Fourteen percent of Alaska voters are registered Democrats. About 27 percent are Republicans. The rest belong to the Libertarians, Alaska Independent Party and the vast majority are undeclared. So those who want to beat Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, whose term is up next year, had an idea: put parties aside and join the independent candidate for governor with the likely Democratic nominee.
And if those candidates are both named Bill, and both have last names that start with W, you’ve at the very least a good campaign logo: Meet “BW2.”
It also doesn’t hurt that Bill Walker, the gubernatorial candidate, is a Republican at heart and that he’s friends with Democrat Sen. Bill Wielechowski, the potential lieutenant governor, and that both have the potential for populist appeal.
To be clear: right now, the scheme seems more of a quixotic Facebook campaign than anything. But the two have been talking about the possibility. Walker said that although he’s a Republican, he and Wielechowski agree on more issues than they disagree, particularly oil taxes.
Walker isn’t the firebrand on the issue that Wielechowski is, but he doesn’t think that the bill that passed, SB21, had the necessary investment assurances and said that he wouldn’t have voted for it if he were in a position to do so.
Pollster Ivan Moore, whose been pushing the BW2 idea, is sure that this is the only chance to beat Parnell, whose support is relatively strong statewide and especially among Republicans.
“The only ticket that could possibly beat Parnell right now is a ticket that unites moderate Republicans, independents and Democrats,” Moore said.
“If the Democrats put someone in the race now, it dooms the Democrats and independents and instantly reelects Parnell,” he said.
Word is that the Democratic Party is none-too-happy about the possibility and has been trying to pressure Wielechowski to abandon the idea. But the party doesn’t really have that much leverage these days. Its numbers are down. Campaign finance reform that the Dems pushed for has greatly limited its fundraising ability. And its bench of candidates is dismally short.
If nothing else, it would be fun and could provide the kind of excitement that Parnell seems incapable of generating.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org