JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on Alaska’s candidate filings (all times local):
An Alaska lawmaker ostracized by state Republican leaders for joining with Democrats to help form a House majority coalition has left the GOP.
Rep. Paul Seaton of Homer says he changed his party affiliation from Republican to nonpartisan in filing for re-election. Seaton plans to run as an independent candidate in the August Democratic primary.
He says he wants the race to be on the issues.
Seaton is a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. He was one of three Republicans who joined with Democrats and two independents to form a majority coalition after the 2016 elections.
The state GOP said the actions of Seaton and Republicans Louise Stutes and Gabrielle LeDoux were contrary to the Republican party’s values and goals.
With Alaska candidates facing a Friday deadline to file to run, all eyes are on former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and whether the Democrat will enter the race for governor.
One person who’s been waiting on Begich’s decision is Gov. Bill Walker, an independent.
Walker’s campaign has said Begich will influence whether Walker runs in the Democratic primary or skips the primary and instead gathers signatures to appear on November’s general election ballot.
A recent court ruling allowed independents to run in the Democratic primary if they want the party’s backing. Walker was elected in 2014 with Democratic support.
Walker’s campaign said he won’t run in the primary if Begich runs.
On the Republican side, state Rep. Mike Chenault (shen-AWLT) says he won’t seek the GOP nomination for governor.