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The Latest: Alaska governor seeks to boost Begich’s odds

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announces he will drop his re-election bid while addressing the Alaska Federation of Natives conference Friday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska. Walker's re-election plans were dealt a blow earlier in the week after his running mate, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, resigned after making an inappropriate overture toward a woman. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Alaska governor’s race (all times local):

9:40 a.m.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker dropped his re-election bid in hopes of boosting Democratic rival Mark Begich’s chances of beating Republican Mike Dunleavy.

Walker, an independent, said Friday he could not win a three-way race and that Alaskans deserve a choice other than Dunleavy.

Whether Begich can overtake the presumed front-runner remains to be seen with just two-and-a-half weeks before the election. Begich thinks he can win.

Some Democrats and independents had worried that Walker and Begich would split the vote, handing the race to Dunleavy.

Walker’s announcement came three days after his lieutenant governor resigned over what Walker described as an inappropriate overture to a woman.

Dunleavy says his message of reduced government and a full payout of checks to residents from the state’s oil-wealth fund has resonated with Alaskans.

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12 a.m.

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has dropped his re-election bid, shortly after the sudden resignation of his lieutenant governor over what Walker described as an inappropriate overture toward a woman.

Walker’s announcement, made Friday at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage right before he was to participate in a debate, was met with gasps and cries of “No!” from the audience.

With less than three weeks until the election, Walker, an independent, said it became clear he could not win a three-way race against Republican former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich.

Alaskans deserve a competitive race, “and Alaskans deserve a choice other than Mike Dunleavy,” he said.

On Friday night, Brett Huber, Dunleavy’s campaign manager, issued a statement blasting Walker. “Governor Walker could have chosen a dignified, graceful exit to his campaign. Instead, he opted to bow out with a bitter, partisan attack on Mike Dunleavy. It’s too bad — Alaskans deserve better,” Huber said.

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