Gov. Bill Walker, left, and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, center, smile as they complete paperwork at the state Division of Elections on Monday in Juneau. Walker and Mallott announced plans to seek re-election on Monday. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Gov. Bill Walker, left, and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, center, smile as they complete paperwork at the state Division of Elections on Monday in Juneau. Walker and Mallott announced plans to seek re-election on Monday. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Walker, Mallott file for re-election

  • By Becky Bohrer
  • Monday, August 21, 2017 9:11pm
  • News

JUNEAU — Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on Monday announced plans to seek re-election as an independent, saying he’s focused on a vision for the state and not on partisanship.

He and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott filed candidate paperwork with the state Division of Elections. They also filed separate letters of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Walker told reporters they plan make an independent run and to collect signatures necessary to qualify for next year’s ballot.

He said they announced their plans now because Alaskans should know what they’re going to do. He said he expects a lively race.

Walker changed his party affiliation from Republican to undeclared in joining forces with Mallott in 2014 to upset then-Gov. Sean Parnell, a Republican.

Mallott, a Democrat, that year abandoned his own run for governor to be Walker’s running mate, and the 2014 Walker-Mallott ticket won the support of state Democratic party leaders.

Mallott plans to remain a registered Democrat. Walker plans to remain politically unaffiliated.

The state Democratic party currently is suing the state, seeking the ability to have politically unaffiliated candidates run in the party’s primaries. The party push for letting nonaffiliated candidates in its primaries predates the 2016 U.S. Senate race.

When asked if they would consider running in the Democratic party if allowed, Walker said things sometimes change in an election process and “we typically don’t say never to anything, quite honestly.” But he said the path they announced Monday is the one they plan to pursue.

The administration has been an independent one and that will continue to be the focus, Mallott said.

Jay Parmley, executive director of the state Democratic party, said the party has been supportive of the Walker administration and continues to be supportive.

But he also said he’s confident that Democratic candidates will run for governor and lieutenant governor and that it’s still early.

The announcement that Walker and Mallott intend to run again was “a marker that needed to be sort of crossed off” and provides some clarity for potential Democratic challengers, Parmley said.

“It may deter, it might spur candidates. But at least it starts setting things into motion,” he said.

Many potential Republican candidates have expressed interest in the race, state GOP chairman Tuckerman Babcock said. So far, the highest-profile Republican to declare intentions to seek the GOP nomination is state Sen. Mike Dunleavy.

One of the major issues for Walker has been addressing a multibillion-dollar state budget deficit that’s persisted amid low oil prices. Oil prices began a freefall in 2014 and have stayed low.

He has yet to secure passage of some pieces he sees as key to a fiscal plan, including use of earnings from Alaska’s oil-wealth fund to help cover government costs and taxes — issues that have been hotly debated by legislators.

The House is controlled by a majority coalition composed largely of Democrats. The Senate has a Republican-led majority. Rating agencies have downgraded the state’s credit rating in the absence of a fiscal plan.

The Republican Governors Association came out against Walker Monday, citing the state’s budget deficit and credit downgrades on his watch as reasons.

More in News

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River dipnetting closed; Kasilof to close Sunday

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery is reportedly slow, but fish are being caught

Silver salmon hang in the Seward Boat Harbor during the 2018 Seward Silver Salmon Derby. (Photo courtesy of Seward Chamber of Commerce)
Seward Silver Salmon derby runs Aug. 13-21

Last year’s derby featured 1,800 contestants competing across eight days

Rayna Reynolds tends to her cow at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Animals take the stage at 4-H expo

Contestants were judged on the quality of the animal or showmanship of the handler

Emily Matthews and Andy Kowalczyk pose outside the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies headquarters on Friday, July 29, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Charlie Menke/Homer News)
AmeriCorps volunteers aid Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies

The 10-month commitment pushed them outside of comfort zones

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
All about the salmon

Fish, love and music return to Ninilchik

Alaska State Veterinarian Dr. Bob Gerlach gives a presentation on Avian Influenza Virus at the 4-H Agriculture Expo in Soldotna, Alaska, on Aug. 5, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to outreach, education amid bird flu outbreak

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza is spreading in Alaska

Fencing surrounds the 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Demolition will begin in August 2022 on the once-opulent downtown Anchorage movie theater designed by the architect of Hollywood’s famed Pantages Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre with nearly 1,000 seats opened in 1947, and it withstood the second most powerful earthquake ever recorded. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Efforts fail to save historic Anchorage theater from demolition

Anchorage entrepreneur Austin “Cap” Lathrop opened the 4th Avenue Theatre, with nearly 1,000 seats, on May 31, 1947

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a “white privilege card” instead of a driver’s license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

The top of the novelty card reads: “White Privilege Card Trumps Everything.”

Ashlyn O’Hara / Peninsula Clarion file 
Alaska LNG Project Manager Brad Chastain presents information about the project during a luncheon at the Kenai Chamber Commerce and Visitor Center on July 6.
Local leaders voice support for LNG project

Local municipalities are making their support for the Alaska LNG Project known

Most Read