Debate: Walker admits his China gas line was a mistake on statewide TV during KTUU’s ‘Debate for the State’


Democrat Les Gara was the attack dog. Politically homeless Bill Walker wanted a do-over as governor and didn’t want anyone to remember his first go-round. And Charlie Pierce was like the church elder in the room.

But ultimately it was Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s night at the fights. He took a steady stream of punches from the Left — Gara and Walker — and prevailed by making no mistakes and not getting caught flatfooted during KTUU’s and KTOO’s Debate for the State. Dunleavy gave opposition researchers nothing to work with to attack him in ads.

The biggest news of the night came when Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked former Gov. Bill Walker if there was anything he regretted about his deals with China on the Alaska gas line.

Read: Walker’s gas line deal with the heir to Chairman Mao

Walker began flapping his arms animatedly, and said Donald Trump supported his gas line deal.

Then Dunleavy asks him if he would do it over again.

“No, of course not,” Walker said, visibly anxious. The gas line was Walker’s signature issue during his 2010 and 2014 run for governor, and now he was admitting his strategy would have been a bad one.

During the debate, the positions of Walker and Gara were nearly indistinguishable. They both favor abortion and more education funding without any accountability from schools. They were two leftist former elected officials who hate the governor and want to take his job.

Dunleavy took the punches, but pointed out that they are both litigators, and he mentioned that they only wanted to attack him, they didn’t want to stand on their own records, and he couldn’t blame them for not wanting to do so.

Walker, who unsuccessfully pushed over nine income taxes during his time as governor, said he hoped he would not have to resort to taxation on Alaskans. Gara said he didn’t see how Alaska could pay for all the things he wants without taxes, and he mentioned punishing oil companies.

Pierce reminded viewers that during the pandemic, he refused to shut down the Kenai Peninsula, keeping businesses open to the extent that he had the power to do so. He pointed to his strong private sector business career and said he will always cut government before taxing people.

In closing statements, Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked voters to mark him first, and Charlie Pierce second. Pierce asked voters to mark him first and Dunleavy second. Neither Walker nor Gara made any such statement about ranking each other, although in past debates Walker has said that his voters should rank Gara second.

After the debate, Walker snubbed Dunleavy by refusing to shake his hand.


  1. He stole our pfd, he was making deals with communists of a country thats our #1 enemy both financially and militarily. Anyone who votes for Walker needs to have thier head examined. Oh Palin endorsed him, think about that.

      • Notice Palin is no where in Alaska? Waiting in NY to see if she’s going to be prosecuted.
        Check out Ritcher Investments. Talk about money laundering. Sheesh.

      • That narrative is just dumb, uninformed with no credible proof to sustain it. Allegations dont equate to reality. I bet your ok with billions going to Ukraine? A certain laptop shows who at the Federal level has ties to European interests…At the state level Walker is a traitor, Dunleavy hugs the ghoul….Charlie appears to be the only safe, patriotic chouce

      • The only “proof” of any country “owning” anyone is Hunter’s laptop. It has irrefutable evidence (proof) that Hunter, Joe, Joe’s brother and sister have received hundreds of millions of dollars from Communist China and the corrupted Ukraine.

      • Nelson, Dude! Get me some of that mind numbing dope you smoke, Trump owned by Putin! That must be some high potency pot Nelson to get you to abandon all sense of logic and reasoning.
        BTW, I don’t recall Putin invading Ukraine when the evil Orange man was at the helm, I do recall Trump whacking Russian mercenaries in and around Syria and bombing the dog crap out of Putin’s BFF Assad along with whacking another Putin Pally Qasem Soleimani though.
        But hey keep on toking and believing the jokes served up by MSNBC and CNN!
        Trump may be many things, but being owned by Putin isn’t one of them.
        Party on Dude.

      • Pure applesauce. Lies cooked up by the Hillary campaign and actively pushed by the FBI and the mainstream news even though they knew it was all false the whole time. Here you are in late 2022 still repeating the BS like the brainless NPC you are.

      • I kind of want to know how Trump is relevant to what Walker did previously … to Alaskan’s?

        Your thoughts seem a bit “mismanaged.”

  2. Uh, how about Walker’s “little mistake” being the understatement of the century. A Chinese gasoline would have cost Alaskans and the US heavily.
    A question I would have asked Walker, “Should pedophiles who assume high office be criminally charged?”
    Walker is a loser through and through. His handshake would have meant squat.
    Dunleavy scorched him again. Go Big Mike!

  3. Thank you Charlie Pierce for keeping sight of the big picture of Alaska! Someone has to be a grown up in government as it’s so disheveled that they are now resorting to not shaking hands with the red! Rank the red folks!

  4. Why is it that all of these photos of Bill Walker show his face in some contorted position? Is it a gas problem, or is he just not a happy guy?

  5. I watched the debate and was not surprised at what I saw. Big Mike defended himself pretty well and managed to bring up some of the worst points of Walker’s administration history. Les Gara was definitely an attack dog and kept harping on “50 communities” not having a trooper without saying one word about their size. Nor did he mention that Dunleavy was marshaling the state resources and those of the federal government as well when dealing with the recent disaster. For some reason Walker and Gara thought it better that he be at the debates then doing his job as governor. Big Mike also said he had not heard anything new – same stuff at each debate. And the debate on the schools was interesting as both Pierce and Dunleavy were looking at the management problem while Gara just wanted more money thrown at it while not mentioning where it was going to come from. As for Walker refusing to shake Dunleavy’s hand afterwords, I am not surprised. Walker and (former?) Chief of staff Scott Kendall have been scalp hunting since Walker lost in 2018. Walker is a sore loser and Gara is a typical tax and spend democrat who may sound good, but would run the state right into bankruptcy. RANK RED Alaskans!

    • Shelia, I am surprised that Les Gara acted like an attack dog in this debate. I’ve met Les many times, I can tell you that he is a genuinely kind and polite fellow. I disagree with his politics but believe him to be a decent, albeit politically misguided fellow. Must be something to do with trying to get Dunleavy addled? Didn’t seem to work I guess. Oh well!
      BTW, those 50 communities without Troopers are served by the VPSO program, a local Constabulary which is supported by Alaska State Troopers and generally are an extension of the local Village Council.

  6. This debate really opened my eyes! Gara and Walker have nothing, no plans were laid out. All they did was bash and finger point! Walker actually lied a few times! Charlie actually has a plan for Alaska and I liked everything he said!

  7. Dunleavy should tell us just how much has been put away from this oil boom. He keeps talking about the big PFD however that came from the earnings reserve after Angela Rodell brought in 30% returns.

  8. By refusing to shake hands with his opponent after the debate, Walker showed that not only is he a poor candidate but is also not a gentleman. History will not treat him well.

  9. One thing I wonder. If he is beaten, will he just go away or will he turn his attack dogs loose to burn down the state?

    I can easily see him going nuclear. If he can’t have it, nobody can.

  10. I thought Gara came across as being bitter and small, Walker as self-centered and egotistical, Pierce as level headed and seemingly unprepared, and Dunleavy knowledgeable and confident. We HAVE to Rank the Red. Gara or Walker, either, would be horrible for us and the state. Les, with your position on the sanctity of a woman’s right to control her own body, what was your position on vaccine mandates? And somebody who can, needs to explain to me how a “ right to privacy” gives one a right to kill an unborn and innocent life. I’ve never found the logic there.

  11. If it was a mistake it was. Good he admits it. We often in America impute good motives to prospective partners where we should not. The road to perdition is paved with good intentions. Nonetheless, obeying Alaska bylaws is a good thing for elected officials; legal advice to the contrary is a bad political thing.

  12. The moderators did a good job of being even handed and the candidates for the most part followed the rules. The candidates all were clear in staking out their positions. Dunleavy as the incumbent did a good job of deflecting everything and substituting his lame excuses for not funding education. IMO Dunleavy needs to cross the 50% threshold on the first round. Turn-out and voters filling out the second slot will be interesting. I laughed when Les rolled his eyes on Charlie questioning the legitimacy of the Ranked Choice Referendum results.

    • Of course you did. You guys only think elections are fraudulent when you lose. Ex. Bush v Gore, Trump v Clinton. You’re still mad about hanging chads and Russia Russia Russia. You should take a good long look at the “plan” your buddy Les has for Alaska, then see if your still laughing.

    • My big laugh happened today when I heard a Walker add on the radio saying he promises $2 gas!!! Hilarious. NOWHERE IN THE NATION is there $2 gas, but this is his platform?? Talk about pie in the sky promises. How about these clowns acknowledge that Dunleavy has had some success in spite of covid and the idiots who reside in the legislature. Better than China-boy ever did. Oh, don’t forget his penchant for adding taxed and stealing the PFD. Obvious choice unless you are a socialist / communist sympathizer.

  13. Little Billy Walker used our money and bowed down to Xi hoping to set himself up! He opened offices and staffed them and now he admits it was a mistake!
    During his last campaign I listened to his story about leaving Valdez for a basketball game in Delta when he was in high school. The car he was driving had no reverse and it was winter. He had other students with him and they made the round trip.
    That story convinced me this guy is not normal laughing about his actions.Valdez to Delta mid winter back when he was still in school was a risky trip even in a good vehicle. No common sense!

  14. Mr. Walker demonstrated that he has no new tricks. And it ended so badly last time. He fails to provide a case for returning him to power. That said, Mike Dunleavy’s conservative approach to governing is clearly better.

  15. Walker & Gara’s plan for Alaska is more money down the public education rathole & a state income tax on hardworking Alaskans to pay for it. Now there is a platform that thousands of retired Alaskan schoolteachers scattered around the sunny Southwest can get behind – the rest of us, not so much!

  16. I watched the debate on You Tube. I encourage Alaskans to watch this debate and make their own decisions. I Googled “KTUU Debate for the state, governor, you tube” to find it.

    My quick takeaway.

    Gara made a good point about not wanting millions in outside, dark money influencing changes to our Alaska Constitution- a reason not to have a constitutional convention.
    Walker pointed out that he attended every debate when he was governor- and that Dunleavy has skipped almost all the debates, except, three. Walker also pointed out that Alaska has lost 20,000 people under Dunleavy- people just voting with their feet- not being able to afford the highest energy costs in the nation.

    Dunleavy wanted to know about the gasline efforts under Walker. Walker responded by saying he was working with Trump to find projects that would have reduced the massive trade deficits we have with China. Walker also pointed out Alaska oil is going to China and that China is the largest trading partner with the USA. In comparison- Walker should have asked Dunleavy what he has done to get a gas line/LNG project built (which is nothing). Alaskans are being killed with energy prices that are at record levels. In Fairbanks it can cost almost $5,000 to fill a 1,000 gallon oil tank.

    In any event, it was a good debate. Alaskans should watch it.

    • M, what point was Les making about not wanting millions of $ of outside Dark Money influencing a Constitutional Convention? That makes absolutely no sense what so ever, since we are daily confronted with VOTE NO on 1 campaign ads , all of which are paid for by outside dark $. Weird huh? Or, maybe, just maybe, Les is a Lawyer and he likes the fact that the Judiciary in Alaska is SELECTED by the Alaska Bar Association. Trade associations picking the regulators of justice some how removes the people from having all power.
      Just saying M… Vote YES on 1, tell the outside DARK MONEY to shove off.

      • R.

        His point, and its a good one, is that millions in dark money will be spent to influence who we’d elect as delegates. This is round two, of a three step process. Round three, is another election to approve changes to our Constitution.

        So, lets say an outside group does not like our individual right to keep and bear arms. They spend millions to try and get us to elect delegates that will take away our right to keep and bear arms at the convention.

        Do you want that risk? I don’t. That’s why I’m voting “no”.

        finally, “Defend our Constitution” does not look like a dark money group. I see Alaskans who have donated money like Vic Fisher (who helped write our Constitution), and Bill Corbus, a former Revenue Commissioner.

  17. I enjoyed the debate. I despise Bill Walker and his body language showed what a dirty dog he is. Les Gara is described perfectly as an “attack dog”. Vote Dunleavy first, Charlie second !!!!!!

    • SAME HERE, I still WANNA KNOW WHERE DID OUR 9 BILLION dollars go ? I’ll bet even the crooked LEGISTLATORS dont know or wont tell. we were given 23 % of our OWED PFD. Come to Anchorage Assembly and see the Build Back Better bullies perform for ALL to see.

  18. What Democrat is going to drop out at the last second? I’m thinking Walker. They both won’t go into RCV as the trick is to have one Democrat and two Republicans to split their vote. I would like to see the tables turned and have Pierce drop out and have Gara/Walker split the vote, easy win for Dunleavy.

  19. I recently heard a walker ad that said under Walker, he’ll bring $2.00 gas … I couldn’t help but laugh, but I would really like to know how this is going to happen under the current Biden administration?

    I would also like to know why gas is cheaper in Fairbanks than it is in Anchorage?

    • Bryan: Gas is cheaper in Fairbanks because the city of Anchorage add more gas tax per gallon than Fairbanks.

  20. If Walker admitted the gas line was a mistake then he cannot be trusted not to make another huge one. Sorry Bill, but no.

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