Incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy won a second term Wednesday after a final count.
Dunleavy won the election outright with 50.3% of the vote. Because he received more than half of the first election votes, the Division of Elections will not tabulate the second and third election votes in the race.
Dunleavy will be joined in office by a new Lieutenant Governor, former Justice Department Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom.
The governor has led his race by more than half the vote since election night, but he said it was a relief to have the results in hand.
“It brings some finality and allows us to move forward now and really start planning for the next four years,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “It’s a good day for us, and I think it’s a good day for Alaska, too.”
Dunleavy is the only statewide candidate to win his race outright – the races for the US House of Representatives and US Senate go into ranked selection on Wednesday afternoon. Dunleavy called it a validation of his leadership.
Many close legislative races remain up in the air, along with questions about how the state house and state senate will organize for the upcoming session. The governor says his administration is willing to work with any lawmaker who “wants to move Alaska forward.”
“I think part of this election shows that people aren’t interested in the personalization, the politicization of some of these relationships,” he said.
Dunleavy’s first four-year term began with a call for the resignation of 1,200 state employees and drastic budget cuts affecting the university system, ferries and Medicaid. His administration’s initial harsh measures led to a recall that was stalled and later resolved by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dunleavy counts his response to the pandemic as one of the achievements of his first term. Although Alaska has experienced periods of severe hospital overload, it has had one of the lowest death rates in the country.
On Wednesday, the governor said he looks forward to building on his first term and prioritizing public safety, food security and energy security.
Dunleavy is Alaska’s first Republican governor to be reelected in four decades since Jay Hammond in 1978.
Democrat Les Gara was second with 24.2%. Independent Bill Walker claimed 20.7% and Republican Charlie Pierce 4.5%.
In a statement emailed Wednesday afternoon, Gara and fellow campaigner Jessica Cook conceded the race, saying: “We wish Gov. Dunleavy and Lt. All the best to Governor Dahlstrom on what will be a difficult road no matter who wins this election.”
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