Votes for Any Candidates on Alaska Ballot will Count

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A vote for any candidate for governor and lieutenant governor on the general election ballot in Alaska will be counted, the state elections office said Monday.

    That includes votes for Gov. Bill Walker and former Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott. Their names remain on the ballot though last week Walker ended his re-election campaign and Mallott resigned his office.

    The date for candidates to withdraw from the ballot was Sept. 4.

    Walker ended his re-election bid Friday, days after Mallott resigned over what Walker described as an inappropriate overture to a woman. Walker told reporters it had been a tough week and that talks with Democratic challenger Mark Begich also factored in to his decision to end his campaign when he did. Mallott was replaced by former state health commissioner Valerie Davidson.

    Walker said he concluded he couldn't win against Begich and Republican Mike Dunleavy, and he said he thought Begich would be better for Alaska than Dunleavy.

    Samantha Miller, a spokeswoman for the Division of Elections, said by email that Walker would be re-elected if he got the most votes. But Walker downplayed the possibility of that happening.

    "I don't think that's going to be an issue," he said Friday.

    She said there is nothing in state law that allows the Division of Elections to replace a ballot once it's been voted and returned to the division. However, she said if a voter filled out their absentee ballot and still has it in their possession but wants a new ballot they can request a replacement ballot.

    Meanwhile Monday, the state's largest labor organization, the Alaska AFL-CIO, said it is supporting Begich for governor.

    This summer, the group endorsed Walker. The Alaska AFL-CIO said leaders of affiliated unions met Sunday and endorsed Begich given Walker's decision to cease campaigning.

    Vince Beltrami, president of the Alaska AFL-CIO, said in a statement that the organization will "dig in with every ounce of energy" it has to help Begich win.

    Dunleavy on Monday announced he'd been endorsed by Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young and Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan.

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