Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Alaska Democrats merge with independent candidate for governor

Alaska Democrats are taking an unusual step in the gubernatorial campaign in this red state, the Alaska Dispatch News reports. They are formally dropping their own party's ticket for the office, and merging with an independent candidate in order to take on Republican Gov. Sean Parnell.

The state Democratic party's central committee voted Monday night, by an 89-2 margin, to form an "Alaska First Unity ticket" in which they endorse independent Bill Walker, a former Republican. In exchange, Democratic nominee Byron Mallott is dropping his campaign — and becoming Walker's running mate as a candidate for lieutenant governor.

In a poll from a month ago, Parnell led a three-way race with a plurality of 37 percent support. At the same time, however, Parnell was in a statistical dead heat with Walker, 41 percent to 40 percent, in a hypothetical two-way race. The next two months will test whether this new fusion ticket can make exactly this sort of competitive race happen for real.