- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A civil lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell erred in issuing an emergency order that ultimately allowed two gubernatorial campaigns to merge.

The lawsuit filed in Anchorage Wednesday challenges Treadwell’s Sept. 2 order, which permitted independent gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Byron Mallott to join tickets to provide a stronger challenge to Republican incumbent Sean Parnell.

Frank McQueary, the rules chair for the Alaska Republican Party, told reporters Wednesday that the lawsuit wasn’t politically motivated. Plaintiff Steve Strait, a district chair in the Alaska Republican Party, said the goal of the lawsuit is to return the ballot to people who were legitimately on it and went through the process.

Before Treadwell’s order, Mallott had been on a ticket with state Senate minority leader Hollis French, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Walker was on a separate ticket, running with independent lieutenant governor candidate Craig Fleener.

Treadwell’s decision allowed French and Fleener to be removed from the ballot. Mallott has since dropped his Democratic bid for governor and is now running for lieutenant governor on Walker’s ticket. To join campaigns, Walker dropped his membership in the Alaska Republican Party and reregistered as undeclared, a stipulation made by an Alaska Democratic Party committee when it voted to endorse the ticket.

“It certainly appears to be politically motivated,” Walker said Wednesday of the lawsuit, which he said comes amid growing support for the Walker-Mallott campaign.

The lawsuit also notes that the candidates succumbed to pressure by the Alaska AFL-CIO to merge campaigns under a “super ticket” expected to present a better chance of defeating Parnell than a three-way race. In August, the umbrella labor organization declined to endorse either Walker or Mallott, but labor leaders later overwhelmingly threw their support behind the newly formed team.

AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

Margaret Paton-Walsh, an assistant attorney general, is representing Treadwell and elections director Gail Fenumiai (feh-NEW’-me-eye), who are named in the lawsuit. Paton-Walsh says the state stands behind Treadwell’s decision.

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