ALL EYES ON GOVERNOR WALKER
The Alaska Supreme Court today ruled in favor of the Alaska Democratic Party, saying the party can run candidates on its primary ballot even if those candidates are not members of the Democratic Party.
All eyes are now on Gov. Bill Walker.
The Democrats fought court battles to the Alaska Supreme Court specifically so they could open their primary ballot and have Walker run on it. They can’t replicate the magic trick they performed in 2014, when they reorganized candidates after the primary election, disenfranchising their primary voters who had voted for Byron Mallott for governor.
And if Walker runs as an unaffiliated candidate again this time, neither he nor a Democrat can win against a strong Republican candidate.
For example, if Walker runs on his “Walker ticket,” and activist Ray Metcalfe decides to run as the Democratic candidate, the two will split the liberal vote.
Walker has made public stances in the past six months to highlight his “independent” status, and has been endorsed by groups advocating for a no-party process, such as UniteAmerica.
If he chooses not to go on the Democrats’ ticket, he can count on Mark Begich doing so, because Walker’s popularity ranking has fallen sharply.
The court today was upholding a ruling by Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg, who in October struck down the State’s law requiring such party affiliation for primary ballots.
Today’s Supreme Court ruling, which was just one page, comes after a hearing last week in Kenai, where the Democratic Party was allowed to state why it feels running undeclared candidates on its primary ballot is its right as a political organization.
Although no explanation for the ruling was given, it doesn’t really need one since the court has simply sided with the lower court’s ruling, making no alterations.
REPUBLICANS WANT THEIR RULE ENACTED TOO
The Alaska Republican Party is interested in the case because it wants to have the freedom to determine who is on its primary ballots as well.
In the case of Republicans, the party decided in December to prohibit people who the party considers to be political frauds from posing as Republican candidates.
That nearly unanimous vote took place during the ARP quarterly meeting of officers and it applies to Reps. Gabrielle LeDoux, Paul Seaton, and Louise Stutes, who ran as Republicans and then immediately formed a coalitions with Democrats. The party has sanctioned them and refused all support for their re-election.
The division of Elections was notified by Republicans on Dec. 4, two days after the quarterly meeting and decision.
However, Division Director Josie Behnke responded to State Party Chairman Tuckerman Babcock that his request to remove three rogue legislators from the party’s primary ballot, as instructed by the Republicans, was “untimely.” She said the request should have been made in September — before the Superior Court decision had occurred.
Babcock said he plans to send another letter to Behnke today, saying that the court has clarified the matter and since the division has to implement a new rule for the Democrats, it can implement the rule for the Republicans at the same time.