Mike Dunleavy (politician)

Last updated


Mike Dunleavy
Mike Dunleavy official photo.jpg
12th Governor of Alaska
Assumed office
December 3, 2018
Lieutenant Kevin Meyer
Preceded by Bill Walker
Member of the Alaska Senate
In office
January 15, 2013 January 15, 2018
Preceded by Redistricted
Succeeded by Mike Shower
ConstituencyDistrict D (2013–2015)
District E (2015–2018)
Personal details
Michael James Dunleavy

(1961-05-05) May 5, 1961 (age 60)
Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)Rose Newlin
Residence Governor's Mansion
Education Misericordia University (BA)
University of Alaska Fairbanks (MEd)

Michael James Dunleavy (born May 5, 1961) is an American educator and politician serving as the 12th governor of Alaska. Dunleavy was a Republican member of the Alaska Senate from 2013 to 2018. He defeated former Democratic United States senator Mark Begich in the 2018 gubernatorial election after incumbent governor Bill Walker dropped out of the race.

Early life and education

Dunleavy is from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and is a 1979 graduate of Scranton Central High School. He completed a bachelor's degree in history at Misericordia University in 1983. [1] He earned his master's degree in education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. [2] He moved to Alaska in 1983, and pursued a career as a teacher, school principal and school district superintendent. Prior to his election to the Alaska Senate, Dunleavy served on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Board, including two years as the board's president.

State legislative career

Dunleavy challenged incumbent state senator Linda Menard (redistricted from District G) for the District D August 28, 2012 Republican Primary and won with 2,802 votes (57.42%). [3] He was unopposed in the November 6 general election and won with 11,724 votes (94.24%) against write-in candidates. [4]

Governor of Alaska


In 2017, Dunleavy announced he would run for governor in 2018 but abandoned the race in September 2017, citing heart problems. [5] In December 2017 he announced his return to the race. [6] He resigned his senate seat effective January 15, 2018, to focus on his campaign. [7] Retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel Mike Shower was chosen as his successor by Governor Bill Walker and confirmed by the Alaska Senate caucus after numerous replacement candidates were rejected. [8]


Dunleavy speaking in the governor's office, accompanied by members of his administration, on May 15, 2019. Governor Mike Dunleavy. Juneau, Alaska.jpg
Dunleavy speaking in the governor's office, accompanied by members of his administration, on May 15, 2019.
Dunleavy meeting with residents at a meeting regarding the Deshka Landing Fire in 2019. 2019 08 25-
Dunleavy meeting with residents at a meeting regarding the Deshka Landing Fire in 2019.

Dunleavy and Kevin Meyer were the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor of Alaska, respectively, and were elected in the November 2018 general election. Dunleavy was sworn in on December 3, 2018. He appointed Kevin Clarkson to be Alaska attorney general. [9]

On June 28, 2019, Dunleavy exercised line-item veto authority as governor to make cuts of $433 million, including a cut of $130 million (41%) of state contributions to the University of Alaska. [10]

Also on June 28, 2019, Dunleavy vetoed $335,000 from the budget of the Alaska Supreme Court, stating that he did so because the Court had held that the state was constitutionally required to provide public funding for elective abortions. [11]

In September 2020, Dunleavy agreed to reimburse the state $2,800 for allegedly partisan advertisements that were paid for with state funds. Dunleavy did not admit to wrongdoing, but stated that it was in the best interest of the state to resolve the allegations. [12]

Recall attempt

On July 15, 2019, an effort to recall Dunleavy began following a public backlash over his cuts to public assistance, education and the University of Alaska ($135 million cut to state funding, about a 41% reduction). [13] To have the petition certified by the Division of Elections, the petitioners were required to submit 28,501 signatures (approximately 10% of the voting population in Alaska's last general election). [14] On September 5, 2019, volunteers submitted 49,006 petition signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections for certification. [15] On November 4, 2019, the Division of Elections declined to certify the recall petition following the issuance of a legal opinion by Alaska attorney general Kevin Clarkson. Clarkson acknowledged that the petitioners had submitted sufficient signatures and paid the necessary fees, but asserted that "the four allegations against the governor 'fail to meet any of the listed grounds for recall—neglect of duty, incompetence, or lack of fitness'". The petitioners stated that they would appeal the division's decision. [16]

In January 2020, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth rejected the division's decision not to certify the recall petition. The state appealed Aarseth's ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court, which on May 8 affirmed that the recall effort could go forward. [17] [18] The "Recall Dunleavy" effort failed to submit sufficient signatures to trigger a recall election in November 2020 but said it planned to continue gathering signatures in the hope of holding a recall election in 2021. [19]

Electoral history

Republican primary results [20]
Republican Mike Dunleavy 43,802 61.5
Republican Mead Treadwell 22,78032.0
Republican Michael Sheldon1,6402.3
Republican Merica Hlatcu1,0641.5
Republican Thomas Gordon8841.4
Republican Gerald Heikes4990.7
Republican Darin Colbry4160.6
Total votes71,195 100.0
2018 Alaska gubernatorial election [21]
Republican Mike Dunleavy 145,631 51.44% +5.56%
Democratic Mark Begich 125,73944.41%+44.41%
Independent Bill Walker (inc.) (withdrawn)5,7572.03%-46.07%
Libertarian William Toien5,4021.91%-1.30%
n/a Write-ins6050.21%-0.11%
Total votes'283,134''100.0%'N/A
Republican gain from Independent

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  1. Hiller, Mark (November 9, 2018). "Alaska Governor-Elect is NEPA native". Pahomepage.com. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  2. "Senator Mike Dunleavy's Biography". Project Vote Smart . Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  3. "State of Alaska 2012 Primary Election August 28, 2012 Official Results". Juneau, Alaska: State of Alaska Division of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  4. "State of Alaska 2012 General Election November 6, 2012 Official Results". Juneau, Alaska: State of Alaska Division of Elections. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
  5. Dunleavy suspends campaign for Alaska governor as Huggins files to run, Alaska Dispatch News , Nathaniel Herz, September 12, 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  6. Denleavy back in race for governor, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman , December 22, 2017.
  7. State senator Mike Dunleavy resigns from Legislature to boost gubernatorial run, Juneau Empire , James Brooks, January 9, 2018.
  8. Mike Shower confirmed to Dunleavy Senate seat, Alaska Public Media , Phillip Manning, February 22, 2018. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  9. "Dunleavy attorney general appointee Kevin Clarkson is lawyer with ties to religious-liberty causes". Anchorage Daily News . December 5, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  10. "University of Alaska president: Dunleavy veto is unprecedented and 'devastating'". Anchorage Daily News. June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 29, 2019.
  11. Herz, Nathaniel; Anchorage, Alaska's Energy Desk (June 29, 2019). "Alaska Gov. Dunleavy wields veto pen to attack state Supreme Court over abortion ruling". Alaska Public Media. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  12. "Dunleavy to Pay $2,800 After Ads Found to Violate Ethics Law". www.usnews.com. September 8, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  13. "Alaska university head offers positive outlook in address". AP NEWS. March 2, 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2020.
  14. Minemyer, Derek (August 12, 2019). "Alaskans mount effort to recall governor as huge budget cuts threaten education, Medicaid". nbcnews.com. NBC News. Retrieved August 12, 2019.
  15. "Recall Dunleavy campaign turns in 49,000 signatures collected in 5 weeks". Anchorage Daily News. September 5, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  16. "Alaska Division of Elections rejects recall petition for Gov. Dunleavy". Anchorage Daily News. November 4, 2019.
  17. Beran, Jaclyn (May 12, 2020). "Alaska Supreme Court rules Gov. Mike Dunleavy recall can proceed". Ballotpedia News. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  18. Bohrer, Becky (May 8, 2020). "Alaska Supreme Court: Recall effort can proceed". Juneau Empire. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  19. "Recall Dunleavy effort misses deadline to appear in general election - Alaska Public Media". Alaskapublic.org. August 4, 2020. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  20. "GEMS ELECTION RESULTS". www.elections.alaska.gov.
  21. "Election results" (PDF). www.elections.alaska.gov. 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
Alaska Senate
Preceded by
Joe Thomas
Member of the Alaska Senate
from D district

Succeeded by
Charlie Huggins
Preceded by
Charlie Huggins
Member of the Alaska Senate
from E district

Succeeded by
Mike Shower
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sean Parnell
Republican nominee for Governor of Alaska
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Walker
Governor of Alaska
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kamala Harris
as Vice President
Order of precedence of the United States
Within Alaska
Succeeded by
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Succeeded by
Otherwise Nancy Pelosi
as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Doug Ducey
as Governor of Arizona
Order of precedence of the United States
Outside Alaska
Succeeded by
David Ige
as Governor of Hawaii