From the drama of Democrat Mark Begich’s entry into the race, to Gov. Bill Walker’s decision to suspend his campaign last month, the governor’s race has been a political roller coaster to the end.

For much of the race, it looked like Republican Mike Dunleavy, was on track to win, but a recent poll has Dunleavy and Begich in a race that appears to be much closer than anticipated.

But how accurate is that poll?

Tom Hewitt, the opinion editor at the Anchorage Daily News, says that’s one of many X-factors in a race that is increasingly turning out to be less predictable.

Hewitt joined us on Frontiers, with Matt Buxton, editor of the online Alaska politics publication The Midnight Sun.

After sitting down with the two of them to record Frontiers, it seemed like we had barely scratched the surface. We didn’t even have a chance to talk about one of the most interesting aspects of this campaign season: the impact of independent expenditure groups, which can legally lavish huge amounts of money on a candidate, who has absolutely no control over how that money is spent.

After we wrapped up Frontiers, we decided to continue our conversation in this digital-only discussion. From campaign spending patterns, we branched out into an overview of some hotly contested legislative battles — and there are quite a few of them — that have been upstaged by the governor’s race and Ballot Measure 1. Yet, each is such an important part of Alaska’s political ecosystem.

Buxton and Hewitt both have past incarnations as journalists in Fairbanks, almost an ecosystem unto itself, and it’s clearly shaped their perspective. (Or maybe warped it.)

I hope this online exclusive conversation gives you insights into why so much is at stake next Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Editor’s note: The discussion begins on Frontiers, which airs this Sunday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m. on KTVA Channel 11. You can also watch on GCI Cable Channel 907, which airs Frontiers at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.

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