1978 Alaska gubernatorial election

← 1974 November 7, 1978 1982 →
Jay Hammond 1975.jpg
Nominee Jay Hammond Wally Hickel
Party Republican Write-In
Running mate Terry Miller None
Popular vote 49,580 33,555
Percentage 39.1% 26.4%

Chancy Croft.jpg
No image.svg
Nominee Chancy Croft Tom Kelly
Party Democratic Independent
Running mate Katie Hurley Kathryn Poland
Popular vote 25,656 15,656
Percentage 20.2% 12.3%

Governor before election

Jay Hammond

Elected Governor

Jay Hammond

The 1978 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 7, 1978, for the post of governor of Alaska. Republican incumbent Jay Hammond defeated four opponents: former Governor of Alaska and write-in candidate Wally Hickel, Alaska Senator and Democratic nominee Chancy Croft, former Commissioner of Natural Resources and Independent candidate Tom Kelly and Alaskan Independence Party nominee Don Wright. After losing to Hammond in the Republican primary, Hickel ran as a write-in candidate and was able to outperform Croft. Republican Tom Fink and Democrat Jay Kerttula also ran in the open primary.

As of 2022, this is the earliest gubernatorial election in Alaska in which at least one candidate, Chancy Croft, is still living, and the last time an incumbent Republican governor was successfully re-elected for a second term.


Open Primary Result[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jay Hammond 31,921 30.01%
Republican Wally Hickel 31,823 29.92%
Republican Tom Fink 17,487 16.44%
Democratic Chancy Croft 8,910 8.38%
Democratic Edward A. Merdes 8,655 8.14%
Democratic Jay Kerttula 7,125 6.70%
Republican Jimmie D. Lockhart 451 0.42%
Turnout 106,372

1978 Alaska gubernatorial election[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Jay Hammond (inc.) 49,580 39.07%
Write-In Wally Hickel (write-in) 33,555 26.44%
Democratic Chancy Croft 25,656 20.22%
Independent Tom Kelly 15,656 12.34%
Independence Don Wright 2,463 1.94%
Majority 16,025 12.63%
Turnout 126,910
Republican hold Swing


  1. ^ "Our Campaigns - AK Governor - Open Primary Race - Aug 22, 1978".
  2. ^ "1978 Gubernatorial General Election Results – Alaska" (PDF). Alaska Division of Elections. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-12-03. Retrieved 2009-08-31.