Dunleavy endorses Trump in 2024 presidential race

Gov. Mike Dunleavy spoke publicly Thursday, Aug. 31, for the first time about his decision to endorse Republican former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race.

In a Fox Business interview, Dunleavy said Trump has been “the best president for this state in its short history,” citing Trump’s actions in issuing oil drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and removing roadbuilding restrictions for logging in the Tongass National Forest.

Dunleavy’s endorsement of Trump was first reported by Politico on Aug. 22, but he did not confirm or discuss it publicly until Aug. 31.

His endorsement stands out not only among Republican governors nationwide, most of whom have refrained so far from weighing in on the presidential race, but also among Alaska Republicans.

The state’s Republican Party and Alaska’s two Republican U.S. senators have not made formal endorsements in the party’s presidential primaries race, in which Trump — facing multiple indictments related to his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election — is leading by a significant margin in polling.

In a PBS interview in July, Sen. Lisa Murkowski indicated she was opposed to Trump’s candidacy. She did not endorse any candidate.

“If we go into a 2024 scenario where it’s basically a redo of 2020 between Trump and Biden, what does that say? That we have nobody better than these two?” Murkowski said at the time.

Sen. Dan Sullivan in a March interview indicated he did not endorse any specific candidate in the Republican primary.

“I think having a good, competitive primary with a new generation of Republicans, by the way, is healthy for our party. It’s healthy for the country, and I plan on supporting the nominee who wins the Republican nomination,” Sullivan said at the time.

Alaska’s Republican presidential primary is set for March 5.

Dunleavy last year won his second term as governor; he will not be eligible to run again for the position when his term ends in 2026.

Trump endorsed Dunleavy in his gubernatorial runs in 2018 and in 2022. However, in 2022, Trump’s endorsement was conditional on a promise from Dunleavy that he would not support Murkowski’s reelection bid.

Trump visited Alaska for a July 2022 rally to campaign for Murkowski’s Republican opponent, Kelly Tshibaka, and for U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin — both of whom lost their races.

In his Fox interview on Aug. 31, Dunleavy said he had met with Trump “at least nine times.” He used the opportunity to criticize President Joe Biden’s administration and the resource development policies he has promoted, calling Biden “out and out hostile to Alaska” while acknowledging that Biden oversaw the approval earlier this year of the $8 billion Willow oil development project for the North Slope. Biden is set to visit Alaska later this month.

“I shudder to think what it’s going to be in the future if what we’ve seen for the last two years is going to be the future,” Dunleavy said.


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