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AK-Gov: Alaska gubernatorial candidates discuss elections, conservatism, and state dividends
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AK-Gov: Alaska gubernatorial candidates discuss elections, conservatism, and state dividends

Alaska gubernatorial candidates — sans incumbent Gov. Bill Walker (I) — are speaking out about their campaigns, and what they hope to achieve for Alaskans should one of them unseat Walker.

What's some brief background info on the election?

Walker is seeking re-election to a second term. According to an April Morning Consult Poll, Walker’s approval rating has dropped below 30 percent.

The general election will be a three-way race between Walker, former Sen. Mark Begich, and an as-yet determined Republican. The filing deadline for candidates was June 1. The primary election is Aug. 21.

Who are the candidates?

Begich is the Democratic candidate.

Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former GOP state Sen. Mike Dunleavy, and businessman and Chairman of BIPAC Scott Hawkins are seeking the Republican nomination..

You can read more about their backgrounds here.

What are the candidates saying?

The four candidates sat with KYUR-TV, where they detailed their campaign platforms and detailed what they would do for Alaskans should they unseat incumbent Walker.

Dunleavy said that he believes diversity in primaries is important for fair and balanced elections.

“I think it’s good for the people of Alaska to have folks in a primary so they have somebody to choose from ... some of the folks that just got in are kind of on the left side of the spectrum, and there’s others like myself that are on the right side of the spectrum, so people have an opportunity to chose,” Dunleavy explained.

Begich noted that he entered the race because he wants to be proactively forward-thinking for Alaskans.

“I got into the race because I just didn’t see the direction of the state in thinking about the future.  It seems like these guys that are currently running are back biting each other, they are arguing with each other, instead of focusing on what Alaskans are really talking about,” he explained.

Treadwell boasted of his strong conservative background and lengthy experience in lawmaking.

“I’m conservative, I am strong, I have huge experience and I am not a part of the tax-and-spend policy that Mark Begich and Bill Walker have shown themselves to be. ... Mark Begich is pretty dangerous, and we need a candidate that knows his record,” he explained.

Hawkins said that his state fiscal plans could possibly impact the Alaska Permanent Fund, which is a program that pays state residents — who have lived there at least one calendar year — annual dividends in order to "compensate Alaska for the drilling and removal of oil and other natural resources for its borders, ensuring that the state wouldn't be under financial stress once its resources were depleted."

Alaska lawmakers agreed on $1,600 as the dividend for 2018.

“You should know that my fiscal plans work. I would increase the Dividend to a good healthy level-probably somewhere in the $1,700 or $1,800 range, plus I would increase the amount of time it takes to qualify for the Dividend,” he explained.

Anything else?

A June prediction from the far-left Daily Kos reported that a Republican will likely unseat Walker.

A June Inside Elections prediction said the election would “tilt Republican.”

A March Ivan Moore Research poll showed Walker leading Dunleavy in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup by a margin of 51-44.

A March poll by the same firm showed Begich leading Dunleavy in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup by a margin of 53-42. Polling is not yet available regarding the other Republican candidates at the time of this writing.

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