Alaska Gov. Bill Walker abruptly ended his reelection bid Friday, dropping out of the race and endorsing his Democratic opponent, according to Politico.
Walker's exit from the race comes just days after his lieutenant governor, Byron Mallott, resigned after unspecified inappropriate comments made to an unknown woman.
"This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy," Walker said. "The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds. Alaskans deserve a competitive race."
Why did he drop out?
While the exact details of his decision are still unknown, Walker's statement indicates that he realized either he or Democratic candidate Mark Begich needed to drop out in order to prevent Republican Mike Dunleavy from winning.
Dunleavy had a significant lead in the polls as Walker, an independent, and Begich were splitting votes and polling at around 25 percent each.
"I believe we cannot win a three way race," Walker said. "In the time remaining, it has become clear we cannot win a three-way race. The decision was made that at this point, Begich has the better odds."
What's the response to the decision?
The state Democratic Party celebrated the move, considering how much it strengthens their candidate's chances of winning.
“This is a game changer in the Alaska Governor’s race. This race immediately becomes a tossup, open-seat race between a popular Democrat in Mark Begich and a fringe Republican in Mike Dunleavy," Democratic Governors Association executive director Elisabeth Pearson said in a statement.
The Republican Governor's Association, however, had a less favorable view of the move, calling it a "political charade."
"[Walker’s] announcement that he will drop out only reinforces why Alaska urgently needs change,” a statement from the association read.