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On Monday night, a vote by the Alaska Democratic Party's central committee cleared the way for Bill Walker and Byron Mallott to join forces on an independent ticket for governor. Here's a look at what led up to the historic decision.

Alaska Dispatch News
As merger talks continued Labor Day between Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott and independent Bill Walker, the Democratic Party scheduled evening meetings of its governing body to ratify a deal on a unity ticket -- if one can be struck.Richard Mauer
With two months left before Alaskans vote on a ballot measure to potentially legalize recreational marijuana, the groups for and against the initiative are ramping up their outreach efforts.Laurel Andrews
Democrat Byron Mallott and independent Bill Walker have been meeting since midweek to discuss whether they should merge their gubernatorial campaigns into a bipartisan or nonpartisan unity ticket.Richard Mauer
Both of Alaska's major U.S. Senate candidates, Mark Begich and Dan Sullivan, agree that outside spending is a problem in their race. But when it comes to finding a solution, the two can’t seem to find common ground.Nathaniel Herz
Targeting what he believes is corruption in the Alaska Legislature, political activist Ray Metcalfe has filed an application with the Elections Division to launch a new citizen initiative aimed at stopping lawmakers from voting on bills that help their donors, their employers and others.   Alex DeMarban
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan is demanding that Democratic incumbent Mark Begich remove a hard-hitting TV ad that Sullivan calls “shameful and deceitful.” Alex DeMarban
The Alaska Conference of Mayors has voted to oppose the marijuana legalization initiative and pledged to donate $5,000 to “Big Marijuana. Big Mistake. Vote No on 2,” a campaign opposing the ballot measure.  Laurel Andrews
Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Begich faced his Republican challenger, Dan Sullivan, for the first time Wednesday evening in a debate in Anchorage, with the two candidates drawing sharp distinctions between their visions of the state’s future and its path over the nearly six years since Begich was elected. Nathaniel Herz
Thom Walker, who unexpectedly won the Libertarian nomination for U.S. Senate in the primary election earlier this month, withdrew from the race Wednesday, citing an inability to run a proper campaign due to his job.Pat Forgey

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