Gov. Mike Dunleavy faces off against a slate of opponents in Alaska's gubernatorial election

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Alaskan Gov. Mike DunleavyBecky Bohrer/AP Photo; Insider
  • Gov. Mike Dunleavy is running against Democrat Les Gara, Republican Charlie Pierce, and independent candidate Bill Walker — a former governor — in Alaska's gubernatorial race.

  • This is the first Alaskan gubernatorial election since the state implemented a top-four election for the primary.

  • This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022.

Republican incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy faces off against Democrat Les Gara, Republican Charlie Pierce, and independent candidate Bill Walker in Alaska's gubernatorial election.

This is the first Alaskan gubernatorial election since the state implemented a top-four election for the primary and ranked-choice voting in the general election.

Polls close in the state at 8 p.m. local time. Given the state has multiple timezones, the first polls close at 12 p.m. EST and the last polls close at 1 p.m. EST.

 

Alaska's gubernatorial candidates

Dunleavy was elected in 2018 and is finishing up his first term as governor. Prior to being elected governor, Dunleavy was a member of the Alaska State Senate, a seat he held from 2012 to 2018.

Following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the precedents set by Roe v. Wade in June, Dunleavy pledged to propose a constitutional amendment in the coming legislative session to "answer the question whether abortion shall, or not be a constitutionally protected right."

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Dunleavy on the condition that Dunleavy doesn't endorse Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican, for re-election.

"He has my Complete and Total Endorsement," Trump said, "but this endorsement is subject to his non-endorsement of Senator Lisa Murkowski who has been very bad for Alaska, including losing ANWAR, perhaps the most important drilling site in the world, and much else."

"ANWAR" refers to ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in the northeastern corner of Alaska.

Dunleavy, along with fellow Republican candidate Pierce, has also been endorsed by the Alaska Republican Party.

Pierce was the mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough from 2017 to 2022, and prior to that, sat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly for six years. At a debate in October, he said he opposed access to abortion and as governor would support a vote to amend the state constitution to permit an abortion ban.

Gara, the Democrat in the race, was a member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 2003 to 2019. Gara considers himself "pro-choice" and received an endorsement from the Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates in July.

Walker is an independent and served as governor of Alaska from 2014 to 2018. As governor, Walker used his executive authority to expand Medicaid in the state. He's running on a platform to boost the Alaskan economy, invest in education, and protect "the rights of all Alaskans, including LGBTQIA+ Alaskans."

Alaska's voting history

Trump defeated Joe Biden by a 10 percentage point margin in Alaska in the 2020 presidential election. The state has voted for the Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1968.

The money race

According to the most recently filed campaign finance reports, Dunleavy had more than $900,000, as of October 7. Gara had nearly $360,000 cash on hand, Walker had $450,000, and Pierce had just over $6,000.

What experts say

The race between Dunleavy and Gara is rated as "likely Republican" by Inside Elections, "likely Republican" by The Cook Political Report, and "likely Republican" by Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

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