Alaska and Wyoming voters selected their Republican and Democratic nominations for governor on Tuesday. On the GOP side, former Alaska State Senator Mike Dunleavy clinched his party’s nomination with more than 60 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, in the Wyoming party primary, State Treasurer Mark Gordon bested three other candidates and took the nomination with 33 percent of the vote. In the Democratic race, former State Senate Leader Mary Throne took nearly three quarters of the party vote, but faces a tough path to the governor’s seat in a deeply conservative state.
In Alaska, former U.S. Senator Mark Begich secured the Democratic nomination uncontested. Both Begich and Dunleavy will look to unseat incumbent Gov. Bill Walker, an independent looking to secure a second term. Unfortunately, Walker has one of the lowest approval ratings (29 percent) of any governor.
In the Wyoming GOP primary, Gordon over came wealthy GOP donor Foster Friess by campaigning as an experienced politician with local roots and a strong financial acumen. Ultimately, it was enough to overcome Friess’ deep pockets and an endorsement from President Donald Trump.
With three credible candidates vying for Alaska’s executive office, it could become one of the most interesting races in 2018. Walker has positioned himself as a centrist after expanding Medicare, while Begich has criticized him for cutting into the state’s economic welfare program. Both will likely steal votes from each other, which would carve a path for Dunleavy. Rumors have swirled that Begich or Walker may drop out to avoid this scenario.
The Cook Political Report has categorized the 2018 Alaskan governor’s race as a ‘toss-up,’ while Inside Elections has the race titling toward Republicans. Both publications have labeled the race as ‘solid Republican’ in Wyoming.