Independent Bill Walker elected governor of Alaska with Sarah Palin's help
In an instance in whichSarah Palin’s continued status as the most powerful female politician on the planet has been yet again confirmed, Politico reported on Friday that her favored candidate for governor of Alaska, independent Bill Walker, has won over incumbent Republican Sean Parnell. The former Republican won on a “unity ticket” with a former Democrat Byron Mallot, who ran for Lt. Governor. Walker’s win was as unexpected as Palin’s endorsement of him was controversial.
The Washington Times explained that Palin’s issue with Parnell, who had served as her Lt. Governor, was two-fold. First, Parnell had dismantled a tax regime for oil companies operating in Alaska called the Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share that Palin had set up to help finance Alaska’s government. The theory is that lowering oil taxes would increase production in the state. She also criticized Parnell for a sexual assault scandal ongoing in the Alaska National Guard.
Palin’s opposition to Parnell and his efforts to decrease taxes on oil companies have raised conservative hackles. Red State suggested that Palin had abandoned her conservative principles by backing what is, in effect, a redistributionist tax regime. Palin had accused Parnell of caving into oil interests that had heavily influenced Alaska’s government through corrupt practices before she became governor. Palin is in favor of opening up federal lands, including ANWAR in Alaska, to oil drilling.
It is a testament to the strange politics of Alaska that a tea party conservative like Palin could make common cause with Democrats to elect a man as governor whom Red State is called the “Charlie Crist” of Alaska, after the Republican former governor turned Democrat in Florida. Palin has recently hinted at a desire to run for public office. However, she has fences to mend with conservatives if she chooses to do so.