Republican Dunleavy leads in Alaska governor’s race

Nov 8, 2022, 10:58 AM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 1:50 am
FILE - Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican running for re-election Nov. 8, 2022, is shown pr...

FILE - Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican running for re-election Nov. 8, 2022, is shown prior to a televised debate Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

              FILE -Republican Charlie Pierce, a Republican running for Alaska governor in the Nov. 8, 2022 election, is shown prior to a televised debate Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
            
              FILE - Les Gara, a Democrat running for Alaska governor in the Nov. 8, 2022 election, is shown prior to a televised debate Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
            
              FILE - Former Gov. Bill Walker, an Independent running for governor in the Nov. 8, 2022 election, is shown prior to a televised debate Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
            
              FILE - Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican running for re-election Nov. 8, 2022, is shown prior to a televised debate Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy led in first-choice votes in early returns Tuesday in his bid to become the first governor in the state since Democrat Tony Knowles in 1998 to be elected to back-to-back terms.

Democrat Les Gara, a former state lawmaker, and former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, trailed, with Republican Charlie Pierce far behind all three.

The ranked vote election was in keeping with a 2020 voter initiative that replaced party primaries with open primaries and instituted ranked voting for general elections. Under ranked voting, ballots are counted in rounds. A candidate can win outright with more than 50% of the vote in the first round. If no one hits that threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Voters who chose that candidate as their top pick have their votes count for their next choice. Rounds continue until two candidates remain, and whoever has the most votes wins.

Elections officials plan to conduct tabulation rounds for races on Nov. 23.

Gara and Walker criticized Dunleavy for participating in just a handful of debates and for what they say has been a lack of leadership or vision for the state. Dunleavy argued the state, which struggled with deficits for much of the last decade amid low-to-middling oil prices, is in a better position than it was four years ago.

Oil prices earlier this year soared amid the fallout of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting rosier revenue outlooks for the state. Prices for North Slope oil have fallen from around $125 a barrel in June to the low-to-mid $90 range more recently.

Dunleavy defended his leadership during the pandemic and efforts aimed at improving public safety. He touted as substantial the dividend paid to residents this year from the state’s oil-wealth fund, which combined with a one-time energy relief payment totaled $3,284. Last year’s dividend was $1,114.

Debate over the size of the dividend has overshadowed other issues in the Legislature, contributing to drawn-out, divisive sessions. The amount available for dividends for years was determined by a formula. But Walker in 2016, amid deficits, vetoed about half the funds available. The size of the checks has been set by lawmakers since. Lawmakers have also begun using earnings from the oil-wealth fund, long used to pay dividends, to help pay for government, creating tension each year over how much money should go to each.

Dunleavy for years pushed unsuccessfully for a dividend in line with the formula, which many lawmakers have said is unsustainable. He later proposed dividing the annual withdrawal from earnings 50/50 between dividends and government expenses. This year’s dividend was in line with that approach.

Walker expressed concern that high dividends would put Alaska in “the express lane for high taxes.” He said he wanted a dividend that is “as high as we can possibly have” but not at the expense of other state programs or services. Alaska has no state sales or personal income tax.

He criticized Dunleavy over the lack of a state fiscal plan, an issue he struggled to get lawmakers to act on while he was governor.

Gara called for changes to Alaska’s oil tax structure that he said would provide revenues for “strong” dividends and prevent situations in which Alaskans are fighting over money for dividends, schools, the state construction budget and other programs. He said he sees changes in oil taxes as a source of revenue for the state that the public would accept.

“We can’t keep telling Alaskans they have to battle each other over crumbs,” he said in an email to supporters.

Pierce, a former Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, was sued along with the borough last month by a woman who said he sexually harassed her when she worked as an assistant. Pierce rejected calls to suspend his campaign. His running mate, Edie Grunwald, withdrew from the campaign after the lawsuit was filed.

Walker, who was governor from 2014 to 2018, dropped his reelection bid shortly before the 2018 race won by Dunleavy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Moldova signs new energy deal that could ease blackout risk

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova has struck a deal to renew severed electricity supplies from its breakaway, Moscow-backed region of Transnistria to lower the risk of more massive blackouts amid an acute winter energy crisis, a senior Moldovan official said Saturday. Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said Moldovan state power company Energocom has signed a […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dr. Mary Bassett, New York City's health commissioner, addresses the media during a news con...
Associated Press

NY state health commissioner resigning to return to Harvard

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s state health commissioner will resign Jan. 1 after 13 months in the job to return to Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Mary Bassett said in a statement Friday that she was “leaving now so the next commissioner can have the chance to lead this great department […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Man charged with threatening doctor over transgender care

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged a Texas man with threatening a Boston physician who cares for transgender children. Thirty-eight-year-old Matthew Jordan Lindner of Comfort, Texas, faces a charge of transmitting interstate threats. He was arrested Friday in Texas by the FBI and is expected to appear in federal court in Massachusetts at a […]
1 day ago
FILE - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, walks with U.S. President Joe Biden during the...
Associated Press

Turkish strikes on US Kurd allies resonate in Ukraine war

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Biden administration officials are toughening their language toward NATO ally Turkey as they try to talk Turkish President Recep Erdogan out of launching a bloody and destabilizing ground offensive against American-allied Kurdish forces in neighboring Syria. Since Nov. 20, after six people died in an Istanbul bombing a week before that […]
1 day ago
FILE - Women stand by a marble statue of a naked youth thought to represent Greek god Dionysos, cen...
Associated Press

British Museum reportedly in talks on Parthenon Sculptures

LONDON (AP) — The British Museum has pledged not to dismantle its collection, following a report that the institution’s chairman has held secret talks with Greece’s prime minister over the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, also known as the Elgin Marbles. The report by the Greek newspaper Ta Nea is the latest twist in the […]
1 day ago
Soldiers arrive in Soyapango, El Salvador, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. The government of El Salvador se...
Associated Press

El Salvador sends 10,000 police, army to seal off town

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — The government of El Salvador sent 10,000 soldiers and police to seal off a town on the outskirts of the nation’s capital Saturday to search for gang members. The operation was one of the largest mobilizations yet in President Nayib Bukele’s nine-month-old crackdown on street gangs that long extorted […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Republican Dunleavy leads in Alaska governor’s race