Alaska governor Sean Parnell has officially conceded defeat to Independent challenger Bill Walker, concluding that there are not enough uncounted or disputed ballots to change the outcome of the election. A count on Friday showed Walker with a lead of 4,634 votes over Parnell, with about about 10,000 uncounted absentee ballots still out there.
Now, Walker must begin the work of taking over as the nation’s only Independent governor. Walker’s unique position will give him the freedom to draw voices and experience from members of all parties.
From the Alaska Dispatch News…
The unique nature of Walker’s unity ticket, which combined longtime Republican Walker with Democrat Byron Mallott on a nonparty ticket, suggests the transition effort might be more likely to cross political boundaries than previous executive shifts.
“We’ve been very careful to make sure all voices and perspectives are heard and as a whole that the group is representative of different areas of the state,” said Lindsay Hobson, spokeswoman for Walker. “It is very much a bipartisan effort.”
The meetings are expected to run from Friday through Sunday at the University of Alaska Anchorage. More details about the meetings are expected to be released on Wednesday.
The focus of the weekend event will include highlighting key issues the new administration will face. Most of the discussion will likely take place through the lens of the state’s massive fiscal deficit and necessary budget cuts needed to close a $2 billion-plus hole that’s swelling thanks to plunging oil prices.