It sure looks like Dunleavy is running for U.S. Senate in 2022

Mike Dunleavy and Lisa Murkowski.

Its not a big news story, but it has big implications. Dunleavy’s campaign manager, Brett Huber, is leaving his cushy job in the governor’s office to run a campaign against Ballot Measure 2.

Ballot Measure 2, among other things, opens up the closed Republican primary process, and Governor Dunleavy just sent his top political operative to try to kill it.

Why? It’s my opinion that Dunleavy is looking to jump from Juneau to Washington, D.C., and he really needs a closed Republican primary to have a shot.

Sure, his brother is still rich and generous, but U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski can out-raise him and Francis Dunleavy, especially when it’s U.S. Sen. Dunleavy on the line. There’s a lot in flux right now in the U.S. Senate but Murkowski could be in line for the chair of Appropriations if Sen. Susan Collins loses, and the Senator is now trailing her Democratic opponent.

In his first two years in office, Dunleavy has made plenty of visits to the nation’s capital, escaping the stiff pushback of the recall to the bask in the conservative safe space of national media. He’s been a prop in the president’s regulation-cutting and not-so-quietly ushered through Pebble Mine. At the very least, it looks like Trump’s affection is mutual.

In more serious terms, Dunleavy also has a had a D.C. communications consultant on the state’s payroll despite the state being awash in red ink. Some have wondered if the governor is auditioning for a gig in the Trump administration but it’s looking more likely he’s building the name recognition in far-right circles to go up against the persistently independent Murkowski.

Dunleavy wants to “Joe Miller” Murkowski and he needs that pesky Ballot Measure 2 to fail in order to have his best shot.

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