Mike Dunleavy decisively won the Alaska governor’s race Tuesday, Congressman Don Young was re-elected to what will be his 23rd term and the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative was soundly defeated.
Alaska Public Media and KTOO report that the former Republican State Senator from Wasilla – who pledged to cut government and restore full permanent fund dividends – says his message resonated with Alaskans.
“I think it’s a message that we can develop our resources. that we don’t have to default to taxes or Permanent Fund until we get our fiscal house in order, that we need to create jobs,” the governor-elect said after his decisive win. “Y’know, I’m not going to celebrate, for example, the expansion of welfare programs. I’m going to celebrate the creation of jobs for the state of Alaska.”
Dunleavy bested Democrat Mark Begich, who reflected on the unusual nature of this year’s race that included independent incumbent Gov. Bill Walker dropping out last month.
“I think this has been a totally unusual campaign – hard to understand what was going to happen every day. A lot of changes as we moved through it,” Begich said. “But, really, I think we’ve done a great campaign, because we brought a lot of people together that had not been together for a long time.”
Dunleavy leads Begich by about 8 percentage points, 52 percent to 44 percent of the vote, respectively, with 98 percent of precincts reporting. Incumbent and independent Gov. Bill Walker and Libertarian Billy Toien each won 2 percent.
Dunleavy says he will immediately begin building his administration. He officially takes over as governor Dec. 1.
Young re-elected, again
Alaska Congressman Don Young has won a 23rd term over challenger Alyse Galvin. Alaska Public Media reports that the 85-year-old Young chalked up the victory to two factors.
“It’s God's will and the people of Alaska that support me,” Young said. “If they do we win, if they don't I don't win.”
Galvin also addressed supporters last night, wishing Young well and thanking supporters.
“This is not the outcome that we wanted or that we worked so hard for,” she said, “and I am disappointed that we did not win this election, for the values that we share and the vision that we hold for our state. But I do not have words enough to express the deep gratitude I have standing before you know.”
Galvin, a first-time political candidate who waged a strong campaign, meets the same fate as 20 previous Democratic nominees who have unsuccessfully challenged Young, stretching back to 1973.
Stand for Salmon decisively defeated
Alaska voters on Tuesday soundly defeated Ballot Measure 1, the ballot proposition aimed increasing protection of wild salmon habitat.
The Alaska Energy desk reports that the measure commonly known as the Stand for Salmon initiative, the measure would have significantly toughened the environmental permitting process for mines, dams and oil developments in salmon habitat.
The initiative faced strong resistance from the resource industry, Alaska Native corporations, unions and other groups. Opponents said it would hinder resource development in the state.
The campaign against the initiative raised over $12 million, far outstripping the initiative’s supporters, who raised over $2 million.