Former candidate for governor Bill Walker, who made a surprisingly strong showing in the August primary against incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell, said Monday he'll remain a former candidate.
Despite polling showing he'd be competitive as a write-in candidate and a desire to advance the idea of an all-Alaska natural gas pipeline, Walker said it may be better if he doesn't run.
"It's probably a good thing Alaskans can vote without there being a three-way division," he said.
What Walker didn't do Monday was to endorse his party's primary winner, Parnell, or Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz.
He said he'll make a decision on an endorsement later.
"I'll take a little time off, and take a look at that when I get back," he said.
Both Parnell and Berkowitz Monday issued statements appealing to Walker voters.
"We both share a commitment for seeing the All-Alaska line turned into a reality," Berkowitz' statement said.
Walker said he's noticed Berkowitz' increasingly supportive statements about an all-Alaska line, which would ship Alaska natural gas from the North Slope to a liquefied natural gas export facility in Valdez.
"It certainly appears that he's talking a lot about the all-Alaska gas line," Walker said. "I'm always pleased when other folks are saying what I've been saying for a long time," he said.
Walker said his primary performance surprised many, finishing behind Parnell but well ahead of former House Majority Leader Ralph Samuels. That shows the strength of his ideas, primarily the all-Alaska line, he said.
"It was encouraging to see the number of Alaskans that heard the message and liked the message of taking control of our future and not sitting back and waiting for somebody else to do something," Walker said.
Parnell campaign manager Michelle Toohey issued a statement Monday urging Walker supporters to join their campaign.
"Governor Parnell shares Bill Walker's unwavering dedication to resource development and commitment to build a natural gas pipeline," she said.
Parnell has supported a natural gas pipeline under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, under which a pipeline might be built to either markets in the U.S. Midwest or to a Valdez LNG terminal that Walker favors.
Walker said he wasn't ready to say whether that plan would win his endorsement, but that he wanted to continue talking with both candidates to further explore their positions.
"I'm looking forward to meeting with them further, and drill down a little bit on their views on that," Walker said.
Walker didn't provide any timeline for a decision about who to support.
Contact Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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