Clearing the Field
For the first time in party history, only one Alaska Democrat appeared on the gubernatorial primary ballot. Despite a late entrance into the 2018 race, former U.S. Senator Mark Begich ran unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination while seven Republicans – second most in party history (1986, nine) – duked it out for the GOP nod. Prior to 2018, an average of 3.2 Democrats ran for governor of Alaska each cycle with a high water mark of six candidates in 1982 (won by Bill Sheffield). This cycle marked just the second time a major party nominee ran unopposed in an Alaska gubernatorial primary. Republican John Butrovich did not face a challenger in the state’s first primary for governor in 1958.
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