CAMPAIGNING 101 AS THEY MAKE THE FINAL TURN ON THE RACE TRACK
In Fairbanks today, former gubernatorial candidate Mead Treadwell endorsed Mike Dunleavy for governor.
Treadwell, a former lieutenant governor, ran earlier this year because he felt there needed to be a more well-known name on the Republican ticket than a public school teacher from Koyuk.
But he had only six weeks to make the case to voters and his campaign fell short. Like Scott Hawkins, who also ran for governor as a Republican and withdrew for health reasons, Treadwell endorsed the nominee who has since unified the Republican base.
Meanwhile, incumbent governor Bill Walker is rolling out something nearly every other day in October: So far, he has announced plans to give raises to public safety employees, pledged funding for tourism marketing, and on Thursday he rolled out a plan for lower worker compensation rates for businesses.
By the time Alaska Federation of Natives has its convention later this month, there are likely to be a dozen more lures in the water for Walker’s re-election. There will be something for fishing stakeholders, and something for the construction community, something for health care.
These aren’t current deliverables but they are enticements Walker is making to group after stakeholder group as he tries to gain on Mark Begich, who is now in second place for governor, according to the polls.
It can only mean the election is 32 days away.
Walker was called out at one of his own press conferences by the mainstream media for using the funding promises as a campaign event. He dodged the question.
In 2014, Walker promised he would not cut the dividend, would not raise taxes and would cut the budget by 16 percent.
“I can’t believe that the Governor’s Office puts out this misleading statement of the cause and effect,” reported one business owner who needed to remain anonymous. “Worker compensation rates are down because injuries are down, not because of the so-called ‘reform’ bill.
“NCCI proposed the rate reduction and it’s because claims are down, no other reason. Claims are down because Alaska employers work hard on safety and return to work. One other cause and effect that is fact is that insurers are putting pressure on medical providers by offering out-of-state treatment and medical providers in-state are finally starting to be more reasonable; and the medical fee schedule pushed through a couple of years ago. Commissioner Drygas taking credit for premium trends is concerning. The careful wording keeps it just this side of the truth. Barely.”
Both Walker and Mark Begich have significant radio and digital ads playing that are attacking Mike Dunleavy, while Dunleavy, the former public school teacher from Koyuk and Kotzebue, has remained “standing tall” above the fray, spending his days meeting with everyday Alaskans.
All pollsters agree that he is the likely winner on Nov. 6. The shots on him will keep coming right up to Election Day.