Sarah Palin finds a Democrat (and an independent) she can support

Story highlights

  • Byron Mallott is a Democrat running for lieutenant governor in Alaska.
  • Mallott is the running mate to indepedent governor hopeful Brian Walker.
  • Pallin has long had a dispute with Alaska's current governor, Republican Sean Parnell.
  • Palin's approval numbers in her home state are low.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin snubbed home state Republicans this year, instead endorsing an independent candidate for governor and his Democratic running mate for lieutenant governor.
Republican-turned independent candidate Bill Walker posted a photo on Facebook on Thursday of himself, Sarah Palin and his Democratic running-mate Byron Mallott, all of whom are sporting Walker-Mallott pins. "People and progress over politics," the caption reads.
Palin hosted an event for Walker and Mallott -- billing themselves as the "Unity Ticket" -- in her Wasilla home.
Her across-the-aisle endorsement is a jab at incumbent Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, who served as Palin's lieutenant governor when she was the head of the Alaskan state government from 2006 to 2009.
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Though they worked together for some time, Palin and Parnell have been rivals ever since a policy dispute erupted shortly after Palin resigned from office and Parnell took her place.
During her tenure as governor, Palin increased oil taxes in the state, a revenue generator for Alaska heralded by the 2008 vice presidential candidate as one of her biggest achievements. But Parnell dismantled the tax, causing a divide between the former coworkers.
Voters took up the oil tax issue in a state-wide ballot initiative which ended up failing, leaving Parnell's repeal in place. Parnell and Palin, both Republicans, campaigned aggressively during the voter referendum -- on opposing sides.
The Alaska governor race is considered a toss-up, with some polls giving Walker a small advantage. And it's unclear whether Palin's endorsement will help Walker: 54 percent of likely voters have an unfavorable view of the former governor, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling last month, a number which has steadily increased ever since she abruptly stepped down five years ago. The same poll shows her favorable rating at a mere 32 percent.