Dunleavy will be sworn in for second term Dec. 5

JUNEAU (AP) —Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy has won reelection, becoming the first governor in the state since 1998 to win back-to-back terms. Dunleavy received 50.28% of the vote after final tallies were released Nov. 23. Because he won a majority of votes, the race did not go to ranked-choice voting.

Dunleavy said he was “relieved that it’s over and behind us and now we can focus on the next four years.”

Dunleavy, who during his first term faced a recall effort, overcame challenges in the Nov. 8 election from former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent; Democrat Les Gara, a former state lawmaker; and Republican Charlie Pierce, a former Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor who rejected calls to suspend his campaign after he was sued in October by a woman who said he sexually harassed her.

Gara came in second, at 24.21%; Walker in third, at 20.73; and Pierce finished in last place, at 4.48%.

Dunleavy kept a low profile during the campaign, with Walker and Gara lamenting his decision to appear in just a handful of debates.

Dunleavy’s first term was marked early on by tensions with lawmakers in both parties and by a recall effort fueled by public anger over vetoes and budget cuts he had proposed. Recall backers abandoned their push last year, with the governor’s race looming.

Dunleavy touted as significant the dividend paid to residents this year from Alaska’s oil wealth fund, which combined with a one-time energy relief payment of $662 totaled $3,284 per person. Walker said he thought the payout, approved by lawmakers earlier this year amid a spike in oil prices, benefited Dunleavy’s candidacy.

“It’s hard to argue with money being sent out,” he said in an interview after the election.

Dunleavy ran on a ticket with Dahlstrom, a former state lawmaker who led the state corrections department during much of Dunleavy’s first term. The lieutenant governor, among other responsibilities, oversees elections in Alaska.

Dunleavy’s new term begins on Dec. 5.

 

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