Alaska News

Democrats schedule party meetings for decision on unity ticket

As merger talks continued Labor Day between Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott and independent Bill Walker, the Democratic Party scheduled evening meetings of its governing body to ratify a deal on a unity ticket -- if one can be struck.

Since Friday, Mallott and Walker and their aides and supporters have been in serious negotiations about creating a single ticket and asking their lieutenant governor running mates to resign. Under most versions reported about a deal, the two would run as independents, with Walker the governor candidate and Mallott for lieutenant governor.

The Democratic Party's central committee would have to agree to not replace Mallott on the ballot, leaving a blank spot at the top of the ticket for the first time in state history. According to spokesman Zack Fields, the party has scheduled teleconference meetings of its executive committee for 5 p.m. Monday and its governing central committee, which numbers more than 100, at 6:30 p.m.

Democratic Party Finance Committee chair Rocky Plotnick, a member of both committees, said in a phone call from Hawaii that no formal agenda was emailed with notices of the meetings, but she had little doubt what would be up for discussion: deciding what to do about the merger.

"It sounds like we're taking it to the group for a vote," Plotnick said. She said she would vote in favor.

"If Byron has signed up for this, I'm signed up for this," Plotnick said.

Party spokesman Fields said the discussion by both committees would be held in executive session, but the central committee vote would be taken in public as party rules dictate.

Merger talks have been propelled by polls that suggest incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell would easily win in a three-way race, but would have trouble facing a Walker-Mallott ticket. The deadline for making changes to the November ballot is Tuesday.

Richard Mauer

Richard Mauer was a longtime reporter and editor for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. He left the ADN in 2017.