"I'm as surprised as all Alaskans by Governor Palin's decision to step down with nearly two years left in her term," Begich said in a statement. "There was speculation she would not seek re-election, but she gave no indication of a resignation when I met with her for 45 minutes in her Anchorage office two days ago."
The first-term Senator also pledged to work with Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell (R), who will assume Palin's position by the end of the month.
The statement is in sharp contrast with Murkowski's reaction, which attacked Palin for "abandoning" Alaska.