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(ANCHORAGE, AK) – In a stunning upset on Saturday, Scott Hawkins surged to the lead in the Governor’s race at the Alaska Republican Party convention in a live poll of delegates, who were asked whether to approve or disapprove of each of the four gubernatorial candidates. Businessman Hawkins received 181 votes of approval, outpolling the runner-up by 8 votes.
“Thank you Alaska Republicans!” declared Hawkins. “Yesterday’s victory is a sign of true momentum for our grassroots campaign to shake up Juneau. Across Alaska, Republicans are enthused by our clear, strong message of conservative change.
“Alaska Republicans believe the state is on the wrong track and are excited by our campaign’s commitment to disrupt the status quo in Juneau. I look forward to taking this message to every corner of Alaska in the coming months,” said Hawkins.
Hawkins also expressed respect for his fellow Republicans in the gubernatorial primary. “All four candidates laid out a vision for the state that is far more promising than what we are seeing from our current governor. Sen. Dunleavy focused on economic turnaround and his background as an Alaska school district administrator, Rep. Chenault emphasized his mix of private sector and public sector experience, and Michael Sheldon of Petersburg shared his conservative personal values. We have a good slate of candidates and I am pleased to have them on the campaign trail with me.”
In contrast, Hawkins expressed disappointment in the state’s largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, for its superficial coverage of the convention. “Rather than focus on Republican unity and the substantive policy visions the four of us set forth, the Daily News chose to emphasize the humorous antics of its new owner, John Binkley, in order to draw attention to the fact that he still may enter the race.”
Hawkins said he does not believe that family patriarch John Binkley ordered the coverage, but rather, that ADN editors exercised poor, and perhaps biased, news judgment. “This story should never have been about who else ‘might’ enter the race, it should have been about those who have already declared their candidacies, traveled throughout Alaska for the past six months, and stood up in front of Republican delegates to share their visions for this great state.”
The Alaska Republican Party convention straw poll asked delegates to vote YES or NO on whether a candidate should receive the support of the party moving into the 2018 Republican primary. The minimum threshold for party support was 35%.