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The race for the state’s top spot tightened on Friday when Governor Bill Walker (I) stepped out of the contest and endorsed Democrat gubernatorial candidate former Senator Mark Begich.
This week’s Alaska Survey Research poll showed Republican candidate, Mike Dunleavy in the lead with 43% of likely voter support. Walker had 27% with Begich holding 26% in that poll.
This latest development has some analysts reporting that Dunleavy will garner 52% to Begich’s 45%.
Governor Walker announced his campaign’s decision to suspend their re-election campaignbid while on-stage at the AFN convention in Anchorage stunning many in the audience.
Citing shortness of time before the election, as the main reason, Gov. Walker went on to endorse Begich in the race, saying, “This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy. The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds.”
Walker went on to say, “This is not the first difficult decision I have made this week, but it is one I know I must make. There simply are no words to express my deepest gratitude to the incomparable, dedicated team of outstanding Alaskans who have served in my administration and to the thousands of supporters, donors, volunteers and campaign staff who have been passionately committed to my re-election. And above all, I want to say thank you to my family and to Donna, my first lady for life.”
Walker’s running mate, Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott resigned on Tuesday citing inappropriate comments made by himself.
Valerie Davidson was sworn in as his replacement.
It is 17 days until the general election.