Independents crowd primary ticket for governor

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaskan Independence Party is the most crowded in the gubernatorial race.

Six AIP candidates are running for governor in the party's primary Aug. 27.

True to their party name, the candidates tend to be freethinkers; the spectrum ranges from a former state lawmaker with a thoughtful set of position papers to a senior citizen who says he would solve Alaska's fiscal problems by abolishing most all state laws.

Two of the candidates -- John Wayne Glotfelty of North Pole and Nels Anderson Jr. of Dillingham -- have been vying for attention for months. Both participated in debates in Kodiak this spring and at the Tanana Valley State Fair earlier this month, and both have extensive Internet sites explaining their ideas.

Casey Cockerham of Fairbanks said in recorded messages that he's traveling the road system looking for votes. Another Fairbanksan, Don Wright, has run for governor eight times. Harold ''Sandy'' Haldane, also of Fairbanks, said he was called to campaign by a higher power.

The other AIP candidate is Samuel Acevedo Fevos Sr.

Anderson, 63, is the only AIP candidate who has held a state office. An Alaska Native with Yupik, Norwegian and Danish ancestry, he was elected to the state House three times in the 1970s as a Democrat and served as speaker his last term. Gov. Jay Hammond appointed him to the state Senate to fill a vacancy in 1982. He later worked as a lobbyist, and as chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp.

Anderson initially filed for the governor's race as a Democrat but changed parties in April. He said the major parties have come too much under the influence of affluent special interests.

''I began to see the Democrats and Republicans resembling each other more closely than (offering) the differences I saw in the past,'' he told the Anchorage Daily News.

Glotfelty, 55, is retired from the military and says he spent his 20 years in the U.S. Army mainly as ''an administrative troubleshooter for four-stars.''

He said he's running for the Alaskan Independence nomination because the major parties are long on obligations to special interests and short on good, new ideas.

''You've got to suck up in the Republican Party for 30 years, and then maybe they'll support you if you haven't got an original thought left in your brain,'' he said. ''Same with the Democrats.''

He argues that talk of a billion-dollar fiscal gap is foolish in a state as resource-rich as Alaska.

''They don't have a revenue problem, they have a spending problem,'' he said.

He says Alaska should be focusing spending on health and safety issues. ''Look at Hawaii,'' he said. ''Everybody has health insurance, courtesy of the state. In Alaska, with a budget twice as big, we don't have anything.''

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