Alaska Gov. Dunleavy still on track to secure another term with more ballots counted

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy during the Alaska Federation of Natives candidate forum in Anchorage. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

Incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is holding on to his sizeable lead in Alaska’s governor race. The Division of Elections added an additional 27,000 ballots to the tally Tuesday. Dunleavy’s share dropped one point from 52.1% to 51%.

If Dunleavy’s share of the vote remains over 50%, he will win a second term outright, with no need for ranked choice tabulations. 

Dunleavy led with over half the votes since election night on Nov. 8. Analysts and even one of his opponents, Democrat Les Gara, have said they think it’s likely Dunleavy has won the race. 

“Truthfully, as much as I’d like to fix this education crisis and appoint judges who will respect our pro-choice case law to protect a woman’s right to choose, it doesn’t look likely we’re going to pick up the points that we need to change the outcome at this point,” Gara said Tuesday evening.

Dunleavy campaign spokesperson Andrew Jensen wrote in a text Tuesday evening that the governor’s team is “pleased with the results so far” and looks forward to building on the last four years.

Gara follows Dunleavy in the vote count with 23%. Independent Bill Walker has 20% and Republican Charlie Pierce has less than 5%. 

Dunleavy gained significant support in the November general election, compared to the August primary, where he captured just 40% of the vote. Last week, political consultant Jim Lottsfeldt said that Dunleavy, along with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka appeared to be overperforming compared to their primary outcomes.

“Turnout is everything. And maybe there was a little bit more of a conservative turnout than a progressive turnout. We’ll all be dissecting it in the days to come,” Lottsfeldt said.

Gara did about the same in both the primary and general and Walker slipped a few percentage points back. Following the primary, both acknowledged that they needed each other’s second-choice votes to carve out a victory. They generally spent the election season criticizing Dunleavy’s performance in office and sparse appearances on the campaign trail. In the final push before Election Day, Gara and Walker released a joint ad featuring their picks for lieutenant governor urging voters to rank each other’s team second. 

The Division of Elections is still counting absentee and overseas ballots. The deadline to receive them is Nov. 18. The division’s target date to certify the election is Nov. 29.

Related stories:

Tshibaka holds her slim lead in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race

Here are the latest vote tallies in Alaska’s first ranked choice general election

Palin and Tshibaka are on track to lose but hint at election battles ahead

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media’s climate change reporter. Reach her at Read more about Kavitha here.

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