Progressive elite call on Begich to drop, but will he?



Even before the primary is over, the liberal power brokers of Alaska have signed onto a letter that asks Mark Begich to drop from the race for Alaska governor.

More than 100 well-known liberals had done so as of Friday, even while Begich burnishes his working class credentials with regular Alaskans on the campaign trail — Alaskans who have probably never heard of, and many who are just scraping by.

In a letter/petition that appears at the web site, the signing Democrats tell Begich that they don’t want him to be a spoiler: Willie Hensley, Bruce Botelho, Rep. David Guttenberg, Al Kookesh, Commissioner of Natural Resources Andy Mack, Commissioner of Commerce Mike Navarre, and Commissioner of Labor Heidi Drygas all signed the letter. See the entire list below.

Is it a desperate move on Walker’s part to have his very own cabinet and functionaries begging Begich to drop out? Are they simply trying to preserve their jobs?

Most of the signers of the Walker petition are making at least six-figure salaries and many of them hold elite jobs at Native Corporations or in the Walker Administration.

In fact, Begich could have as many as 40,000 votes locked in going into the General Election. But he obviously won’t have this band of 100 Walker supporters.

The letter, linked here, is dated Aug. 16, and will be delivered to Begich at some undetermined time.


“The undersigned Alaskans respectfully ask you to withdraw from the governor’s race. We appreciate your service and many contributions to Alaska, both as mayor of Anchorage and as our U.S. senator.

Many of us have supported you in the past and believe you have a continued future serving Alaskans. Now is not the time for you to run for governor.

The numbers do not support both you and Governor Walker running. We believe you would essentially serve as a “spoiler,” paving the way for Republican Mike Dunleavy to be elected governor. This is not in Alaska’s best interest.

Walker and Mallott are the incumbents. They truly care about Alaska. They have displayed strong leadership and have made difficult decisions. They have been responsive to issues important to us and have earned our respect, and we see no reason not to support them.

This is not personal – it’s about doing what’s right for Alaska. We respectfully ask you to do the right thing and step aside.

Sincerely, Your Fellow Alaskans [names annotated by Must Read Alaska with known associations]:

  • Aaron Plikat, Anchorage
  • Adam Wool, Fairbanks, a Democratic legislator
  • AJ Sutton, Fairbanks, carpenters union
  • Albert Kookesh, Juneau, a Democratic special assistant to the governor
  • Amanda Mallott, Juneau, daughter of the lieutenant governor
  • Andy Holleman, Anchorage, school board member
  • Andy Mack, Anchorage, DNR commissioner
  • Andy Mezirow, Homer, charter captain
  • Anthony Mallott, Juneau, son of the lieutenant governor
  • April Ferguson, Anchorage, formed an illegal political action committee in 2014 to elect Walker.
  • Arlene Simpler, Kodiak Democratic Party
  • Barbara Blake, Juneau, Governor’s Senior Advisor, Tribal Affairs, Fish & Game, Marine Resources
  • Barbara Donatelli, Anchorage, is the head of a political money group to elect Walker in 2018.
  • Bill Tatsuda, Ketchikan, supermarket owner
  • Bob Hubbard, Fairbanks, plumbers and steamfitters union
  • Brenda L. Tolman, Whittier
  • Bruce Botelho, Juneau, some call the shadow government of the Walker administration.
  • Buck Laukitis, Homer
  • Carl Marrs, Old Harbor
  • Carpenters Local 1234, Fairbanks
  • Chris Dimond, Juneau, head of the carpenters union and Democratic House candidate, District 33
  • Cindy Roberts, Anchorage, long-time Walker friend
  • Claudia Anderson, Kodiak
  • Cordelia Kellie, Palmer
  • David Guttenberg, Fairbanks
  • David McCabe, Anchorage
  • Don Gray, Fairbanks, retired
  • Donny Olson, Golovin, Democratic senator
  • Dorli McWayne, Fairbanks, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Earl Krygier, Anchorage
  • Emily Edenshaw, Juneau, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
  • Eric Jordan, Sitka, troller
  • Freddie Olin, Anchorage, Special Projects Coordinator for village corporation for Galena, Koyukuk
  • Gail Schubert, Bering Straits, long-time ally of the governor
  • Geron Bruce, Juneau
  • Gordon Glaser, Anchorage
  • Greg Razo, Anchorage, CIRI
  • Greg Wakefield, Anchorage
  • Heather Flynn, Anchorage, retired
  • Heidi Drygas, Juneau/Fairbanks, Commissioner of Labor
  • Ian Fisk, Juneau, lobbyist
  • Ira Perman, Anchorage, political activist
  • Jack Hebert, Fairbanks, President, CEO, and founder of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center
  • Jaeleen Kookesh, Juneau, Sealaska vice president and general counsel
  • Jamie Kenworthy, Anchorage
  • Jan Carolyn Hardy, Anchorage
  • Janet McCabe, Anchorage
  • Jason Grenn, Anchorage
  • Jeanette Wakefield, Anchorage
  • Jodie Gatti, Ketchikan
  • Joe Nelson, Yakutat
  • John Lincoln, Kotzebue, Democratic legislator
  • Karl Kassel, Fairbanks
  • Kate Wool, Fairbanks, married to Rep. Adam Wool
  • Kathryn Scribner, Juneau
  • Kati Ward, Anchorage
  • Kes Woodward, Fairbanks
  • Linda Behnken, Sitka
  • Lindy Jones, Juneau
  • Liz Medicine Crow, Anchorage
  • Malcolm Roberts, Anchorage, friend of the governor
  • Marc Wheeler, Juneau, political activist
  • Margy K. Johnson, Anchorage, former vice president, Alaska Dispatch News
  • Mark Schneiter, Anchorage, tax accountant
  • Marlene Johnson, Juneau/Hoonah, Tlingit leader
  • Marna Sanford, Fairbanks, Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • Mary Hakala, Juneau, legislative staff
  • Mary Hilcoske, Anchorage, executive director Manley and Brautigam
  • Mary Jo Robinson, Anchorage
  • Mary Schulz, Ketchikan
  • Matt Hunter, Sitka, mayor 
  • Meera Kohler, Anchorage, chief executive officer of Alaska Village Electric Cooperative
  • Melissa Borton, Kodiak, tribal administrator
  • Mike Gallagher, Anchorage
  • Mike Kenny, Anchorage, retired Teamster administrator
  • Mike Navarre, Kenai, Commissioner of Commerce
  • Mim McConnell, Sitka, community land trust
  • Minoo Minaei, Anchorage/Homer, teacher
  • Miriam Aarons, Anchorage, director of communications, Bering Straits Native Corp.
  • Myra Munson, Juneau, Native rights attorney
  • Nancy Barnes, Anchorage, president Eyak Corp.
  • Pat Branson, Kodiak, mayor
  • Paula DeLaiarro, Anchorage, works for Ship Creek Group political consultancy
  • Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 375, Fairbanks
  • Raina Thiele, Anchorage, former Obama staff official
  • Reid Magdanz, Kotzebue
  • Richard Peterson, Juneau, Tlingit Haida Central Council
  • Robert Gottstein, Anchorage, business person
  • Sarah McCabe, Anchorage
  • Scott Eickholt, Fairbanks, Laborers 942
  • Sheri Buretta, Anchorage, University of Alaska Board of Regents
  • Steve Hovenden, Fairbanks, Teamsters
  • Stosh Anderson, Kodiak, Kodiak Fisheries Development Association
  • Tim Sharp, Fairbanks
  • Tom Panamaroff, Kodiak, Regional and Legislative Affairs Executive at Koniag
  • Tom Schulz, Ketchikan
  • Tom Simpler, Kodiak
  • Tom Wescott, Eagle River
  • Vicki Otte, Anchorage, founder of an illegally operating political group that helped Walker get elected in 2014, found to be a money-laundering operation
  • Willie Hensley, Anchorage, former Native legislator

Noticeably missing from the list are former staffers, such as former Deputy Chief of Staff Marcia Davis, former Attorney General Craig Richards, and former Commissioner of Natural Resources Mark Myers. Former rural advisor Gerad Godfrey didn’t sign the petition either and has decided to co-chair the Treadwell for Governor race.  Another former top aide, Amanda Price, is now running Edie Grunwald for Lt. Governor’s campaign.


  1. This is elitist corruption of the sort we would expect to see coming from Russia. Walker isn’t running in the primary so the signers of this letter want no Democratic candidate. We also know that the Lt. Gov. said OK to people in District 40 voting two ballots. Truly, this is corruption, and it is sleazy.

  2. Interesting that there is a bigger effort than I have noticed before in getting enough signatures to allow Walker and Mallot’s to run in the General election. I was approached three different times today asking if I would sign their petition . I heard several people who were asked the same thing give the same answer I gave: “no thanks”! Wonder if they are having a problem getting enough signatures.

  3. Your connotation is that this list of people are asking Begich to step down to preserve their jobs. They are asking him to step down because they understand the reality of politics. Walker has a better chance. Begich will hand over the election to the other side. No brained. Step down.

  4. Walker could have run against Begich in the Primary, but declined. Now he wants Begich to drop out. He knows he’s running third in a three way race. Maybe, given his numbers, he’s the one that should be not running again… I hear the deadline to drop out is September 5th. Will he take his own advice ? That would just make too many people happy !

  5. Both Begich and Walker believe they can win a three way race. Mark is the Democrat candidate and Bill is the Governor. Nobody’s stepping aside.

  6. The smart money is on a Republican Gov. elected in any three-way race IMO.
    That said, it stands to reason that Begich has “most to lose” as his political future would be settled by entering the race and handing it to the Republicans.
    Will be fun to watch who flinches first!

  7. Begich is in a no win situation. If he stays in the race he will be labeled a spoiler, if both he and Walker ”split” the vote and both lose. If he leaves, he will anger those who have spent their hard earned cash to get him elected. People that have volunteered their time and money only to have him quit will never forget how they were treated. Just ask Sarah Palin how she has been viewed by Alaskans since she quit. Entering the race at the last moment was a very stupid mistake. His career as a statewide office holder is very likely over.

  8. “Vicki Otte, Anchorage, founder of an illegally operating political group that helped Walker get elected in 2014, found to be a money-laundering operation”

    Are those her words?

  9. Interesting how all these so-called hard core democrats want the only true Democratic Party candidate for Governor to drop out of the race. Yet it seems Begich may have a better chance to win the election. As of July 25, 2018, Governor Walker has the second lowest approval rating of any incumbent governor running for re-election.
    This letter sounds like a desparate plea for help from a sinking ship. Perhaps it would make more sense for the candidate with the lowest approval from Alaskans to drop out.

  10. I know it’s all the rage for Democrats to finally start calling themselves what they are, socialists, so with actions like this why don’t they just abandon the title of Democrat entirely? Last election cycle for governor they completely shutdown the will of the people, here they are 4 years later trying to do it again. It’s sad that there are so few democrats in the Democratic party.

    • Try again. They have not shown up, as far as I can tell. On second glance, one ended up in the spam folder for some reason. Restored and posted. – sd

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