|12th Governor of Alaska|
|Assumed office |
December 3, 2018
|Preceded by||Bill Walker|
|Member of the Alaska Senate|
January 15, 2013 – January 15, 2018
|Succeeded by||Mike Shower|
|Constituency||District D (2013–2015)|
District E (2015–2018)
Michael James Dunleavy
May 5, 1961
Scranton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||Misericordia University (BA)|
University of Alaska Fairbanks (MEd)
Michael James Dunleavy (born May 5, 1961) is an American educator and politician serving as the 12th governor of Alaska. Dunleavy was a Republican member of the Alaska Senate from 2013 to 2018. He defeated former Democratic United States senator Mark Begich in the 2018 gubernatorial election after incumbent governor Bill Walker dropped out of the race.
Dunleavy is from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and is a 1979 graduate of Scranton Central High School. He completed a bachelor's degree in history at Misericordia University in 1983. He earned his master's degree in education from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He moved to Alaska in 1983, and pursued a career as a teacher, school principal and school district superintendent. Prior to his election to the Alaska Senate, Dunleavy served on the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Board, including two years as the board's president.
Dunleavy challenged incumbent state senator Linda Menard (redistricted from District G) for the District D August 28, 2012 Republican Primary and won with 2,802 votes (57.42%). He was unopposed in the November 6 general election and won with 11,724 votes (94.24%) against write-in candidates.
Main article: 2018 Alaska gubernatorial election
In 2017, Dunleavy announced he would run for governor in 2018 but abandoned the race in September 2017, citing heart problems. In December 2017 he announced his return to the race. He resigned his senate seat effective January 15, 2018, to focus on his campaign. Retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel Mike Shower was chosen as his successor by Governor Bill Walker and confirmed by the Alaska Senate caucus after numerous replacement candidates were rejected.
Dunleavy and Kevin Meyer were the Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor of Alaska, respectively, and were elected in the November 2018 general election. Dunleavy was sworn in on December 3, 2018. He appointed Kevin Clarkson to be Alaska attorney general.
On June 28, 2019, Dunleavy exercised line-item veto authority as governor to make cuts of $433 million, including a cut of $130 million (41%) of state contributions to the University of Alaska.
Also on June 28, 2019, Dunleavy vetoed $335,000 from the budget of the Alaska Supreme Court, stating that he did so because the Court had held that the state was constitutionally required to provide public funding for elective abortions.
In September 2020, Dunleavy agreed to reimburse the state $2,800 for allegedly partisan advertisements that were paid for with state funds. Dunleavy did not admit to wrongdoing, but stated that it was in the best interest of the state to resolve the allegations.
Main article: Gubernatorial recall effort against Mike Dunleavy
On July 15, 2019, an effort to recall Dunleavy began following a public backlash over his cuts to public assistance, education and the University of Alaska ($135 million cut to state funding, about a 41% reduction). To have the petition certified by the Division of Elections, the petitioners were required to submit 28,501 signatures (approximately 10% of the voting population in Alaska's last general election). On September 5, 2019, volunteers submitted 49,006 petition signatures to the Alaska Division of Elections for certification. On November 4, 2019, the Division of Elections declined to certify the recall petition following the issuance of a legal opinion by Alaska attorney general Kevin Clarkson. Clarkson acknowledged that the petitioners had submitted sufficient signatures and paid the necessary fees, but asserted that "the four allegations against the governor 'fail to meet any of the listed grounds for recall—neglect of duty, incompetence, or lack of fitness'". The petitioners stated that they would appeal the division's decision.
In January 2020, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Eric Aarseth rejected the division's decision not to certify the recall petition. The state appealed Aarseth's ruling to the Alaska Supreme Court, which on May 8 affirmed that the recall effort could go forward. The "Recall Dunleavy" effort failed to submit sufficient signatures to trigger a recall election in November 2020 but said it planned to continue gathering signatures in the hope of holding a recall election in 2021.
|Independent||Bill Walker (inc.) (withdrawn)||5,757||2.03%||-46.07%|
|Republican gain from Independent|