Trump Gains Major Endorsement From Alaska Governor Dunleavy

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Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy made it official. He is supporting Donald Trump for a 2nd term as president.

Since Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has endorsed Donald Trump, it gives the former president backing from the governor whose state will hold its primary on “Super Tuesday”, the most important date for the nomination contest.

Trump’s endorsement comes at a time when he is gaining traction among Republican federal legislators and governors. Dunleavy has backed Trump, allowing him to gain the support of three out of five Republican governors in the race. Trump also has the backing of more than 80 members of Congress. This is 16 times as many as his closest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Trump and Dunleavy were previously allies:

Trump’s relationship with Dunleavy dates back to 2018 when he supported his first campaign for governor. Trump supported Dunleavy in 2019 when the Governor was facing a recall effort, and again in 2022 when Dunleavy faced re-election. Trump’s campaign will release a video Tuesday to thank Dunleavy.

Alaskans voted for Donald Trump in the presidential election of 2020 by a margin of 52.8 percent over Joe Biden. Governor Dunleavy, however, is also popular in Alaska, with a recent Morning Consult survey showing a 62-percent approval rating. His word is likely to be taken seriously.

Alaska is a strange place politically in many ways. As in many red states, there are large urban centers such as Anchorage and Juneau that tend to vote Democrat. These are balanced by smaller towns and rural communities which tend to vote Republican. Matanuska Susitna Borough, in Alaska, is a good red counterweight for the blue Anchorage Bowl and the capital. The red areas of Alaska are also libertarian. Many people, including those who live in the Borough, chose to live in Alaska to avoid government interference and be left alone. A candidate who knows this will have an advantage.

This year there’s another factor in the race for President: Ranked-choice Voting (RCV). Alaska is holding its first Presidential elections under this system. Alaska will be holding its primaries in sections, which can cause some concern because Alaska is an in-person voting state. Ballotpedia reports that the Alaska Division of Elections (which has yet to announce official dates for 2024) will hold a primary on August 20, 2024. This will be followed by a “Democrat Party administered presidential preference primaries” on April 6, 2024, and a Republican Party administered presidential preference primaries on August 22, before the general election on November 5th.

This is the result of a ranked-choice vote.

With RCV, the primary isn’t 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.

As yet, there haven’t been many endorsements by GOP Governors.

Only five governors have weighed in so far. (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.