ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The race for governor could be getting more interesting. Bill Walker, who was defeated in last week’s Republican primary, may stay in the race -- and the Alaskan Independence Party says it will announce Saturday who will run on its ticket.
The AIP says it was contacted by Walker about running on its ticket -- but Walker's campaign says he's keeping all his options open and hasn't made a decision yet.
On primary election night, it was clear that Gov. Sean Parnell had won the Republican primary against Walker and Ralph Samuels by commanding margins. But Walker might be gearing up to continue his fight.
“If there was two more weeks, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation because Bill would be the (Republican) nominee,” said Walker’s campaign manager, Taylor Bickford. “Bill’s considering all of his options -- we're having an outpouring of support from all over the state and folks encouraging Bill to stay in the race, and that's caused Bill to sort of take a step back and consider his options.”
So what are Walker’s options? Do they include running on the AIP ticket?
“I think that's a decision the AIP will have to make for themselves, but I can tell you Bill’s talked to a lot of folks -- he's considering all his options, and that would certainly be one of them,” Bickford said. “He is interested in doing whatever he feels is in the best interest of the state and he is very seriously considering staying in the race, and that would be one avenue to do so.”
“We have been approached by the Walker campaign, I'll tell you that much, but no decision has been made,” said the AIP’s vice chair, J.R. Myers.
So how would a third candidate affect the race? Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz isn't worried.
“They're going to take a look at the candidate who has the greatest shot of winning, and the general election and making a gas line come true,” Berkowitz said. “In order to have an all-Alaska line, you have to have someone who can win the race for governor, and I'm the best candidate as far as that's concerned.”
“Sean Parnell and Mead Treadwell believe the voters spoke loudly and clearly on primary election day,” the Parnell campaign said in a statement. “Switching parties now seems more about personal gain than advancing Alaska's agenda.”
The AIP will meet Friday to discuss who the party will nominate. Party chair Lynette Clark says a decision should be issued on Saturday.
The Walker campaign says Walker will also be making a decision about whether he'll run or not. That decision could come as early as Thursday, but the campaign says it will probably be next week.
Contact Rebecca Palsha at firstname.lastname@example.org