One of the smarmy little tricks we have been seeing in recent Alaskan elections are candidates that switch parties, claim to be independent, Republican or even Libertarians. Governor Bill Walker gave this a large caliber chunk of encouragement when he joined forces with the Alaska First crowd, unions and democrats to get himself elected Governor. Over the last couple years, Walker is hardly independent, but represents a thoroughly democrat administration.
In the same election, Dan Ortiz in Ketchikan ran as an independent, was elected and promptly threw in with the same democrats he had been supporting for years. Jim Colver, switched party affiliations in January to Republican and won a 3-way split primary in 2014. He then spent the next two years working with democrats to overturn the Republican majority in the House. Colver was defeated for reelection last month.
This year, no less than 11 so-called independents are running for various legislative seats. Most are running against Republican incumbents. Most are getting significant monetary support from the usual suspects on the democrat side. Most are getting significant ground game legwork from the unions, which fall all over themselves getting democrats elected. I expect every single one of them will caucus with democrats in support of whatever Bill Walker wants should they win in November.
The two most prominent of these are Margaret Stock, running against Lisa Murkowski for US Senate, and union boss Vince Beltrami, attempting to take out State Senator Cathy Giessel. Vince is not any more independent than Hillary is. He has been playing kingmaker in democrat campaigns for over a decade. He helped broker the deal that created the Walker – Mallott ticket in 2014. Margaret Stock is little better, having spent all her time attending democrat functions and fundraisers. While she flails away nicely at Lisa, she will Caucus with Chuckie Schumer in the US Senate, if elected.
Finally, we have our good friend, Joe Miller, who at the last minute tossed his principles aside and decided he wanted to be a Libertarian candidate for US Senate. He publicly said he wanted to give Alaskan voters a conservative choice in November. But he is not a conservative any more; he is a libertarian candidate. Anyone read the Libertarian platform lately? Especially the Millerite pro-lifers? There are some very interesting pro-choice / pro-abortion positions in it.
All of these candidates – Stock, Beltrami, Ortiz , Walker, Colver, and Joe Miller are pretending to be something other than what they really are. As such, they are committing a fraud upon the body politic by not having the stones to actually stand up and tell the voters what they actually believe in. They are all promising one thing and like Walker, are all going to deliver something far, far different.
Some of the “independents” may actually be successful getting elected. We hope that number approaches zero. For if these people can’t actually look you in your eye and tell you what they are and what they actually believe, why do they deserve your votes?
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He is a small business owner and Information Technology professional.