Unity Ticket forms with Walker and Mallott joining forces
Independent governor candidate and democratic nominee with run together
Bill Walker's independent campaign bid to become Alaska's next governor and the democratic candidate Byron Mallott ended days of speculation Monday night when the candidates confirmed that the two camps would make the unprecedented move to join forces in an attempt to beat out incumbent republican candidate, Gov. Sean Parnell.
Mallott, who won the Democratic nomination for governor late last month, and the Democratic party announced Monday night that Mallott would drop his bid for governor to run for Lt. Governor with Walker.
Craig Fleener, Walker's running mate for Lt. Governor, and democratic candidate Hollis French have withdrawn their names from the ballot for the November 4 general election.
The move came on the last day the Alaska Division of Elections will allow changes to the general election ballot.
The two candidates and the former Lt. gov. candidates, Fleener and French, announced a 12:30 press conference would take place Tuesday, after the Valdez Star went press.
Walker, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor against Parnell in 2010, has seen wide bipartisan support in the current campaign as an independent candidate.
In mid-August, a group of high profile Democrats, former Lt. Governor Stephen McAlpine, former Senator Mike Szymanski, and former Representative Gene Kubina, announced they had formed a group calling themselves "Democrats for Walker." McAlpine served as the Democratic Lt. Governor of Alaska from 1982 to 1990. Szymanski served as a Democrat in both the Alaska House of Representatives and the Senate between 1983 and 1990. Kubina served as a Democrat in the House from 1989 to 1998.
"We are joining in this effort and expect many other Democrats to join with us because we believe that Bill Walker is the only gubernatorial candidate with the knowledge, experience, and personal fortitude to take Alaska in a new direction," the group said in a prepared statement.
The Alaska Dispatch (also still publishing as the Anchorage Daily News) reported early Tuesday morning that the last-minute switch on the ballot could run into hitches.
Photo courtesy Bill Walker for Governor Campaign
While it is expected that Lt. Gov. Meade Treadwell, whose office is charged with validating statewide election ballots, will follow a precedent set in 2007 by a last-minute ballot change, there is nothing set in state law that addresses the issue directly.
As an independent candidate, Walker's name was not on ballot in the recent August primary election.
Mallott won the Democratic nomination for governor with 66.91 percent of the popular vote in a field with three candidates.
Parnell first took office in 2009 when he was Lt. Gov. under Sarah Palin, who resigned. He was elected for a full term in 2010.