Republican Mike Dunleavy is 1st Alaska governor reelected since 1998. Alaska governor since 1998, Mike Dunleavy’s first term, under the current Alaska’s nonpartisan blanket primary is expected to be the last in which the winner gets a plurality without a second vote.
Since then, he has been a polarizing figure, most recently being accused by former University of Alaska professor Mike Pillsbury of sexual harassment. But since taking office in early 2014, Dunleavy has built a coalition of supporters like Alaska’s voters of all persuasions and backgrounds, while also standing up for people he has disagreed with.
He was the only candidate in the 2013 race to appear on the first page of the Alaska Public Offices Directory, the state’s official listing of elected officials. He was on the cover of our January 18, 2015, editorial in the state’s largest newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, and has been recognized as Alaska’s best governor ever by the National Journal and The Economist.
An independent from his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dunleavy had three terms as the U.S. congressman representing the 2nd Congressional District of Alaska (1983-1993). He rose from a humble upbringing to one of the most well-known Congressmen in the country. His career would have continued for another decade, but he ran for governor of Alaska in 2006, just seven years after winning the race.
In a state where more than half the population is under the age of 18, Dunleavy’s accomplishments as governor have been many. His early support of same-sex marriage has seen his popularity soar over the years, while his ability to make deals with political leaders who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to cut deals has been his specialty, particularly his ability to get Alaska leaders to pass landmark legislation such as the Permanent Fund dividend or his campaign to remove the sales tax on certain food items.
So, after 13 years of campaigning for governor, can Mike Dunleavy, who is often described on social media as “Alaska’s most successful governor so far,” win a second term? He looks like he could if he can overcome a challenger from the left coast, as well as a challenge from the right coast.