Republican Sean Parnell Loses Alaska Governor’s Race To Independent Bill Walker
Sean Parnell, who had succeeded to the Governorship of Alaska when Sarah Palin resigned in 2009 and was elected in his own right in 2010, has been defeated for re-election by a fusion ticket led by Independent Bill Walker:
Independent Bill Walker has won the Alaska governor’s race, defeating incumbent Republican Sean Parnell, according to The Associated Press.
Parnell faced off against Walker, a former the Republican turned independent, in what looked to be a cakewalk for Parnell but turned into a dogfight for the incumbent.
The race was too close to call on election night. This week, thousands of absentee ballots and questioned ballots were counted, according to the Associated Press.
In an unusual twist even for the obscure politics of the Last Frontier State, Walker teamed up with Democrats to create a united front against Parnell.
Walker formed a fusion ticket with Byron Mallott, who had been the Democratic gubernatorial nominee but agreed to run as Walker’s lieutenant governor. The Democratic state committee voted to allow Walker to switch drop his party affiliation, and a judge upheld the partnership.
Perhaps the most notable thing to happen in the race was the fact that Palin, who had generally stayed out of Alaska politics the last several years, endorsed the Walker/Mallott ticket over her successor and former Lt. Governor. According to reports, Palin’s motivation for this was apparently rooted in the fact that Parnell had abandoned certain energy policies that Palin had pursued as Governor, causing her to accuse him of being in the pocket of “Big Oil.” It’s unclear, though, just how much of an impact that endorsement had on the race since Walker was leading Parnell in the polls long before Palin made her endorsement. Given the fact that Walker was a Republican I’m not sure we can expect much in the way of policy changes out of Alaska. Of course, in Alaska government policy basically seems to involve collecting the revenue from the oil companies and passing it along to the citizens anyway.