Following the release of the first batches of primary election results on Tuesday evening, Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, along with independent former Gov. Bill Walker and Democrat former Rep. Les Gara, were headed to the ranked-choice November general election.
Two conservative Republicans running to Dunleavy’s right, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce and Wasilla state Rep. Christopher Kurka, were vying for fourth place and the chance to advance to the November election.
Dunleavy is running for re-election, election results –
He is running for re-election to a second four-year term alongside lieutenant governor candidate Nancy Dahlstrom, a former Commissioner of Corrections. Dunleavy received 42% of the vote with 233 of 401 precincts reporting, compared to just under 22% for both Walker and Gara. “We’re feeling pretty good,” Dunleavy said of his promising early results.
“We’ll have to look at what happens when all the votes come in and dissect those and look at the different precincts and districts,” he said. “But, you know, it’s better to have these discussions from a position of strength than from a position of weakness.”
Walker is running with Heidi Drygas –
The top four vote getters in each race, regardless of party affiliation, will advance from the primary election to the general election under Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system.
Walker is running with Heidi Drygas, the former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, and has a slim lead over Gara, who is running with Jessica Cook, a former teacher and education advocate.
“Heidi and I will win the general election because we are running to represent everyone in our state — whether we are their first choice or not,” Walker said in a prepared words. “We are the only team with the ability to win support from voters who want common sense solutions and leadership as a unity ticket that puts aside our respective partisan roots.”
Gara described his campaign’s –
Gara, echoing several Alaska political consultants, noted that historically, a higher proportion of conservative voters turn out for primary elections than for general elections, implying that the order in which candidates finish in the pick-one primary may not necessarily translate to ranked-choice voting success in November. It is described his campaign’s approach to the August primary as a “pit stop.”
Sarah Erkmann-Ward, a political consultant, is educating Republican voters about ranked choice voting. She stated that the primary election results would serve as a signal to some campaigns about their viability, and that the election would serve as a “statewide public opinion survey”.
Political consultant for progressive candidates, John-Henry Heckendorn, was sceptical. He also noted that, historically, primary election turnout has been lower than general election turnout, with more conservative and partisan voters casting ballots.