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Alaska Ballot:Governor, US House Spots 08/21 08:55

   ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Primaries for governor and U.S. House top the 
ticket in Alaska Tuesday.

   Voters will choose a Republican nominee to advance to what is expected to be 
a hard-fought battle for governor this fall. They'll also choose the latest 
contender to try to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Don Young, the longest-serving 
member of the U.S. House.

   Former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell are the 
highest-profile candidates seeking the GOP nod for governor, with the winner 
advancing to November's general election.

   Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, skipped Tuesday's primaries, while former 
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Libertarian 
William "Billy" Toien also is running.

   In the Democratic U.S. House primary, independent Alyse Galvin and Democrat 
Dimitri Shein are among those vying for a shot to challenge Young, 85, who has 
served in the House for 45 years and is expected to win his primary.

   The Alaska Democratic party changed its rules to let independents run in its 
primaries if they want the party's backing.

   Party primaries determine who runs as a ticket in November. Candidates who 
bypass the primaries and instead gather signatures to appear on the general 
election ballot --- as Walker opted to do --- have a say in their running mates.

   Walker flirted with running in the Democratic primary but decided not to 
when it appeared that Begich would run. Walker wanted to run with Lt. Gov. 
Byron Mallott, a Democrat. Walker changed his party affiliation from Republican 
to undeclared in 2014 in forming a so-called unity ticket with Mallott, which 
was backed by Democrats.

   The next governor will face big issues, including crime and the economy, and 
decisions on the annual check that Alaskans receive from the state's oil-wealth 
fund, the Alaska Permanent Fund.

   Dunleavy and Treadwell have positioned themselves as conservatives critical 
of a 2016 criminal justice overhaul and the state's approach to budgeting. Both 
support the formula in state law for calculating the oil-wealth check, which 
has been ignored, first by the governor and then by legislators, for the past 
three years amid a budget deficit.

   Dunleavy, a former educator, left the Senate in January after five years to 
focus on the campaign. Treadwell, who was lieutenant governor under Parnell 
from 2010-2014 and most recently worked for a private equity firm, has cast 
himself as more experienced.

   Of the candidates in the Democratic U.S. House race, Galvin, an education 
advocate, and Shein, a Russian immigrant who became involved in politics after 
President Donald Trump's election, have most actively campaigned.

   Shein has pushed for Medicare for all. Galvin said she supports 
comprehensive health care for all Alaskans but says steps can be taken to 
improve the existing system in the meantime.

   Shein said Galvin's ties to the oil and gas industry bother him; Galvin's 
husband is an executive with a petroleum company. Galvin said she's her own 
person.

   The Democratic U.S. House primary also includes independent Christopher 
Cumings and Democrat Carol Hafner, who has never lived in or visited Alaska.

   Young faces a primary challenge from Thomas "John" Nelson and Jed Whittaker, 
who have limited resources and little name recognition. The primaries also 
include a contested GOP race for lieutenant governor and state legislative 
races.


(KA)

 
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