Alaska's Sitting Governor Abruptly Drops out of Re-Election Bid in Major Race Shake-Up - Here's Why

Alaska's Sitting Governor Abruptly Drops out of Re-Election Bid in Major Race Shake-Up  -  Here's Why

On Friday, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announced at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention that he was suspending his re-election campaign, and endorsing former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich against Republican state Sen. Mike Dunleavy.


"In the time remaining, it has become clear we cannot win a three-way race," said Walker, at the start of a scheduled candidate forum, to enthusiastic applause. "The decision was made that at this point, Begich has the better odds. Alaskans deserve a competitive race and Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy."

Walker, a former Republican turned independent, was elected in 2014. This year, the race was split three ways after Begich, who lost his Senate re-election bid to Dan Sullivan the same year Walker was elected, threw his hat into the ring, with Dunleavy running as a cut-and-dried Republican.

Walker's exit is a badly-needed ray of hope for Alaska Democrats with only three weeks to go before what was shaping up to be a grim election indeed. Poll after poll showed that with Walker and Begich splitting the Democratic vote, Dunleavy was cruising to a 15-20 point victory. But Walker and Begich both stubbornly stayed in the race, neither wanting to admit to being the spoiler.

In the end, Walker was the obvious choice to take the fall. Aside from Gov. Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Walker is the least popular governor running for re-election this year, with a Morning Consult poll in July giving him a net negative of 24 points. Arguably the final nail in his coffin came this Wednesday, when his running mate, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, abruptly resigned over unspecified "inappropriate comments" directed at a woman.

It is too late for Walker to remove himself from the general election ballot. However, any votes cast for him will no longer be counted — and therefore nearly all of his supporters are now likely to throw their vote to Begich.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.