Former Sen. Mark Begich will run for governor of Alaska on the Democratic ticket, according to an Alaska Native tribal official who hopes to be his running mate.

Debra Call, a member of the Knik Village and Cook Inlet tribal councils, said Friday morning at the state Division of Elections office in Anchorage that she will be running for lieutenant governor at Begich's request. Call, 63, said she hopes to make Alaska's economy robust, building up tourism and ensuring responsible resource development.

"I was asked last night and I am excited,” Call said as she filed her paperwork. “In the current national climate, I see the incentive to support a candidate, like Mark, that has a very positive outlook on the future of Alaska, and looking to build a robust economy."

Call, a lifelong Alaskan, said Begich's request took her by surprise.

“I wasn’t expecting it," she said. "But you know, it’s a good thing. I think we’d make a great team."

Begich, once Anchorage's mayor, narrowly defeated longtime Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008 shortly before Stevens' death in a plane crash. He served one term before losing to former state attorney general Dan Sullivan in the 2014 race.

The news came hours after current Gov. Bill Walker's campaign announced that he would skip the Democratic primary and run in the general election as an independent, in response to unattributed reports overnight Thursday that Begich was entering the race.

Other people visiting the Division of Elections on Friday’s filing deadline to seek state offices this year included former state community and economic development commissioner Edgar Blatchford, who is seeking the lieutenant governor’s office as a Democrat.

Scott Jensen and Liz Raines contributed information to this story.

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