Remember back last fall, there was a big push afoot to get Bill Walker and Bill Wielechowski to run together? A bipartisan, independent ticket for Governor and Lt. Governor? A Republican and a Democrat, putting politics aside and opening a can of whoopass on Sean Parnell?
My, those were fun days. Yes, indeed they were. B.W. Squared. (Sigh) But we can all go home now. Go on, off you go. Not happening.
There was a furious uproar from partisan Democrats, a howling the likes of which hasn’t ever been heard before. The concept of a Democrat and a Republican running together appalled them. Kay Brown, Executive DIRECTOR of the Alaska Democrats, suggested that Bill Walker should just change his party affiliation and run as a Democrat, truly not recognizing that all the power of the idea would be lost in doing that. Bill Wielechowski was, to all intents and purposes, threatened with excommunication from the party.
As George Takei, would say… Oh My! Such drama.
To cap it all off, Senator Mark Begich, the big kahuna in Alaska’s leftist apparat, deemed it unacceptable that there was no credible, viable Democrat running for Governor. In short, having a Democrat at the top of the ticket getting votes out for Mark in November was deemed more important than whether or not Sean Parnell got four more years.
But all this was last fall. Lots of stuff has happened since then. Notably, Begich is running a strong campaign, getting Don “Asshat” Young (I call him that because that’s how he came across when he stuck his thumbs in his ears and wiggled his fingers on the House floor) all riled up by claiming he did things he did actually do. Dan “No Lips” Sullivan is getting more unpopular by the day, no impediment to him winning the primary of course, but November is a different matter.
Then, there were Begich’s strokes of good fortune. First, the Republicans dallied at the end of the legislative session, long enough that they pushed the three main initiatives, Marijuana, Bristol Bay and Minimum Wage, onto the November ballot. With the stoners, greenies and unionists coming out in droves in the General, Mark can’t lose!
His second stroke of luck was Vic Kohring, of all PEOPLE, filing to run as an Alaska Independence party candidate. Vic is going to pull a few votes, trust me, votes that would otherwise largely gravitate toward the Republican in the race.
Bottom line, while we’re not at November yet, Begich is looking pretty good for re-election, whether his opponent is Mead Treadwell or Dan Sullivan. Or Joe Miller. OK, that last bit was a joke.
So back to the Governor’s race. I just did one of my big quarterly Alaska survey projects, a statewide 750-sample survey of both land lines and CELL PHONES, and asked Governor questions on there for Bill Walker.
(DISCLAIMER: I know Bill Walker. I like Bill Walker. He periodically hires me to do polls for him, but it’s a project-to-project deal. I’m not working in an ongoing sense for his campaign, nor is there any plan for me to. I did these poll numbers for him, but these are the exact same results that anyone would have gotten from these questions if they’d paid me to do them.)
Out of a sample of 584 likely voters statewide, fielded between June 19 and 23, the results showed a three-way race between Sean Parnell (42 percent), Bill Walker (28 percent) and Byron Mallott (16 percent) with 13 percent undecided Previous polls that I’d done back into last year always showed Walker and Mallott closer together, almost evenly splitting the anti-Parnell vote. So Walker is pulling away, leaving Mallott looking rather forlorn and uninspired back in the teens.
But people will claim, probably quite rightly, that it doesn’t matter how much Walker pulls away, he’ll never be able to catch Parnell with Mallott in there. There’s some validity to that. I know it’s something that makes a lot of people who want Parnell gone shake their heads. They’re killing each other, right?
Well check out these next results: These represent scenarios where either Walker or Mallott drops out. Head to head between Walker (Independent) and Parnell (Republican) shows Walker (45 percent), Parnell (46 percent) with nine percent undecided. Yowza, pretty close. And Walker is nowhere near universally known yet! As he gets more known, he’ll move into the lead.
Meanwhile, a head-to-head between Mallott (Democrat) and Parnell (Republican) has Mallott (34 percent) trailing Parnell (55 percent) with 11 percent undecided. My professional take on this result? Mallott gets well and truly stuffed.
The key is in the conservative areas of the state. While sample sizes are admittedly small in regions of the state, Fairbanks is a pretty good indicator of the dynamic. Walker beats Parnell by seven in Fairbanks (because that’s where he’s from), while Mallott gets hosed by 29 points. In the MatSu Valley and Kenai Peninsula, Walker’s got a one-point lead, while Mallott takes a 26-point pounding.
Which was precisely the point of teaming a Republican and a Democrat together. A Democrat, regardless of what Kay Brown and the Democrats would tell you, can’t win alone. Not even Byron Mallott’s credible, intelligent, experienced but thoroughly underwhelming and unenergetic campaign. It’s just not going to happen.
So let’s figure this thing out, shall we? I, for one, am going to be really, really pissed if we get to November and we still have a three way race because it will likely mean four more years of Captain Zero.
If you don’t believe my poll numbers, thinking they’re compromised by the source of payment for them, in much the same way that people might think Scott Goldsmith’s analysis of SB21 was suspect because the money that paid for that came from uber-Republican Marc Langland and his SB21-supporting Northrim Bank, then fine. Use your common sense instead.
Who do you think would stack up better against Sean Parnell? An independent, non-partisan, pro-gasline Republican and a reasonably sane one at that? Or a Democrat with no roots or base of support in conservative Alaska?
It’s irrefutable. Bill Walker is the candidate who should take on Sean Parnell. Head to head. Mano a mano.