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On September 2nd, the joint independence ticket of Bill Walker and Byron Mallot was announced at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage.
The unprecedented move on Tuesday took place after days of negotiations. The ticket said in a press release yesterday, that the decision to move forward in a joint ticket was “to advance an administration to move Alaska forward in a positive direction – one that makes every decision based on what is best for Alaska, not what is best for any political party, individual or interest group.”
It was only hours before that Walker was a Republican and Mallott was the Democratic nominee for governor, but as the day grew on, the two moved away from their parties to join forces on the Independent ticket. Neither of the two have every held a state office during their political careers although both men have served as mayors. Walker served as the mayor of Valdez while Mallott has served as the mayor of Juneau as well as Yakutat.
According to a Hays Poll conducted after the August Primary race for governor, Walker was the only candidate that had a chance against sitting governor Sean Parnell. The polls showed a distinct lead for Walker against the governor in a two way race, but that lead disappeared when the race was a three way contest.
The joint campaign commended the selfless actions of Senator Hollis French and Craig Fleener, the two former campaign’s lt governor candidates for stepping aside and allowing the campaigns to join forces.
Calling the decision to join forces a historic and momentous decision, the joint campaign said, “But this is not about any one person. This is not about any one party. This is about putting aside partisanship and putting Alaska first.”
In their press release, they continued saying, “We are confident that our decision to forge ahead as a team is in the best interest of the state we love deeply. We both believe that Alaska is on the wrong course. We both believe that there is a great deal at stake if we cannot change current leadership. We both believe that our combined ticket is a strong and balanced partnership that is the best choice for moving Alaska forward.”
Although Walker vows to continue to be a conservative, he and Mallott see eye to eye in their opposition of the state funded voucher system being used for private and religious schools. In other areas, the disagree. While Walker is opposed to same sex marriages and also opposes abortions, Mallott supports same sex marriage and does not believe that the state should restrict access to abortions by denying funds to do so for the state’s more impoverished women.
The Parnell team quickly put out a press release addressing the merger of the two campaigns saying, “The Democrat gubernatorial ticket of Walker-Mallott offers a clear choice for Alaskans who want more of President Obama’s policies in Alaska,” Governor Parnell said. “For those who want more freedom, less government, and more economic opportunity, the Parnell-Sullivan ticket is the clear choice. I have consistently fought for Alaskans and pushed back on Obama’s policies in Alaska. Parnell-Sullivan will continue to run a campaign focused on building a stronger Alaska with more jobs, more opportunities in education, continued work on a gas pipeline, and safer communities.”