day from Dunleavy:
“I think Mark Begich is wondering that same thing, when you skipped out on the primary,” Dunleavy said.
“I’ll tell you where I’ve been. I’ve been to 25 town halls, debates and forums, 36 fairs, festivals, and sporting events, 212 meetings with Alaskans and 100 radio call ins.
“I participated in a hotly contested primary process while you skipped it and Senator Begich has been absent from the discussion for four years.
“I’ve been part of 19 debates in the primary or general. The folks next to me have been to 8 total, each. I’ve been talking with the people of Alaska and listening to their concerns.
“I’d suggest you get out there before Nov. 6th and hear what they have to say,” Dunleavy said.
The applause was spontaneous.
Most of the attack questions from Begich and Walker were pointed at Dunleavy.
In the end, the sidewalk poll sampled 25 percent of attendees, asking them: “Who do you think won the debate?” The result was:
* Must Read Alaska did not ask First Lady Donna Walker to take the poll as she left the building, but that would have given Walker a 1. The poll was taken as people exited the banquet room, and the question was asked of as many people as possible.