Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced former Department of Corrections Commissioner Nancy Dahlstrom as his pick for Lieutenant Governor in his reelection campaign.
Current Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer announced in December 2021 that he would not be seeking reelection. Dahlstrom was announced as Dunleavy’s new running mate during a news conference at an Anchorage Division of Elections office where the former commissioner filed her paperwork to run for office. Shortly before the news conference was scheduled to begin, DOC sent out a news release announcing Dahlstrom had stepped down as commissioner.
In an interview with the Empire Monday, Dahlstrom said as DOC commissioner she had a good working relationship with Dunleavy, whom she said was deeply dedicated to Alaska.
“I admire that he’s an extremely hard worker,” Dahlstrom said of the governor. “As a commissioner, he empowered me and allowed me to run my department, but then he was there for me.”
Dahlstrom said she was honored and humbled to be chosen. In a news release from his campaign, Dunleavy said Dahlstrom was well-qualified and experienced.
“Alaska has long struggled to address public safety issues — but Nancy and I are committed to continuing to reverse these troubling trends and statistics,” Dunleavy said. “We are seeing progress, but we have more work to do. I am pleased that Nancy is joining the ticket.”
Dahlstrom is originally from Baltimore and holds a master’s degree in organization management and human resources from the University of LaVerne, according to her biography for the Alaska State Legislature, where she served in the House of Representatives from 2003-2010. She currently lives in Eagle River and has lived in Alaska since 1980.
Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor oversees the Division of Elections, and if elected, Dahlstrom said she’d strive to make sure Alaskans believed their vote mattered. Dahlstrom declined to say what changes, if any, she would make to Alaska’s election system but said she looked forward to working with everyone at the division.
“It would be premature to comment on that,” Dahlstrom said. “Any and all situations need to be assessed, I will look at all of the policies and procedures (of the Division). Alaskans need to know that we have fair elections, to know and be assured their ballots are being counted and being handled in an honest way.”
There are currently seven gubernatorial candidates on the Division of Election’s website, not including Dunleavy, who had said he was planning to run but had yet to officially file. Alaska Rep. Chris Kurka, R-Wasilla, is also not listed on DOE’s list of current candidates, though he has declared his candidacy. The deadline to officially file for office is June 1.
Though all Alaska’s candidates for governor are men, several have chosen women as their running mates. Dunleavy’s announcement follows former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, naming Heidi Drygas —also a former state department commissioner — as his running mate; Democrat Les Gara and Jessica Cook; Alaska Independent Party candidate John Wayne Howe and Shellie Wyatt; Republican candidate Charlie Pierce and Edie Grunwald; Libertarian Billy Toien and Shirley Rainbold and Republican Bruce Walden and Tanya Lange.
This is also Alaska’s first election under the new voting system, in which voters will select one candidate in a primary election, followed by a ranked-choice election of the top four vote-getters in the primary.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @SegallJnuEmpire.