Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will run for re-election together.
“We have both decided that we will run again,” Mallott told KINY-AM’s Pete Carran in a Wednesday morning interview.
Mallott went on to say that “you never say that in an absolute term because we have no idea what will occur,” but when Carran pressed whether Mallott and Walker have made up their minds to run again, Mallott responded, “Yes.”
Lindsay Hobson, a spokeswoman for the Walker-Mallott campaign, said no official announcement has been made.
“We’re not commenting at this time,” she said when asked for an official statment beginning the campaign.
Neither Mallott nor Walker had filed official paperwork with the Alaska Division of Elections or Alaska Public Offices Commission by press time Thursday, but Mallott’s interview follows a similar one by Walker with the Associated Press.
Speaking to AP reporter Becky Bohrer, Walker said, “I’m sure I’ll run again.”
A Mallott staffer was unable to speak on the record but confirmed that the pair are running for re-election.
In a Tuesday interview on the Alaska Public Radio Network show “Talk of Alaska,” Walker said he hasn’t set a date for when he will announce his decision officially.
“I don’t have a specific date or timeline of when that is going to take place. I think it’ll certainly be this summer sometime,” he said.
He added that he doesn’t want the announcement to interfere with the day-to-day running of the state.
Mallott added, “I just love this job because I have the opportunity to work with Governor Walker, and where he goes, I will go.”
With one year to go before the statewide primary, the governor’s race is wide open. Sen. Mike Dunleavy, R-Wasilla, is the only candidate with significant state-level experience. Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, has applied to run for lieutenant governor.
On the Democratic side, Michael Sheldon of Petersburg and Jacob Kern of Anchorage have filed to run for governor. Kern has run three times for Anchorage mayor, each time earning less than 1 percent of the vote.
Sheldon ran as a write-in candidate against Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, in a 2016 race for Alaska Senate. He received less than 4 percent of the vote.
Most candidates for statewide office announce their intentions in the year preceding election. Alaska law places limits on the amount of money an individual or group can donate to a particular candidate. Those limits are based on annual limits, so any candidate who registers in 2017 can receive donations to the limit in 2017 and 2018.
Stevens, in announcing his run for lieutenant governor, said Alaskans should expect candidates to reveal their intentions in the next few months.
Mallott and Walker created an independent “unity ticket” in fall 2014 and unseated incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell in the general election that year. Walker remains the only independent governor in the United States.
Contact reporter James Brooks at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 523-2258.