Mallott Wins Democratic Nomination for Alaska Governor

Richard Walker
8/26/14

One hour after polls closed on Election Day, August 19, Byron Mallott was returning home to Juneau from Sitka, where he spent the day campaigning.

He emerged from his flight the Democratic nominee for Alaska governor. Voters narrowed their political parties’ choices from seven candidates to three: Republican Sean Parnell, the incumbent; Libertarian Carolyn Clift, a retired public school teacher; and Mallott. Also on the November 4 ballot is Bill Walker, Independent.

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With 435 of 441 precincts counted on Election Night, Mallott received 34,569 of the 51,714 ballots cast for Democratic or Libertarian candidates for governor (Alaska puts Democrats and Libertarians on the same primary ballot); Parnell received 65,267 of 86,403 votes cast for Republican candidates for governor.

Election night, the Mallott and Walker camps were making clear the differences between their candidates. Those distinctions are going to be important; Walker’s Independent candidacy will split the vote in either his favor or Mallott’s.

Mallott and Walker want to diversify Alaska’s oil-dependent economy. Both support expanding Medicaid coverage rather than participating in a federally-managed health care exchange. Both oppose the Pebble Mine, although Walker opposes it if it’s proven, in running mate Craig Fleener’s words, it “would have a detrimental impact on our natural habitat.” Both support writing an alternative to Senate Bill 21, which cut certain taxes and created incentives for oil producers to encourage more investment and production; however, oil production is declining, as are the state’s related revenues. A repeal of SB 21 was on the primary ballot but was too close to call Election Night.

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The differences between the candidates? Laury Roberts Scandling, communications director of Mallott for Governor, said Mallott is the “only true moderate” in the campaign, with unmatched experience in business and government.

“There is no one who knows Alaska better than Byron Mallott. He has decades of experience in for-profit and non-profit, and he has a true understanding of rural Alaska and its wonders and challenges,” Scandling said. “He’s a good listener, he brings people together. He believes there’s always a consensus and that you need to find it.”

Mallott, Tlingit, would be the first Alaska Native to serve as the state’s governor. He is a former mayor of Yakutat and Juneau, and served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Community and Regional Affairs; co-chairman of the state Commission on Rural Governance and Empowerment; chairman of the Nature Conservancy of Alaska; CEO, chairman and director of Sealaska Corporation; and as a director of several banks, including the Federal Reserve Bank.

Mallott also served as executive director of the state’s Permanent Fund Corporation, created by constitutional amendment to manage and protect the state’s income from mineral leases, royalties, and federal mineral revenue-sharing payments. Alaskans receive dividends from this fund.

“The others have no experience like that,” Scandling said.

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