August 21 Primary Recap

Opting out of yesterday’s primary, Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I) will face off against former State Senator Mike Dunleavy (R) and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D) in November.

Dunleavy (R) defeated former Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (R), and five lower tier opponents, in the Republican gubernatorial primary. He made public safety his top priority during the primary and has railed against SB91 – the state’s criminal justice reform package passed in 2016. He gained notoriety while in the State Senate when he left the Republican majority caucus citing disagreements in budget negotiations. Instead of reducing the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), he offered more cuts to executive agencies that neither his party nor Governor Walker wanted.

Entering the race at the last minute, Begich (D) did not have a Democratic primary opponent. The former Anchorage Mayor has also been campaigning on law and order issues vowing to invest more in local police forces, expanding treatment for opioid addiction, and filling vacant public safety positions at the state level. He is also against the cuts made to the PFD.

Some analysts believe Republicans will pick up the Governor’s Mansion as votes will likely be split between Governor Walker and Begich. If a “unity ticket” of the Governor and Begich materializes, it could likely tip the race in the opposite direction. It should be noted that candidates have until September 4 to withdraw from the general election ballot.

Wyoming voters chose State Treasurer Mark Gordon (R) to succeed term-limited Governor Matt Mead (R) over his five challengers – including self-funded, Republican mega-donor Foster Friess who secured the President’s endorsement – in the Republican primary. Throughout the primary, his campaign focused on his experience of managing the Treasury. Gordon has vowed to reduce the size of government and decrease spending. He will face former Democratic House leader Mary Throne in November before moving into the Governor’s Mansion in January.