By Dave Donaldson
Republican Bill Walker says he’s not continuing a run for the governor’s office. He came in second in the Republican primary last month with about a third of the party-members’ votes.
Staying in the race was boosted by the results of a Craciun Research poll conducted the day after the election that showed, in a three-person race, he was only one percentage point behind Governor Sean Parnell – and five points ahead of Democrat Ethan Berkowitz.
He never reached agreement with any other party over running as their candidate – and he says that actively pursuing a write-in candidacy is “too big a lift” for him.
Since the election, Walker has met with both Parnell and Berkowitz – but says he’s passing on endorsing any of the other candidates on the General Election Ballot – although that’s not out of the question.
If I felt that way, I wouldn’t have been in the race to begin with probably. So I’m still sort of looking at that, and I’ll give some consideration to that, and there’s a possibility of not endorsing anybody. We’ll see how that plays out. There’s plenty of time for that.
In a formal, written statement distributed Wednesday morning, Walker alluded to “Alaskans who are fed up with business as usual and the politics of study, delay and deceit.” Although his candidacy was identified with his support of an All-Alaska gas line from the North Slope, he says he heard more diverse issues on the road this year. He says he’s looking for ways to see that the people are heard on a variety of subjects – and that could come in various forms – such as a non-profit organization – to explore new ideas for government.
I’m not a professional politician looking for another office to land in. But I am sort of an Alaskan that says, We can do it better, we can do it better than this. And I think there’s a lot of Alaskans that agree with me.
Both major-party candidates see the amount of support Walker was getting near the end of the primary season – and even though he isn’t endorsing either one, they both are looking for his voters. Democrat Ethan Berkowitz says one of his goals is to deliver the All-Alaska gas project from the North Slope to tidewater – and with Walker’s having a hand in negotiating Alaska’s gas future.
The pipeline is a big issue in this state. There are other issues out there. And I do believe that people are tired of “business as usual” where it’s all about the same old kind of politics where nothing ever gets done. And Sean Parnell represents that kind of politics. And I would encourage people who are frustrated with the way things are that they ought to look at my candidacy and join my campaign. We can win this, and we can turn Alaska in the right direction.
Republican Parnell’s running mate Mead Treadwell has worked with Walker on the All-Alaska pipeline dating back to the early 80’s. He says since his election in the Lt. Governor’s primary race, he has already met with oil company executives – and he sees the time is ripe to actually bring potential customers from export markets to help work them into the process.
We’re ready to sit down with any and all comers on that issue appropriately to see what happens. And I’m not speaking as a state official. But I’m speaking as one who has advocated this for some time – and there are opportunities to move forward.
Treadwell says he and the governor have looked at other issues that Walker raised, and he sees Parnell as a person who will do his homework – and then take solid action on them.
Walker says those attempts to attract his supporters recognize the importance of the issues he worked on.