Alaska’s former Republican Gov. Sean Parnell has endorsed former Republican state Sen. Mike Dunleavy for governor, snubbing his former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell who’s also running for the nomination.
The announcement was made by Dunleavy for Alaska, an independent expenditure campaign that’s largely bankrolled by Dunleavy’s wealthy brother Francis Dunleavy, on Facebook Tuesday.
The post quotes Parnell’s support for Dunleavy as:
“We need a governor who will once again look out for Alaskans’ interests, make us safer, create opportunity, and be a governor who will create a climate for more Alaska jobs,” said Parnell. “Mike Dunleavy will be that governor.”
He also pumped up Dunleavy’s time in the Legislature, during which Dunleavy pushed hard for a constitutional amendment that would permit the state to institute a school voucher system.
“When Mike Dunleavy tells you something, you can believe it. He doesn’t tell you one thing in a campaign and do another. Mike Dunleavy puts every Alaskan first. That’s why I’m voting for him,” Parnell’s quoted as saying.
Dunleavy is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, which would set him up for a three-way race against Democrat Mark Begich and independent Gov. Bill Walker. Walker beat Parnell in 2014 after the merger of his campaign with Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott’s Democratic gubernatorial campaign.
The announcement comes on the same day that Treadwell held a curious press conference where he announced that he would be answering the “Dunleavy challenge” to compare the two men’s records. The delayed news conference in Anchorage essentially sought to compare Treadwell’s record in private business favorably to Dunleavy’s, and coincided with the launch of a comparison between the two candidates on Treadwell’s campaign site, but didn’t drop any bombshells on the race.
Treadwell has been attempting to court establishment Republicans who have been skeptical of or outright opposed to Dunleavy’s far-right politics out of concern that his pro-PFD, pro-cuts approach would destabilize the state’s financial picture further. Still, it’s been a difficult, uphill battle for Treadwell whose late entry puts him well behind in the polling against Dunleavy.