ELECTION PROVIDES GOVERNOR WITH A MESSAGE: “IT’S CLOSE, SO SEND MONEY”
Mike Dunleavy had an historic landslide victory in the primary on Tuesday, but Gov. Bill Walker thinks otherwise. He thinks it’s close.
And he wasted no time using the results of the primary to raise cash.
In a letter to potential supporters, Walker wrote Wednesday:
“This election will be very close. Our records show that you have not donated this year. After spending more than $600,000 in outside dollars to deliver a message of unsustainable dividends and unspecific spending cuts, our leading opponent has mustered little more than one third of the electorate.”
This electorate? It the same one Walker would not face in the primary.
Walker had first agreed to run in the Democrat primary, but then ran from it in June when Begich joined, and went on to collect 5,000 signatures to appear on the General Election ballot.
The signatures Walker gathered represent less than 5 percent of the electorate that took part on Tuesday, but give him equal standing on the ballot with those who participated in the primary. Gov. Walker is attempting to make history by being elected a second time as a no-party candidate.
Mike Dunleavy, the presumed leading opponent, garnered 39,193 votes in Tuesday’s semi-closed ballot, while his nearest competitor, Republican Mead Treadwell, earned 20,230 votes.
The electorate is made up of 566,790 registered voters, thanks to the increase brought by the automatic voter registration. Turnout in the Tuesday election was 18.20 percent, with just 103,175 voting.
Of those who voted, Dunleavy attracted 38 percent of the entire vote, in spite of the fact that Alaskans registered as Democrats, Libertarians, Independence Party, or members of other political parties are not able to cast the Republican ballot in the primary. Mark Begich, the lone Democrat, came in second with 29,806 votes. Anyone can vote the Democrats ballot.
Dunleavy and Begich, victors on their respective tickets, gobbled up 67 percent of the vote, in spite of the fact that the Treadwell name was on the Republican ballot. Treadwell has run for statewide office three times and is a well-known name. He is a former lieutenant governor.
While Treadwell lost the primary, some of those Treadwell votes will go to Dunleavy in the General Election, with an unknown percentage of the remainder peeling off for Begich or Walker.
In July, Gov. Bill Walker released poll data that showed he likely has 28 percent of the vote to Begich’s likely 22 percent of the vote. That poll was not viewed as credible, but an attempt to lessen Begich’s resolve to remain in the race. Walker faces an uphill battle as the least popular governor in America who is running for re-election.
Also in July, Harstad Strategic Research posted different results in a poll it did for Begich, which showed both Begich and Walker tied at 28 percent, and Dunleavy at 32 percent in a three-way race. Undecided/other voters totaled 12 percent in that poll.