|Mallot and Walker|
Time doesn't wait for lazy bloggers and my post about the unprecedented abandonment of a Democratic candidacy for governor wasn't finished when it was time to get to the Captain Cook to see the new election team.
So I'll put up some pictures here and give a few highlights. Then I'll go back to the original post and finish it. [UPDATE Sept 4: Here it is with video.]
Craig Fleenor, Walker's original running mate, opened things up with what would be one of the themes of the day - this is not about me, it's about what's best for Alaska. Hollis French was not there, but Walker said he was part of the discussions leading to this decision and he had been invited.
Judging from the number of media in the audience at the Captain Cook's Quarterdeck, you'll be seeing and hearing plenty of video and getting lots of accounts of what happened.
Mallot spoke first, surrounded by his wife and son. He spoke of how this came about - the polls strongly said he couldn't win if both he and Walker ran. He said that the two had become friends at debates where Gov. Parnell did not show up.
It was a hard decision and if the Party hadn't approved, he would have kept on as a Democrat.
Mallot did allow that while the two were sitting in the back of a four-wheeler in Gamble, he did wonder what would happen if Walker fell out.
Walker, surrounded by his wife, some of his kids, and Mallot, said that Wally Hickel had introduced him in this very room when he ran for Governor last time. He noted that Hickel told him he should run as an independent, not as a Republican. "He was right."
He called himself a conservative, and in response to questions, said they were running on fiscal and energy issues, not social issues. He would leave abortion laws as they are and he had no interest in vouchers. He's not running on social issues.
The major theme seemed to be: end to politics as usual, end to partisanship, his government would be peopled with qualified candidates regardless of political affiliation.
He also said that the Lt. governor's office would be in with the governor's office, not 300 feet away. They would work as a team.
When asked what this administration would be known for in after their first term, Walker listed:
- Lowering the cost of energy in Alaska
- Education improvements
- An administration that went where other were uncomfortable to go
- Infrastructure improvements
- The gas pipeline
- Action, not so much talking and studying
- Leadership - there isn't any now
- Putting Alaska first
- Listening, reaching out
- No party lines - if it's good for Alaska, we'll do it
"We need an owner of the ranch, not a ranch hand, as governor."
There was a sense of excitement in the room. This decision - a Republican and a Democrat joining together - certainly is a dramatic action rather than just words.