The Quest for Genuine Conservatism: The Case of Alaska

Pictured from left to right: Mike Dunleavy (R), Bill Walker (I), Mark Begich (D) (Credits: Anchorage Daily News photo)

On Friday, October 19, 2018, with less than three weeks to go the midterm elections of November 6, Alaska’s governor Bill Walker announced that he was suspending his re-election bid after his running mate, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot, resigned after “making an inappropriate overture toward a woman.”

Walker, a former Republican turned independent, and his Lt. Gov. Byron Mallot, a Democrat (and an Alaska Native leader), were elected in 2014 with Democratic support. After all, this winning formula was practiced repeatedly by another U.S. Senator (and NeverTrumper) from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski.

Walker endorsed the Democratic candidate, Mark Begich for Governor, and criticized the Republican contender, Mike Dunleavy. Come to think of it, socialist Bernie Sanders was also an “independent.”

Now can somebody explain to me what does this “inappropriate overture” really mean? And where are the #MeToo activists when you need them? Where is the rage, where is the vilification against the fellow Democrat (and Native Alaskan) Mallot? I’m shocked! Shocked!

Truth be told, the “independent” Governor Walker was running a distant third, and the Democrats were afraid that he would split the votes with Begich. Probably, in a boomerang effect, many of his Republican supporters will vote for Dunleavy anyway, securing the victory for a genuine Republican, thus turning Alaska again into a northern southern right-wing state, like some already said.

Since the summer, Dunleavy has constantly led in polls of Alaska’s governor’s race. In the first poll after Walker’s withdrawal (taken between October 19 and 22), Alaska Survey Research found the margin between Dunleavy and Begich was four points (48 percent to 44 percent). A new poll (taken between October 26 and 29), using cellphones and landline telephones showed 43 percent of Alaskans support for Dunleavy and 42 percent support Begich.

A third candidate, Billy Toien (Libertarian), got 3.3 percent, while 4 percent of voters are still undecided.

Key issues in the race are crime, the economy and the future of the checks Alaskans receive from the state’s oil-wealth fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund. Another important issue is fishing industry, and the war between commercial and recreational fishermen. Dunleavy appears to favors the latter ones, and many fears that, if elected, he would cut fisheries management budgets and other state programs that are important to the commercial fishing industry.

Alaskans are given an unexpected chance to vote genuinely conservative again.

Otherwise, Begich will make sure the caravan of those illegal Hondurans will march right into his state’s most northern point.

People of Alaska are missing Sarah Palin already!


NOTE – A version of the article was previously published in MEDIUM.


TIBERIU DIANU has published several books and a host of articles in law, politics, and post-communist societies. He currently lives and works in Washington, DC and can be followed on MEDIUM.




4 comments to The Quest for Genuine Conservatism: The Case of Alaska


    The article describes the political games in Alaska, a northern state with a southern-conservative type of electorate.


    Shortly before the midterm election of November 6, 2018 a political mini-earthquake took place in Alaska. Both the state governor, a former Republican turned Independent, and his Democratic lieutenant-governor resigned due to a local sex scandal.


    It is interesting how in Alaska most independent politicians vote Democrats or are supported by them in elections. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican Senator of Alaska, and a notorious NeverTrumper, has used the same strategy and techniques, and has managed to get re-elected several times without actually getting 50 percent of the votes.


    Now, that the race is only between the Republican and Democratic contenders (and a Libertarian spoiler), the people of Alaska can finally vote for a genuine Republican in the U.S. Congress.

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