The news of Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott filing for re-election as a team came as no surprise. They did it one year from the date of the 2018 primary.
As they filed, they released a photo from the campaign that had Democrat mastermind Bruce Botelho in the background, as seen above. Botelho was key to their first victory.
It was no accident: Showing Botelho in a campaign photo is a dog whistle to Democrats and union leaders that Walker-Mallott is not a nonpartisan team, but is their team. Botelho says so.
Sen. Bill Wielechowski was having none of it. On Facebook he opined that he doesn’t see a path for the Walker-Mallott ticket.
Wielechowski, who filed a lawsuit against the Walker Administration with Republican politicians Clem Tillion and Rick Halford, has opposed Walker’s method of cutting the Permanent Fund Dividend in order to balance the budget.
Politicos speculate Wielechowski may run for governor as a Democrat. In the past he as considered as a possible candidate for lieutenant governor.
The reaction to the Walker-Mallott filings in the comments sections of Alaska news outlets was almost wholly negative:
- In my mind Walker is a thief. He stole a thousand dollars from each and every Alaskan man woman and child. For the worst possible reasons at the worst possible time. All that money would have gone all over Alaska helping to lift individuals and the economy as a whole right when we needed it. instead we got chicken little yelling about the sky falling. And the state government still doesn’t have a realistic fiscal plan. Not all his fault but he sure wasnt much help…Walker is living in a fantasy if he thinks Alaska needs him. Other than stealing the dividend what exactly has he done, anything of genuine virtue? – Alaska Al
- Got to admit….they know how to win. Lib Dems — both of ’em…. but just like “republican” Seaton down here in Homer, call yourself something else and people fall for it– especially the “independent” label goes over well with Alaskans…. Please pay attention, watch what they do (have done) not what they say… – hooterman
- Again, I’m not commenting on or contending anything other than what the title of the article stated…that they are running as Independents…to which I say they are anything but. Argue and justify them and their policies all you want, I’m not going down that road…just stating my opinion on the piece. – Jon Conner
On Facebook, commenters echoed the refrain: “Anyone but Walker!”
Walker is one of the least popular governors in the United States, according to a poll by Morning Consult.
But the Alaska Democrats were still silent 24 hours after Walker-Mallott filed. No press release and no comments were posted online, either official or unofficial. As of mid-day, the Democrats seem to be keeping their powder dry.
Jay Parmley, executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party, told a TV interviewer that the pair has done well, but he stopped short of saying they would have the party’s support.
The other man who put the B/M ticket together four years ago, AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami, has also remained silent.