In a 33-page ruling, an Alaska Superior Court judge has ruled that the Alaska Democratic Party may run candidates in its primary who are not officially aligned with any political party. In practical terms, this means a non-Democrat could win against a registered Democrat in the Democrats’ primary, and then go on to represent the Democrats in the general election. For example, if Gov. Bill Walker decides to run in the Democrats’ primary, he might beat Mark Begich, whom many have thought is considering a run. If he won in the Democrats’ primary, he’d have to appear on the General Election ballot as a Democrat, according to the court ruling.
Judge Philip Pallenberg wrote: “The court’s conclusion that AS 15.25.030(a)(l6) is unconstitutional means that the Democratic Party must be permitted to implement its 2016 rule permitting undeclared or non-partisan candidates to participate as candidates in the Party’s primary election.”
Tuckerman Babcock, chairman of the Alaska Republican Party, said, “I’m delighted to see the court rule in favor of maximum freedom, and the freedom for who votes in their primary and who can run in their primary.”