Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott finally made their reelection campaign official by filing paperwork in Juneau this morning.
The two will be running as unaffiliated candidates for the state’s highest office from the get-go. Walker and Mallott won the governor’s office in 2014 after the merger of Walker’s independent gubernatorial ticket with Mallott’s Democratic ticket, creating a ticket many dubbed the “Unity Ticket.”
“Serving as governor for the people of the state I love has been the honor of a lifetime,” Walker said in a statement accompanying the filing. “We believe that independent leadership that relentlessly puts Alaska’s priorities first is critical to finishing the work we have started to stabilize and build Alaska.”
Mallott, as he told the Democratic Party’s State Central Committee last week, did not file for the Democratic primary. He didn’t ask the party to make any maneuvers that would clear the way for the independent ticket, according to people at the meeting.
The Unity Ticket created room for a showdown between Walker and Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, which saw Walker top Parnell by about 2 percentage points of the vote. Mallott’s filing as an unaffiliated candidate will leave room for a possible Democratic ticket as competition next fall.
Walker and Mallott have teased a run for months, and Walker said he’d make an announcement before the end of the summer (though Mallott has been more open about the team’s plans to run again).
— James Brooks (@AK_OK) August 21, 2017
No new Republican entrants, yet
As it stands, Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Dunleavy is the only candidate to have filed for the position. A number of other high-profile Republicans outside the Legislature have also been rumored to run, but none have yet to file.
Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, and former Wasilla Republican Sen. Lynn Gattis have both filed to run for lieutenant governor.