Independent Alaska Governor Drops Re-election Bid, Endorses Democrat

Scott Morefield | Reporter

Independent Alaska Governor Bill Walker suspended his re-election bid on Friday, choosing instead to endorse the Democratic candidate, former Senator Mark Begich.

In an Instagram post, Walker conceded his inability to “win a three-way race” and expressed his belief that Begich would have a better shot at defeating Republican Mike Dunleavy in a two-person race.

“Alaskans deserve a competitive race,” Walker wrote. (RELATED: Rush Limbaugh Uses Lesson From 2016 To Predict What Will Happen If Democrats Retake Congress)

Democratic Governors Association executive director Elisabeth Pearson called the move a “game-changer” that could shift the race to Begich. Before Walker’s withdrawal, Dunleavy, a former state senator, was polling ahead of both Begich and Walker, to the tune of over 40 percent to around 25 percent to the other two candidates, according to Politico.

In his Instagram post, Walker listed several reasons why he believes Alaskans deserve “a choice other than Mike Dunleavy.”

Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy, whose record and campaign rhetoric indicate he will: eliminate Medicaid Expansion that has provided healthcare access to 44,000 Alaskans, created jobs and brought $1 billion federal dollars into the Alaskan economy while decreasing State healthcare expenditures by $16 million, kept hospitals from closing, and saved lives; defund the Alaska LNG Gasline project that has made historic progress, will create 12,000 high paying construction jobs, 88,000 direct and indirect jobs and deliver low cost energy to our homes and businesses; undo the bipartisan approved sustainable fiscal plan that has resulted in fiscal stability, significantly reduced the deficit, improved our credit rating and preserved the PFD program into perpetuity; cause our most vulnerable to suffer the brunt of the additional $1 billion in budget cuts he vows to make to education, rural Alaska and those receiving healthcare.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Dear Alaskans, I ran for re-election because I still believe that, more than anything else, Alaska deserves integrity, honesty, and courage. Alaska First is, and cannot only be, a campaign slogan. When I said I ran for governor to do the job, not make the decisions to keep the job, I meant exactly what I said. Every decision I have made as your governor, I have made on the basis of what I believe is best for Alaska. With that said, effective today, I am suspending my campaign for re-election as Governor. With more time, I am confident that Val and I could deliver a message and a campaign that could earn a victory in this election. But there are only 18 days remaining before election day. Absentee ballots have already been mailed, and Alaskans are already voting. In the time remaining, I believe we cannot win a three-way race. 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. Alaskans deserve a competitive race. Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy, whose record and campaign rhetoric indicate he will: eliminate Medicaid Expansion that has provided healthcare access to 44,000 Alaskans, created jobs and brought $1 billion federal dollars into the Alaskan economy while decreasing State healthcare expenditures by $16 million, kept hospitals from closing, and saved lives; defund the Alaska LNG Gasline project that has made historic progress, will create 12,000 high paying construction jobs, 88,000 direct and indirect jobs and deliver low cost energy to our homes and businesses; undo the bipartisan approved sustainable fiscal plan that has resulted in fiscal stability, significantly reduced the deficit, improved our credit rating and preserved the PFD program into perpetuity; cause our most vulnerable to suffer the brunt of the additional $1 billion in budget cuts he vows to make to education, rural Alaska and those receiving healthcare. (Please see the rest of the speech in comments section)

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