Eleven candidates running in top-four primary for Governor of Alaska on Aug. 16

Eleven candidates are running in a top-four primary for governor of Alaska on August 16, 2022. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) is running for re-election. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) is not running for re-election. In Alaska, candidates for both positions run on a joint ticket.

This is the first use of the top-four primary system for governor of Alaska since voters approved its use in November 2020. All candidates, regardless of party affiliation, run in a single primary. The four candidates to receive the most votes will advance to the general election. The four-candidate general election will use ranked-choice voting.

The eleven candidates include six Republicans, one Democrat, one Libertarian, and three independents. Among them are:

  • Dunleavy, who was first elected in 2018;
  • Les Gara (D), a former state legislator;
  • Charlie Pierce (R), who was co-endorsed with Dunleavy by the Republican Party of Alaska; 
  • and former Gov. Bill Walker (I), who served from 2014 to 2018. 

Also running in the primary are Jim Cottrell (R), David Haeg (R), John Howe (Alaskan Independence), Christopher Kurka (R), William Nemec II (I), William Toien (L), and Bruce Walden (R).

Three race forecasting outlets rate the general election as Likely or Solid Republican. In the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump (R) received 52.8% of the vote in Alaska, while Joe Biden (D) received 42.8%. 

According to the Associated Press, no Alaska governor has won re-election since Tony Knowles (D) in 1998. Sean Parnell (R), who became governor in 2009 following the resignation of Sarah Palin (R), won a full term in 2010 but lost his re-election bid in 2014.