Libertarian Senate candidate Thom Walker to withdraw

Thom Walker, left, will be appearing on the same ballot as Bill Walker in November. (Photo courtesy UAF/Bill Walker for Governor campaign)

Thom Walker, left, will not be appearing on the same ballot as Bill Walker in November. (Photo courtesy UAF/Bill Walker for Governor campaign)

There won’t be two Walkers on the November ballot after all. Thom Walker, the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate, announced he was dropping out of the race via Facebook on Wednesday.

In a post left on the Alaska Libertarian Party’s page, Walker explains that his “work location and schedule” handling field operations for a University of Alaska research station requires him to be “out of town, out of contact, and off the campaign trail for too long.” It’s the first public statement Walker has made since unexpectedly winning last week’s primary and immediately going off the grid for a float trip in the Brooks Range.

Walker took over 60 percent of the Libertarian vote in a race against two former Libertarian Party chairmen. Because the 35-year-old Fairbanks resident had only recently become a Libertarian and had not actively campaigned, party leadership and pollsters believe that Thom Walker pulled off an upset because he shared a last name with gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker.

The Libertarian executive committee has already selected primary runner-up Mark Fish as their replacement candidate. Fish says they’re now trying to coordinate the change with the Division of Elections, but the substitution is complicated by Walker’s inaccessibility. APRN was not able to reach Walker for comment on the matter, but Fish says the erstwhile candidate is only able to communicate his withdrawal via satellite phone.

“Usually that’s done in writing, but I just got off the phone with the Division of Elections and they’re going to check on it, because it’s kind of a unique situation,” says Fish.

The selection of Fish as a replacement happened within hours of Walker’s announcement. Throughout the primary season, the Libertarian Party was asked if it would consider running Republican Joe Miller as its Senate candidate in the event the Tea Party favorite lost. Party Chair Michael Chambers says that simply wasn’t going to happen.

“We’re not a rent-a-party,” says Chambers. “We’re a party of principles, and those principles are adhered to in the sense that we want to put forth candidates that adhere to the particular principles of the Libertarian party.”

The Libertarian Party has until September 2 to formalize its candidate substitution.

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