Walker, Begich agree with each other at forum


Above, the KTUU image shows a sparsely attended forum that Gov. Bill Walker and Democrat Mark Begich attended, but which Mike Dunleavy skipped. Walker used the KTUU report to criticize Dunleavy for not attending.

Gov. Bill Walker just can’t get over the fact that his main opponent Mike Dunleavy is controlling his own schedule. Every time he goes somewhere and Dunleavy doesn’t join him, he’s on the attack.

On Facebook, Walker complained that Dunleavy didn’t show up at a forum in Anchorage — one that he and Democrat Mark Begich attended.

It turns out that a lot of people didn’t show up at the forum, which was a first-time conference called Accelerate Anchorage. Hardly anyone knew about it.

Dunleavy had told organizers a week earlier that he would not be attending the forum, although KTUU and Gov. Walker characterized Dunleavy’s decision as “last minute.”

The decision was not unwarranted; only about 30 people attended the forum to listen to Walker and Begich agree with each other on nearly everything.

But Walker was going to make campaign hay out of it, writing:

“This is Dunleavy’s third no-show in a week: Alaska Municipal League candidate forum in Healy; AFL-CIO candidate presentations in Fairbanks; and today’s Accelerate Gubernatorial Hot Seat in Anchorage. These are lost opportunities for this candidate to interact with and learn from these Alaskans from communities across the state. You can’t stand tall if you don’t show up.”

A candidate could show up for 30 people in Anchorage, or could head out to the Alaska State Fair and show up for 10,000 people from all walks of life.

These are choices candidates make as they weigh whether a particular forum is something they can afford to do, with the short time frame they have in the General Election cycle.

Walker and Begich showed up in Healy for the Alaska Municipal League’s forum last week, where government officials gathered, while Dunleavy spent his time at the Kenai Peninsula Industry Appreciation Day, where the private sector was.

But Walker defined his attendance at the Healy debate as “showing up for work,” by calling out the other “boys,” as seen below:

Gov. Bill Walker, all alone at the Healy debate, waiting for Mark Begich to show up.