The campaigns of independent Gov. Bill Walker and Democrat Mark Begich are in talks of a “path forward,” but those talks reportedly predate and are unrelated to the abrupt resignation of Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.
Walker campaign manager John-Henry Heckendorn confirmed the rumored talks with the Associated Press this afternoon, noting that the talks have yet to lead anywhere but are ongoing.
There’s been speculation that one candidate might put his support behind the other amid concerns a three-way race would hand the governorship to Republican Mike Dunleavy. Walker and his campaign reportedly learned of Mallott’s behavior—unspecified “inappropriate comments” toward an unnamed woman—late Monday.
There was already zero room for error for Walker to win the race as most—but not all—polls put him at third behind Dunleavy and Begich. Mallott’s resignation is likely to tarnish the campaign, likely beyond repair, with just three weeks left in the race, particularly when both Walker and Mallott had made so much out of their close bond during their four years in office.
Regardless of what happens, both Walker and Mallott will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The Walker campaign says that if they are successful, Mallott would refuse the position and newly sworn in Lt. Gov. Valerie Davidson would take over the position.
As the Walker campaign grapples with the news, it has also cancelled its two volunteer events, which scheduled for tonight and tomorrow.
“We will continue to update Alaska on the status of our campaign,” the email to volunteers explains. “Please look to our communication channels for updates throughout this week.”