In a step toward forging a Democratic-independent alliance against Gov. Sean Parnell and his GOP running mate, Dan Sullivan, the state Democratic Party's Central Committee voted overwhelmingly Monday to endorse a merged gubernatorial ticket.
While the 88-2 evening vote does not formally join up Democratic candidate Byron Mallott with independent Bill Walker, the endorsement -- a day ahead of the Sept. 2 deadline to make any changes to the ticket -- indicates that the linkage is likely.
Alaska Democratic Party spokesperson Zack Fields says the merged ticket, if approved, will include Walker for governor and Mallott for lieutenant governor.
Reached for comment by phone Monday night, Walker says the move will leave partisanship behind.
"It's all about Alaska's future -- it's all about what's best for Alaska, Alaska's future stepping above party politics," Walker said.
Some projections by political analysts have shown Mallott and Walker splitting the opposition vote to Parnell, clearing the way to another term by the Republican incumbent.
Officials with both Mallott and Walker's campaigns had refused to say anything Monday about the fate of Democratic lieutenant-governor candidate Hollis French, who left his state Senate seat and easily garnered the nomination to run alongside Mallott during the state's Aug. 19 primaries.
The campaigns plan to make a joint statement Tuesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. Channel 2 will carry a live stream of the event.
Channel 2's Caslon Hatch and Rebecca Palsha, as well as KNOM's Matt Smith contributed information to this story.
This is a developing story. Please check KTUU.com and the Channel 2 newscasts for updates.