The Alaska gubernatorial election could be derailed and thousands of voters disenfranchised if a lawsuit challenging the merged campaigns of two candidates is successful, state lawyers argue in court documents ahead of oral arguments Friday. “This court should not lightly order a remedy that will interfere with an ongoing election and disenfranchise Alaska’s voters,” Assistant Attorney General Margaret Paton-Walsh, representing the defendants, wrote in documents filed in the lawsuit against Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and elections director Gail Fenumiai. The filing says more than 2,400 overseas ballots have already been mailed out. The lawsuit filed last week by an Alaska Republican Party district chair, Steve Strait, challenges an emergency ruling that allowed Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott to join his campaign with now-independent candidate Bill Walker and run as Walker’s lieutenant governor.
The combined ticket is seen as a stronger challenge to Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, who is seeking his second full term in office. Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is Parnell’s running mate.
Strait maintains that Treadwell erred in his Sept. 2 decision permitting candidates affected by the merger to officially withdraw from their respective races.
The decision allowed a no-party gubernatorial candidate to “hand-pick anyone — literally anyone —to be his lieutenant governor running mate,” plaintiff’s attorney Ken Jacobus wrote in his motion.