As many readers know, Bill Walker is no long running against Gov. Sean Parnell as a Republican. He is an independent candidate. Some, including pollster Ivan Moore, have been pushing Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski to run with Walker as his lieutenant governor. Moore has said that it’s the only way to win against Parnell, and that the two have a shot at the seat as long as the Dems don’t come in and muss things up by putting someone on the ticket.
Indeed, anything can happen in politics, particularly in Alaska, where independents (or non affiliated candidates) outnumber Democrats and Republicans combined.
In the spirit of independence, below are a few facts about Alaska’s past and present relationship with those who choose to go outside the two party system.
- Out of the 23 legislators who convened for Alaska’s first territorial Legislature in 1913, only six belonged to one of the two major parties.
- In the 1980 presidential campaign, U.S. Rep. John Anderson, running as an independent, finished second in Alaska behind the winner, Ronald Reagan, and in front of the incumbent, President Jimmy Carter.
- Alaska state Rep. Carl Moses served in the House having been elected as a Republican, Democrat and as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party.* (He was also defeated once by a flip of the coin which was the way they broke the tie between he and current Rep. Bryce Edgemon).
- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, having lost the R nomination to keep her seat in the US Senate, waged a successful write-in independent campaign defeating Democrat Scott McAdams and Republican Joe Miller.
- Wally Hickel served as the second and eighth governor of the 49th state, first as a Republican and the second time under the banner of the Alaskan Independence Party.*
- When Alaska’s first state Legislature convened on Jan. 26, 1959, there was one independent in the two chambers: a man from Naknek by the name of Jay S. Hammond.
- The last independent to serve in the Legislature was Edward Willis of Eagle River who served from 1993 to 1996.
- In the last election cycle (2012), Ron Devon ran as an independent against Republican Sen. Cathy Giessel. He lost the race, 58.8 percent to 40.7 percent.
Note: there is a difference between being an independent (declining to affiliate with a political party) and the Alaskan Independence Party which believes in seceding and becoming its own political entity.