Former Sen. Charlie Huggins suspends campaign for governor

Sen. Charlie Huggins (Photo by Alaska Senate Majority/Flickr)

Republican Charlie Huggins has suspended his campaign for governor, the former Wasilla senator announced on Facebook Wednesday night.

Huggins said he entered the race confident he could pull out a win for the nomination, but said things have changed since then.

“When I started my campaign, I saw a clear road to victory,” he said. “However, this potentially could be the most expensive race in Alaska history. After much prayer and deliberation, Becky and I have decided suspending the campaign is the right thing to do for our family and our state.”

Huggins has also been dragged into the Legislature’s discussion around its handling of harassment and sexual harassment. In a bombshell public disclosure last week, Rep. Tammie Wilson said she had been bullied at the hands of a senator and when she brought it to Huggins, who was Rules Chair at the time, she was told to “Just avoid him.”

Why this matters

Huggins’ reference to the “most expensive race in Alaska history” is probably a bit of hyperbole, but it suggests the first few months of Huggins’ campaign haven’t been coming along like he hoped.

We’ve also heard that some Republican candidates, including Huggins, have been having trouble with fundraising. It’s likely a result of the crowded, unsettled field of Republican candidates. There’s little interest in putting big money behind any one candidate, let alone funding a competitive and potentially damaging Republican primary.

The move will help consolidate the conservative Mat-Su area vote around former Sen. Mike Dunleavy, who relaunched his campaign right before the end of 2017. Dunleavy resigned from the Legislature shortly after reentering the race, which will allow him to fundraise and campaign throughout this year’s legislative session. There are rumors Dunleavy’s carrying some big, potentially Outside financial backing into the race and isn’t shy about letting other competitors know it.

Dunleavy was also quick to praise Huggins’ work as a legislator through a statement released by his campaign on Friday morning.

“Alaska’s best days are ahead, and I have great optimism. More than anything today, however, I just want to thank Charlie and his beautiful family for their service and commitment to our country, and to our state,” he said. “Charlie Huggins is truly a great American. I am honored to know him, and blessed to call him friend.”

Press release

Mike Dunleavy Comments on Charlie Huggins Suspending Gubernatorial Campaign

ANCHORAGE, January 18, 2018 — Mike Dunleavy today commented on the statement released by Charlie Huggins in which he suspends his gubernatorial campaign.

“Along with the rest of Alaska, I learned last evening, that my friend Charlie Huggins has decided to suspend his campaign for Governor.  Charlie is a leader, a man of God, of country, and of family. I am honored to have served the people of Alaska alongside him.”

“Charlie and I spoke via phone last night, and I look forward to sitting down together and talking more with him as the campaign moves forward.”

“I fully agree with Charlie that Alaska’s best days are ahead, and I understand and respect the strength and courage it takes to make difficult decisions like this, made in the best interest of Alaska and for Alaskans.  Along with Charlie, I know without question that Alaska absolutely must elect a new Governor.”

“There is much at stake for our great state and this election is critical.  The path forward starts this year, with a new leader who will listen to Alaskans and take immediate action to improve public safety, cut the size and scope of state government, and protect the Permanent Fund and PFD.”

“Alaska’s best days are ahead, and I have great optimism. More than anything today, however, I just want to thank Charlie and his beautiful family for their service and commitment to our country, and to our state.  Charlie Huggins is truly a great American.  I am honored to know him, and blessed to call him friend.”

 

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