Former Alaska AG and lt. gov argue to keep Walker-Mallott ticket on ballot

Here’s an op-ed written by former state Attorney General Bruce Botelho and former Lt. Gov. Stephen McAlpine, arguing that the lawsuit to keep the “Unity” ticket off the ballot has “no merit.”

On September 17, attorney and Republican Party activist Ken Jacobus went to court on behalf of the Republican Party’s district chair, Steve Strait, in an attempt to remove Parnell’s only significant opposition from the ballot.  Mr. Jacobus’ theory is that Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell could not adopt emergency regulations to permit Bill Walker to substitute Byron Mallott as his running mate.  Jacobus has demanded that the court bar Mr. Walker and Mr. Mallott from appearing “as a combined non-party ticket”. In our judgment, this lawsuit has no merit.

The scenario complained about in this current lawsuit has actually occurred on five separate occasions. In four of those instances (1982, 2002, 2006, and now in 2014) emergency regulations were adopted to provide the means to allow a gubernatorial candidate to select a new running mate. While elements of this merged ticket are certainly worthy of the “history-in-the-making” banner, the mechanics of the merger are nothing new or out of the ordinary in this state. In 2006, the attorney general reviewed the constitutional and other legal precedent and concluded:

“[W]e think that no-party gubernatorial candidates are free to choose any running mate they wish, regardless of political affiliation or lack thereof, whether it be at the initial petition stage or later when the original running mate may withdraw and need to be replaced.”

Mr. Jacobus’ complaint reads like the partisan press release that it is, attempting to portray the merger of the two campaigns as a cynical backroom deal orchestrated by union bosses.  As eyewitnesses and participants in the discussions leading up to the merger, let us be perfectly clear — no offers of appointment, employment, or passing or vetoing legislation, or commitments of public funding were made.  And despite all of the speculation, both Bill and Byron stood resolute in their personal convictions on certain issues but agreed that they were in alignment on the vast array of issues critical to them as Alaskans.

Yes, Bill and Byron talked privately about a possible merger of their campaigns. Each campaign had been following several polls over the course of the spring and summer showing that (a) Governor Parnell’s performance in office was largely discredited, and that (b) more Alaskans than not wanted a new governor which they would not get in a 3-way race. Bill and Byron recognized that they shared similar views on most of the pressing issues facing Alaska and that the state could not easily sustain four more years of extremism and mismanagement that characterizes the current administration.  Their common vision is what led them to make common cause.

Bill and Byron were well aware of the AFL-CIO’s preference for a combined ticket. But well before that, there were voices throughout Alaska, in the business and medical community, among tribal leadership, from pro-life supporters and women’s organizations, conservatives and liberals, local government leaders, fishermen, hunters, farmers, families and students, who urged consolidation for the same reasons that brought Bill and Byron together.

We should not be surprised by this lawsuit. The latest polls show that Alaskans strongly prefer the Walker-Mallott ticket over the Parnell-Sullivan ticket. We are bemused by the irony that Republican Party operatives now believe they must rise to the defense of the Democratic Party.

We express our support for the integrity and competence of the attorneys representing our government in this case and our confidence that the court will uphold the actions of Lt. Governor Treadwell to permit Bill Walker and Byron Mallott to appear together on the November ballot.  We deplore the efforts of Mr. Jacobus and Mr. Strait to deprive the voters of Alaska of a choice between the failed policies and actions of the Parnell administration and the opportunity for a new beginning that the Walker-Mallott team offers our state.

Stephen McAlpine served as Alaska’s Lt. Governor for eight years.  Bruce Botelho served as Attorney General for Governors Walter Hickel and Tony Knowles.  Both had years of experience dealing with election matters.


9 thoughts on “Former Alaska AG and lt. gov argue to keep Walker-Mallott ticket on ballot

  1. Stockholder

    Funny slogan heard recently:

    “Alaska needs a lead dog, not a lap dog, as governor.”

    People were howling with laughter… as Seanoco supporters flee…

  2. Shame on You

    @J.R: I’m voting for you. I want the $2 billion deficit spending gone by the next budget cycle. If you can pledge to get that done, I vote for you. Meanwhile, we have all these people on this blog arguing nonsense, such as who did what wrong. All of that is nonsense. What is important is this: Will Alaska be solvent under Parnell and the majority Republican legislature at the level of current spending? The answer is an unequivocal NO. And this is why I want Parnell OUT at all costs. He will never stop the spending and under his incompetent leadership, the incompetent legislature will do the same. So if you promise to end deficit spending and bring fiscal sanity to Alaska’s coffers, I will vote for you. Period.

  3. Shame on You

    @Alaska for Democracy and @Garand: I think you miss the whole argument of my premise. While you waste your time looking at the small picture of who did what wrong, Alaska is going in the wrong direction that of bankruptcy very fast. The spending by the Republicans with massive $2 billion deficits, make the super majority legislature of Democrats in California blush with envy. This is how bad spending is in Alaska. The spending in Alaska makes Governor moon-beam Brown of California look like a juvenile school child. Do you get my point yet, or are you daft as a door knob? My point is that whether a Libertarian, Republican, Unity ticket, or Democrat or any other person becomes governor, SPENDING MUST STOP in Alaska. The Deficits MUST STOP. And I believe that the Walker/Mallott ticket can do that. Personally, the Meyer/Rensel ticket would be great if they could win, but I doubt they have the momentum in Alaska. I will vote Meyer/Rensel. And yes! Parnell is corrupt, just like Bill Stoltze and Chenault are corrupt. The Repubs and Dems are BOTH corrupt. For pete’s sake, go beyond the party and stick to issues. The issue is that deficit spending in Alaska MUST STOP, and Parnell will NEVER stop the spending. Parnell is the problem. Parnell must go at all costs, whether it is the Unity ticket or someone else is irrelevant. I say this again: All you conservatives and liberals, take heed: deficit spending in Alaska must stop and whoever puts a stop to it is right for Alaska. Or else you become like California mired in s**t and debt.

  4. Alaskan for democracy


    Stick the merits and scope of his argument. He argued – and correctly – that if Putin did what the Dems and Walker and Mallot just did, then everyone would be shaking their heads at the lack of democracy, and I would add, mockery of democracy. He is correct. What they did is sleazy. He is correct again in that observation. If you’re going to respond to his comment, attack the scope of bis argument.

    Since you clearly can’t do that, I will attack your points. Without giving any credence to your accusations against Parnell, what you’re saying, is that sleazy and undemocratic, self-serving political backroom deals are ok if the end justifies the means. Beat Parnell at all cost, including the election process and the will of the people. That is a dangerous precedent for all Alaskans. What if Parnell did what the Dems and Walker just did with their game of musical chairs and vanishing candidates – and appearing ones? (Remember, Walker was not on the primary ballot.). If Parnell had done that, you would be screaming and attacking his character. Liberals are such hypocrites on so many levels. Change the rules of the game mid-game. Blame and accuse the peope who call you out on it. Justify your actions. Deny you did anything wrong. The bottom line is: you violated the will of the people and the election process and made dirty deals with the devil. Hopefully, voters will call you out on it in November and we will never hear about Walker and Mallot again. This should end their political careers.

  5. J.R.Myers for Alaska Governor 2014

    Alaskans need substance, not political theatrics. This election will likely determine Alaska’s future for years to come. The MYERS/RENSEL ticket will SERVE the best interests of the people of Alaska, even when it means tough and unpopular fiscal decisions. We must act decisively now to preserve a legacy for future generations.

  6. Garand Fellow

    1. I am absolutely certain that Governor Parnell is not corrupt. I believe the process that came up with the Walker/Mallott ticket was corrupt.
    2. Government spends all the money available to it, and then some. Capitalist, socialist, fascist, democracy, autocracy, republic, liberal, conservative, and all the other words that don’t matter so far as government spending; they’re all just words. If government can obtain the money using courts, troops, gunboats, bombs, etc. it will obtain the money and spend it. Chenault, Parnell, Palin, Knowles, French, Murkowski, Young, Huggins; all just last names of people who are elected or sometimes are elected, and they don’t matter so far as government spending all the money available to it, and then some.
    3. Governments come and go. Cultures come and go. People come and go. Species come and go.

  7. Shame on You

    @Garand: So let me get this straight: As a fiscal conservative you approve of nimrod Parnell squandering public money and resources and running the state’s highest $2billion deficits, but you disapprove of a unity ticket that might actually dislodge a corrupt governor. What kind of a twisted conservative are you? I don’t think you’re a conservative. You seem to be one of those Karl Rove, Dick Cheney kinda faux conservatives. Shame on you for calling yourself a conservative.

  8. Lynn Willis

    The primary system in Alaska is intended to use public funds to subsidize the recognized political parties to choose candidates. No political independent or member of a non-recognized party can participate. After the election is paid for by the public the results belong to the parties and private citizens.
    The Lt. Governor cannot force any candidate of a particular party to stay on that party ballot for Governor after the primary. The Lt. Governor could not force Fleener or French to run in the General Election. The Lt. Governor could not force Walker to accept or reject Mallot. The Lt. Governor was faced with the possibility of Parnell/Sullivan running against Walker alone. That sounds like an emergency to me.
    Too bad if the parties didn’t mandate that candidates remain on the party ballot until the General Election. That mandate is the solution unless we adopt the “top two” primary and let every candidate participate in the primary- otherwise the state needs to end this useless expense to the people.

  9. Garand Fellow

    Sleazy, sleazy, sleazy. Somehow we are supposed to believe that the August 19, 2014, bait and switch has lots of precedent and therefore is OK. Vote for Mallott and French, candidates for governor and lt. governor, respectively, and 2 weeks on French is gone (cannot be found by the press it seems), that ticket also cannot be found at all, and a new ticket has someone named Walker who didn’t run at all and Mallott is in the lt. governor position.

    If Putin pulled something like this in Russia we would all shake our heads and say, ‘there he goes again, doesn’t resemble democracy.’ We would be correct. It doesn’t.

    A fellow I grew up with and liked very much had a very long face, like Jim Nabors. So at that time and place it was natural that he learned to imitate Gomer Pyle quite well. Unfortunately, back in the 1990’s, racing on a short, paved track that I always thought was too fast (steep) he flopped a new Ford Thunderbird. I was told that it didn’t look like a really bad spill, but when he was pulled from the car he was dead. If not for that I would call old Steve and ask if I could hear him say one more time, ‘sleazy, sleazy, sleazy.’

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