Abandoning his run for lieutenant governor as a Democrat, Scott Heyworth of Anchorage announced Tuesday his endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Frank Murkowski.
Heyworth, 52, the sponsor of a ballot initiative to build an all-Alaska natural gas pipeline, said the decision came because of Murkowski's support for getting a gasline built.
The ballot initiative would create a state agency, called the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority. The agency would authorize the construction of a pipeline to run from the North Slope to Valdez.
"I will support any route that takes Alaska's gas to market," Murkowski, a Republican in the U.S. Senate, said in a prepared statement. "I believe that an Alaskan gasline project can and will put Alaskans to work in high-paying, resource-based jobs, that we should examine gasline options that serve both domestic and Pacific Rim markets, and that we should take advantage of our opportunity to develop an in-state petrochemical industry."
In an interview today, Heyworth said he has no confidence that an Ulmer administration would work to build a gasline that runs through the state. Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, a Juneau Democrat, is seeking her party's nomination in the governor's race.
Heyworth said he would fight any attempt to run the gasline through Canada, noting an Alaska line would provide construction jobs and in-state gas.
Heyworth's decision to pull out of the race leaves Ernie Hall of Anchorage as the sole Democratic candidate.
Other candidates for lieutenant governor include Republicans Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Gail Phillips of Homer, Robin Taylor of Wrangell, Paul R. Wieler and Loren Leman of Anchorage; Libertarian candidate Al A. Anders of Anchorage; Alaskan Independence Party candidate Daniel DeNardo of Anchorage; and Green Party candidate Diane E. Benson of Eagle River.
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.