In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Walker’s support for Begich is ‘narrow’

Two men don’t see ‘eye-to-eye’ on abortion rights, spokeswoman says

When he gave a speech announcing his withdrawal from the election, Gov. Bill Walker told his audience that they should support Democratic candidate Mark Begich.

On Monday, Walker’s campaign said the incumbent’s support of Begich has its limits.

In a message to supporters, Walker campaign spokeswoman Lindsay Hobson wrote, “Independent expenditure groups are running advertisements that go far beyond the scope of these areas of alignment into areas where I am not necessarily aligned with Mr. Begich. I have asked that these ads be immediately edited or removed. However, anyone with questions as to where I stand on the issues of this election should look solely to my statement on October 19.”

By phone, Hobson said the message refers to a minute-long radio ad that included Walker’s support for Begich and touched on Begich’s support for abortion rights.

That is “definitely not an area where they see eye to eye,” Hobson said.

Walker explained his views on abortion in a September opinion column in the Anchorage Daily News, saying, “It is not secret that I am personally pro-life.” He went on to say that he believes the Alaska Constitution’s privacy protections preserve abortion rights.

Begich has said believes that too, but he thinks the Alaska Legislature can pass legislation to “whittle away” at abortion rights, which is why it is important to have a governor who is willing to veto such legislation.

While the Walker campaign contacted the group behind the ad over the weekend, it issued a statement because some Alaskans had already heard it, she said.

“The governor’s support of Mark Begich — it’s narrow,” Hobson said.

While Walker and Begich “do see eye to eye on the economy, the (Permanent Fund Dividend), the gasline … on other issues, they do not see eye to eye, and to take that narrow scope of support and extend it to a universal endorsement is inappropriate,” she said.

On Oct. 19 at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage, Walker declared that it had “become clear we cannot win a three-way race” and “Alaskans deserve a competitive race. Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy.”

He warned that Dunleavy’s election would mean the elimination of an expanded Medicaid program, an end to the proposed trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline and a reversal of “the bipartisan approved sustained fiscal plan.”

Walker’s campaign has told supporters to take down their yard signs, but a spokeswoman for the Begich campaign said by email that interaction between the two groups has been minimal.

“Some staff reached out during transition either about logistics like yard signs or potential volunteer opportunities,” wrote Nora Morse by email, adding in a subsequent message that there have been no high-level conversations.

Fundraising

In the days since Walker’s withdrawal from the race, Begich has seen a surge in fundraising support, though he still trails Republican candidate Mike Dunleavy by a significant amount.

Dunleavy is supported by several multimillion-dollar independent expenditure groups, such as Dunleavy for Alaska, which had spent $915,000 by Oct. 5, and the Republican Governors’ Association-backed Families for Alaska’s Future, which had reported $2.7 million in contributions by Oct. 8.

Begich is seeing some support from a group that formerly backed Walker. The indpendent group called Unite Alaska for Walker transferred more than a quarter-million dollars to a new group calling itself Alaskans Opposing Dunleavy. That group was created four days after Walker’s withdrawal from the campaign, and its treasurer is the same person behind the Walker group.

On Monday, a new group calling itself Defeat Dunleavy registered with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The group has not filed its first report with APOC but is headed by the Democratic Governors Association’s director of independent expenditures.

Updated campaign finance figures are expected by the end of the day Tuesday.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


More in News

Folks at the Alaska State Capitol openly admit to plenty of fish tales, but to a large degree in ways intended to benefit residents and sometimes even the fish. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The bizarre bills other state legislatures are considering

Alaska’s Legislature isn’t mulling the headline-grabbers some statehouses have in the works.

This photo shows snow-covered hills in the Porcupine River Tundra in the Yukon Territories, Canada. In July 1997, a hunter contacted troopers in Fairbanks, Alaska, and reported finding a human skull along the Porcupine River, around 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the Canadian border. Investigators used genetic genealogy to help identify the remains as those of Gary Frank Sotherden, according to a statement Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023, from Alaska State Troopers. (AP Photo / Rick Bowmer)
Skull found in ‘97 in Interior belongs to New York man

A skull found in a remote part of Alaska’s Interior in 1997… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Officer William Hicks stands with JPD Chief Ed Mercer and Deputy Chief David Campbell during a swearing in ceremony for Hicks on Thursday at the JPD station in Lemon Creek. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
New officer joins JPD’s ranks

The Juneau Police Department welcomed a new officer to its ranks Thursday… Continue reading

These photos show Nova, a 3-year-old golden retriever, and the illegally placed body hold trap, commonly referred to as a Conibear trap, that caught her while walking near Outer Point Trail last week. (Courtesy / Jessica Davis)
Dog narrowly survives rare illegally placed trap in Juneau

State wildlife officials outlined what to do if found in similar situation

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Public defender agency to refuse some cases, citing staffing

ANCHORAGE — A state agency that represents Alaskans who cannot afford their… Continue reading

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police: Gift card scam connected to hoax Fred Meyer threats

This article has been moved in front of the Empire’s paywall. A… Continue reading

This is a concept design drawing that was included in the request for proposal sent out by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities seeking outside engineering and design services to determine whether it’s feasible to build a new ferry terminal facility in Juneau at Cascade Point. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
DOT takes steps toward potential Cascade Point ferry terminal facility

It would accommodate the Tazlina and or Hubbard, shorten trips to Haines and Skagway

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read