Byron Mallott jumps into Governor’s Race

Byron Mallott (Casey Kelly/KTOO)

Byron Mallott is a familiar face in Alaska politics. He’s served as mayor of both Juneau and Yakutat. He was the first commissioner of the Department of Community and Regional Affairs. He’s headed the Sealaska Corporation, and directed the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation.

While Mallott still hasn’t filed the paperwork needed to run, he declared his candidacy on Monday, in an interview with the Alaska Dispatch. There had been some speculation that he might follow his fellow candidate’s Bill Walker’s lead and run as an independent. Instead, Mallott wants to earn the Democratic nomination.

That means he could face off against State Senator Hollis French in a party primary. French hasn’t officially committed to entering the race, but he’s announced he exploring a run and he’s registered with the state as a candidate. French says Mallott’s announcement shouldn’t affect his final decision on the issue.

“I’ve never been one to try to arm-twist other candidates into getting in or out of the race. I think this is a good development.”

Mallott could not be reached for comment for this story.