Heads and tails: Politicians on the move



Mark Begich was in Juneau last week and met with the governor and lieutenant governor, although there was a great deal of question as to whether the meeting would take place.

Must Read Alaska has learned it was not pleasant and at one point Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot had a bit of a temper. The report back to us is that Begich told Gov. Bill Walker that he (Begich) would not run for governor, but he had some advice for the pair on how to win the statewide election.

That was the part that set off Mallott, who was indignant. After all, he reportedly said, the Walker-Mallott team had won the last statewide election and Begich had lost his election to Sen. Dan Sullivan, who had never even run for office before. The meeting was uncomfortable after that outburst.

Two days later, Walker and Mallott filed to run on the Democrats’ primary ballot. A defensive move or business as usual? No one can say.

Is that the end of the story?  That’s the part that MRAK can verify. But there’s more to come in the coming weeks as the June 1 filing deadline nears.

The Daily Kos (left-leaning political blog) says, “Former Sen. Mark Begich has spent months flirting with a bid, and he reaffirmed over the weekend that he’s still considering.”

Begich told National Journal’s Zach Cohen, that he “has not made a decision” and “the only things impacting his decision-making process are his family and the future of Alaska.”

The Daily Kos wrote: Begich almost certainly knows that he’d face very tough odds in the general election if he had to face both a Republican and Walker, and maybe he’s hoping that if he defeated the governor in a primary, Walker would drop out rather than invite mutually-assured destruction.”

Begich on Friday was the keynote speaker at the IBEW convention in Anchorage, where he tested the waters with a group that would comprise his base: Labor

“Good paying jobs build the economy and support working families. The labor movement is alive and well in Alaska!” he said.

Begich would be a formidable opponent for Walker in the Democrats’ primary.

Grier Hopkins, right


Grier Hopkins has filed for the seat now occupied by his uncle, Rep. David Guttenberg,who is getting long in the tooth and not running again to represent Fairbanks, District 4.

A Democrat, Hopkins is the son of former North Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins, and works for the National Education Association in Alaska. He is related by marriage to Gov. Bill Walker’s Chief of Staff Scott Kendall. He was a legislative aide in the past. Selena Hopkins-Kendall, married to Scott, is one of his treasurers; the other is Elyse Guttenberg.

This is a legacy political family in Fairbanks.

The Republican in the race is Jim Sackett. Sackett, a Republican, graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1991 with a business management degree. He earned a master’s degree in business administration in 2000.


Robert Ruffner has pulled out of the race for Rep. Paul Seaton’s Lower Kenai, District 31 seat.

This means either Seaton has changed his mind and is running, or Ruffner just isn’t ready to take on Sarah Vance and John Cox in the primary.

Seaton lost favor from the Republican Party after he flipped the House to Democrats’ control after the 2016 election. He has been told by the party he cannot run on its primary ballot, although the Division of Elections says it will force the party to accept him.

Ruffner is on the Board of Fisheries. He is a new Republican testing the waters, and may have found support tepid.


  1. I will tell you that anyone attempting to figure out the inner workings of Paul Seaton will have their hands full indeed. He is a very crafty sea captain indeed. I smell more than one rat in this woodpile!

  2. Ruffner took contributions from some commercial fishing interests during his short time as a candidate. Will
    he return the funds or pay them back by voting for their interests during Board of Fisheries regulatory meetings in the future? . He better hope for an election year miracle keeping Walker in office. Because if Walker loses, which is very likely to happen, Ruffner will be off the Board of Fisheries next spring. His one sided votes while on the Board favoring commercial fishing interests have not gone unnoticed.

  3. The pendulum of fashion swings in both quarters.. Some have nerve enough to stay under it, some don’t. Either way the PFD will cut the most come election time!

Comments are closed.