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Sarah Palin and Democrats support the same candidate for Alaska governor

Mark Wilson / Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin doesn't agree with Democrats on very much. But on the question of who should become her state's next governor, she's come to a surprising consensus with her one-time rivals — she's endorsed independent candidate Bill Walker and his Democratic running mate, and hosted a campaign event for them in late October.

The odd Alaska race resembles the Kansas Senate contest somewhat. It pits a Republican incumbent — Governor Sean Parnell — against the independent candidate Walker, with the Democratic nominee having dropped out of the race. But here, the state's Democrats have openly endorsed Walker, and their former nominee Byron Mallott is now his running mate, running for lieutenant governor on a "unity ticket" with the support of the Democratic Party. The party decided that unifying behind Walker presented the best chance of defeating Parnell.

Sarah Palin Bill Walker

Palin with Bill Walker (far right) and Byron Mallott (far left). (Bill Walker for Alaska Governor)

It may seem odd that Palin is supporting Walker instead of Parnell — particularly because Parnell was Palin's own lieutenant governor, and succeeded her when she resigned in 2009. However, once in office, Parnell repealed Palin's biggest legislative accomplishment — a tax increase on the state's oil and gas industry.

Yes, it's easy to forget, but true — Palin's main achievement as governor was a big tax increase. And she has harshly criticized Parnell's new policy as a sellout to corporate interests. "For years outside Big Oil tried to tell us, ‘Hush now, little Alaskans, just trust us to do right by you,'" she wrote on her Facebook page this August. "We won't be suckered again by multimillion-dollar P.R. campaigns and crony capitalists wanting us to fall for scaremongering."

The latest HuffPost Pollster average puts Walker ahead of Parnell by one percentage point. Polling in Alaska, however, is famously unreliable, as Nate Silver wrote here.

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