Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy has made it official; he is endorsing Donald Trump for a second term as President.
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is endorsing Donald Trump, giving the former president the support of a governor whose state is expected to hold its nominating contest on the all-important “Super Tuesday” primary date.
The endorsement comes as Trump expands his broad lead in support from Republican governors and federal lawmakers over his rivals in the GOP presidential primary. With Dunleavy’s backing, Trump has earned the support of three of the five Republican governors who have endorsed in the race. Trump has also received the support of over 80 members of Congress, more than 16 times the amount of his nearest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump and Dunleavy have allied before:
Trump’s relationship with Dunleavy stretches back to 2018, when he endorsed his first race for governor. Trump endorsed Dunleavy again in 2019, when the governor was facing a recall attempt, and again in 2022, when Dunleavy was up for reelection. Trump’s campaign plans to release a video on Tuesday thanking Dunleavy for his backing.
While Alaska is a reliably red state in Presidential politics, having gone for Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 52.8 percent to 42.8 percent in the 2020 election, Governor Dunleavy is popular here as well, with a 62 percent approval rating among Alaskans in a recent Morning Consult poll, and his word will doubtless carry some weight.
Alaska is an odd place, politically, in many ways. Like many red states, there are urban centers like Anchorage and Juneau, that tend to vote Democrat, balanced by small towns and rural communities that tend to vote Republican. In Alaska, our own Matanuska-Susitna Borough makes a pretty effective red counterweight to the blue Anchorage bowl and the state capital. But the red areas in Alaska also have a strong libertarian streak. Lots of people, especially those of us who live out in the Borough, choose to live in Alaska because we want to be left alone and get along with minimal government interference. A candidate who understands this can gain an edge here.
But this year, in the Presidential race, there is another factor: Ranked-choice voting (RCV). This is Alaska’s first Presidential election under this system. Alaska will hold its primaries in segments, which is a matter of some concern since Alaska is an in-person voting state. According to Ballotpedia (the Alaska Division of Elections has not yet posted official dates for 2024), there will be a primary election on August 20, 2024, a “Democrat Party-administered presidential preference primary” on April 6th, 2024, and a “Republican Party-administered presidential preference primary” on August 22, 2024, before the general election on November 5th.
Yes, that is confusing; this is what ranked-choice voting has wrought.
With RCV, the primary isn’t really a primary, so a heavy weight falls on the general election. If Donald Trump, with the weight of Governor Dunleavy’s endorsement, can capture enough first- and second-choice votes in the general election, he should wrap up Alaska’s Electoral College votes pretty easily. Don’t expect to see Trump, or indeed any of the candidates, spending much (if any) time campaigning here; Alaska only has 3 Electoral votes to offer. The Great Land will almost certainly go for the GOP in the general election, as it has in every election since statehood, the sole exception being 1964.
There have not, as yet, been a lot of endorsements from GOP Governors.
…Of the 26 GOP governors, only five have weighed in. (Two, DeSantis and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, are running.) Trump has received the support of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, and Dunleavy. DeSantis has the backing of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, and former Vice President Mike Pence has the support of his home state governor, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb.
It’s early. It’s unlikely we’ll see too many endorsements until the primaries start. But it’s an odd sort of election cycle; we may well be surprised.