Former Alaska state Sen. Mike Dunleavy won the Alaskan gubernatorial Republican primary Tuesday evening, setting up a three-way race for the November election.
Dunleavy secured a victory over six other Republican candidates, including former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. He took nearly 62 percent of the vote with approximately 95 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Treadwell scraped up the most votes of Dunleavy’s opponents with nearly 32 percent.
He will face incumbent Independent Gov. Bill Walker and former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November.
Dunleavy was in the Alaska state Senate from 2013 to 2017 and stepped down to focus on his gubernatorial campaign, according to Ballotpedia. He is campaigning with the slogan “Make Alaska Safe Again” because of a rise in crime fueled by the opioid crisis in the state.
Dunleavy has been the primary frontrunner for months and was polling above his Democratic and Independent rivals, according to a poll published July 6. The survey showed that 36 percent of Alaskans support Dunleavy for governor, while Walker polled at 28 percent and Begich polled at 22 percent. Fifteen percent of respondents were “undecided.”
Walker is the only incumbent governor in the U.S. not associated with a major party. Begich’s late decision to run for governor forced Walker to abandon plans to run in the Democratic primary, since he has typically drawn his support more from the left than the right, according to Ballotpedia.
Walker and Begich could split votes in the November general election, resulting in a win for Dunleavy, according to Fox News, or either Walker or Begich could drop out and endorse the other candidate in an attempt to defeat the Republican. (RELATED: Trump Wants Federal Lawsuit Against Opioid Makers As State Suits Pile Up Against Them)
Begich seems to be the stronger opponent of the two, given that Walker is tied for the least popular governor running for reelection in 2018, according to a survey by Morning Consult published July 25. The governor has a 29 percent approval rating.
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