Gov. Mike Dunleavy filed with the state on Aug. 13 to run for reelection. He was first elected governor of Alaska in 2018 and his current term ends on Dec. 5, 2022.
During his first two and a half years Dunleavy has faced a litany of challenges, including a State Legislature that has been intent on thwarting his ability to deliver on a campaign promise to pay out a full PFD to all eligible Alaskans. Dunleavy has also attempted to make substantial cuts the state budget, but has received enormous pushback from both the Legislature and his political opponents.
On the federal level he is dealing with a Biden Administration intent on locking up Alaska’s timber and oil and gas industry.
Social conservatives have also been disappointed with the governor’s decision to abide by Alaska Supreme Court opinions stating that he must underwrite elective abortions through the state-funded portion of Medicaid, even though the Legislature has explicitly withheld money for these procedures.
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Most recently Dunleavy has come under fire for settling out of court and agreeing to use public funds to pay for transgender surgeries, even for minors. Initially his administration fought this in federal court, but ultimately dropped the case.
With regard to COVID, the governor was tasked with dealing with an unknown virus just two years into his administration. He has received praise for largely refusing to mandate masks, vaccines or government shutdowns on the state level. Instead, he left those decisions to local communities. Many conservatives, however, claim he should have done more to apply political pressure on cities, such as Anchorage, to ease crippling shutdowns on businesses and churches.
In addition to social and fiscal challenges, Dunleavy also faces an ongoing effort from left-leaning activists to remove him through a statewide recall effort.
Before becoming governor, Dunleavy served as a state senator from Wasilla. Elected to the Senate in 2012, after defeating Linda Menard, he stepped down in 2018 to run for governor.
The next primary election will be held on August 16, 2022. The general election occurs on Nov. 8, 2022.