Alaska gubernatorial: Both major parties challenge nation's only independent governor
Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) is the nation’s only independent incumbent. He faces challenges from Mark Begich (D) and Mike Dunleavy (R).
Walker was first elected in 2014 with support from the state Democratic Party, which backed an Alaska First Unity Ticket with independent candidate Walker as the gubernatorial nominee and Democrat Byron Mallott as his running mate. Democrats were concerned the two could split votes and improve Republican Sean Parnell's re-election prospects. To join the ticket, Walker changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent. The Unity ticket defeated the Republican ticket by two percentage points.
Walker intended to seek the Democratic nomination this year but announced he and Mallott would run as independents when Begich announced his candidacy.
The Alaska AFL-CIO, which refused to endorse any candidate in 2014 unless there were only two in the race due to vote splitting concerns, endorsed Walker following Alaska’s Aug. 21 primaries. The Democratic Party is behind Begich and the GOP backs Dunleavy. Ballotpedia: