Alaska Gov. Bill Walker announced he is suspending his bid for re-election on Friday, eighteen days before the election and three days after Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly resigned from his post after making “inappropriate comments” to a woman, the Anchorage Daily News reports. “Every decision I have made as your governor, I have made on the basis of what I believe is best for Alaska,” the nation's only independent governor told an audience at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention in his surprise announcement Friday afternoon. “With that said, effective today, I am suspending my campaign for re-election as governor.” The newspaper reported there were “gasps from the audience” after the announcement. Walker also praised Democrat Mark Begich, and said his platform “closely aligned” with his “priorities” for the state. “It is the honor of my life to have served as the governor of this great state,” Walker said.