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No Parnell-Mallott debates scheduled for Juneau

Posted: April 16, 2014 - 11:12pm

Republican Gov. Sean Parnell is ready to run for re-election.

On Wednesday, Parnell’s re-election campaign announced 10 campaign debates starting later this month and culminating in late October.

The debates are the first for Parnell, whose campaign says he has focused on legislative business while his presumed election opponents stump for votes.

For the capital city, Parnell’s schedule has a catch — Juneau didn’t make the cut.

There are three Anchorage debates, two in Fairbanks and one each in Soldotna, Kodiak and Ketchikan. Two additional debates will be held for television.

Parnell campaign manager Jerry Gallagher said seven of the eight confirmed nontelevised debates — including the one in Ketchikan — were the result of invitations.

“Our debate schedule, along with this early announcement, will ensure all Alaskans have an opportunity to learn about our goals for the next four years,” Parnell said in a press release.

Gallagher said the campaign will consider other venues, but added quickly that there isn’t a lot of room in the governor’s schedule.

“We already will have a large number of debates,” Gallagher said about the possibility of adding a Juneau debate. “I don’t want to get expectations up.”

Parnell is expected to face independent candidate Bill Walker, Democratic candidate Byron Mallott and Alaska Constiution candidate J.R. Myers in the Nov. 4 general election. Mallott and Parnell each face challengers in the Aug. 19 statewide primary (Republican Gerald Heikes of Palmer and Democrat Phil Stoddard of Anchorage, according to the Alaska Division of Elections), but both Mallott and Parnell are their party’s presumptive picks for the state’s top spot.

Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford hadn’t seen Parnell’s release when reached for comment Wednesday, but said he was surprised the the state’s third-largest city was left out of the governor’s schedule.

“There should be one here, and I’d expect there to be one,” Sanford said. “We should be able to hear what they have to say and participate.”

Walker, reached by phone Wednesday, said he and Mallott have already had sprited debates across the state — including one in Juneau — but Parnell hasn’t participated. “He’s hard to pin down,” Walker said of the governor.

The governor’s only spring debates are April 28th and 30th in Anchorage, and the final debate before the primary is slated for August 12 in Fairbanks.

Former Juneau Mayor Bruce Botelho, a senior adviser for the Mallott campaign, told the Empire that the Mallott campaign believes there should be a debate in the capital city. Mallott lives in Juneau.

“I don’t believe any one candidate should dictate when and where debates are held,” Botelho said. “The entire state should have access to these debates, and there should be one in Juneau.”

He added that watching a debate on television or online is not the same experience.

“We want a situation where there’s a chance for ordinary citizens to see their candidates in action,” Botelho said, adding that Wasilla, Palmer and Homer were also overlooked.

The first general election debate will be on August 28 in Kodiak, and then the governor will make stops in Ketchikan on Oct. 1 and Soldotna on Oct. 8 before closing out in Fairbanks and Anchorage on Oct. 21 and 28, respectively.

The two additional Anchorage debates have not yet been scheduled, Gallagher said.

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Tom Leston
Tom Leston 04/17/14 - 08:41 am
Why support Sean

Why should any Alaskan support Sean Parnell?

Sean Parnell put politics over helping Alaskans get health care.
He is one of those extreme right winged Republican Governors that collaborated not to expand Medicaid in their state as a way to keep Obama Care enrollment numbers as low as possible - so that the health care exchanges etc. would fail. How many poor Alaskans (women, children, elderly) will get sick or die because of that decision?

Parnell hands out public money to businesses like candy but when it comes to using public money to help the poorest among us there is none.

We need a different Governor, one that will help ALL Alaskans.
I also INTENSLY disapprove of Sean Parnell beating the drum of hostility and disrespect towards the Federal Government. It is irresponsible and puts people in our towns at risk. Its like putting crosshairs on our neighbors backs. It is shameful behavior for a governor.

Samuel Joplin
Samuel Joplin 04/17/14 - 08:41 am
Juneau Leaders asleep at the wheel

Juneau leaders should have invited the candidates to a debate. Don't blame the Governor for poor local government leadership!

James Coleman
James Coleman 04/17/14 - 12:58 pm
The Medicare expansion myth

Parnell has saved this state from huge, unknown liabilities by not accepting the Obamacare Medicare/Medicaid expansion. The Federal assistance only lasts 3 years (at best) then the state is on the hook for the whole amount. This is not something we can afford, especially with an oil pipeline running dry. This is called fiscal responsibility, a somewhat foreign concept to the far left.

Dot Wilson
Dot Wilson 04/17/14 - 02:15 pm

On the extreme unlikely event that Mallott won the gubernatorial race, will he be the next governor to quit because ...... ??

He couldn't stand the pressure of being Mayor of Juneau. How could he survive the pressure of being Governor. He is older now than he was then.

Tom Leston
Tom Leston 04/17/14 - 02:19 pm
James, Costs to our state go

James, Costs to our state go down when people have healthcare.

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