Walker won't run in Democratic primary
Gov. Bill Walker’s run for re-election will skip the state's Democratic primary, a contingency his campaign had planned if former Sen. Mark Begich runs for governor.
Lindsay Hobson, a spokeswoman for Walker’s campaign, confirmed that the governor will seek re-election by petition in the general election rather than run in the Democratic primary. Walker had planned to run as a Democrat, after an Alaska Supreme Court ruling allowed him to do so, but backtracked after reports that Begich might enter the race.
Hobson declined to comment on a report from The Midnight Sun political blog Thursday night that Begich had called Walker to say he was running for governor as a Democrat.
Walker's office released a statement late Friday afternoon:
There has been a lot of rumor and speculation over the last few days and weeks. I am glad that uncertainty is over. Byron and I will run as Independents in the general election.
We've got a long road to November 6th, and I have no interest in criticizing anyone for stepping up to serve their state. But I did want to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts with those who've supported or worked with us over the last four years.
Byron and I both ran for this office because we wanted Alaska to have leaders who would make the tough decisions to set Alaska up for success in the long term, rather than political decisions motivated by individual success in the short term.
I am proud of our commitment to those kinds of decisions. In the last three and a half years, we've made healthcare a reality for 40,000 Alaskans. We've reduced the state budget to 2007 levels. We've worked to diversify state revenue and move Alaska beyond the unilateral, paralyzing dependence on the price of a single volatile commodity. We've seen that shift take flight with the passage of SB26 this last legislative session, closing the fiscal gap by 80%. We've had tough conversations about our fiscal future, and we've told Alaskans the truth.
Alaska has the only independent, non-partisan governing team in the country. In the last election, we saw more competitive independents run for political office than ever before. We saw Republicans, Democrats, and Independents come together to form a bipartisan coalition to tackle the state's fiscal challenges head on. We've seen people around the country start to look to Alaska as an example.
Despite the backlash and the criticism, I remain unshaken in my belief in a simple proposition. That a fisherman from Yakutat and a carpenter from Valdez could come together around the idea that our home and our future matter more than our ideology; that in our unity and our independence, Alaska could show the rest of the country a path forward.
This election will present Alaskans with a historically unique choice. Our political system is not supposed to allow for three credible, well-financed, well-known candidates to run for office in the same general election. I appreciate the folks who worked hard to try to find a way to make this a two-way race. I understand that made things simpler from a strategic and technical perspective.
But I can tell you that I am as excited as I've ever been. I am an Alaskan before I am anything else. Serving as the governor of the state where Byron and I both were born has been the honor of my life. We were never supposed to be here. When I ran for Governor I started at two percent in the polls. But here we stand. My team and I are ready to show the world that here in Alaska, we don't do things the way they do them in the lower 48. We are practical, we are proud, and we are independent.
In short: I like our odds, I couldn't be more proud of our team and of this state, and I'm ready to run and win.
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