With the governor’s race called in favor of unaffiliated candidate Bill Walker and conceded over the weekend, the transition process is formally underway.
The concession came without ceremony. There was no press conference from the defeated Republican incumbent, Sean Parnell. There also wasn’t a victory event from Walker, who is currently on a brief vacation in Hawaii.
Instead, Parnell sent out an e-mail to his supporters titled “Honor of a lifetime” on Saturday evening. With nearly a 5,000-vote gap between him and Walker and just 10,000 absentee votes left to count, Parnell stated that his reelection was “numerically possible” but “highly improbable.”
The transition for a Walker administration began the same day. Walker’s team now has access to state office space in Juneau and Anchorage, and is beginning to form policy working groups on over a dozen issues. Those working groups won’t be in charge of personnel decisions.
The logistical aspects of the transition are being handled by small circle of advisors, which includes at least one member of Walker’s incoming staff.
“That effort is largely being led by Jim Whitaker, who is the designated incoming chief of staff,” says campaign advisor Bruce Botelho.
Whitaker, a moderate Republican, served as mayor of the Fairbanks North Star Borough for six years. He also served four years in the Legislature.
When asked about the Whitaker hire, a Walker spokesperson said the campaign is reserving comment on appointments until later this week.
The inauguration is scheduled for December 1.