Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell (R) had been favored for reelection, until his two rivals, Independent Bill Walker and Democrat Byron Mallot, united in a fusion ticket, with Walker running for governor and Mallot as lieutenant governor. With a high-profile US Senate race drawing much of the outside money and air time, this race has been a sleeper. Polling has been volatile, prompting both the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Report to move the race from lean Republican to pure toss-up.
In the closing days of the campaign, the Republican Governors Association directed $1.3 million to an independent expenditure group, Citizens Against Walker, in a bid to support Parnell. In an unexpected twist, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) endorsed the Walker fusion ticket, instead of Parnell, who had been her lieutenant governor and stepped in as governor after her surprise resignation in 2009.