Wasilla Sen. Dunleavy resumes 2018 run for Alaska governor

PALMER — Mike Dunleavy, a state senator from Wasilla, announced Thursday he was resuming his campaign for Alaska governor.

Dunleavy suspended his run in September, citing a medical problem with his heart: a condition known as atrial fibrillation.

Dunleavy's sprawling district runs from Talkeetna to Valdez and Whittier.

In a statement issued Thursday, Dunleavy said he received successful treatment for his heart condition, which he said was "not life-threatening, but was a serious impediment to handling the rigors of the campaign trail."

Dunleavy in an interview said he received treatment for the atrial fibrillation, and then a few days later was diagosed with myocarditis — inflammation of the heart tissue — that made him feel extremely tired. A scan revealed he may have had a virus that caused temporary damage.

Dunleavy said otherwise his heart looked healthy with no blockages of any kind.

"It all sounds horrible but actually it's really good. Everything is fixed," he said. "I wouldn't be going back into the race if I wasn't 100 percent."


He faces a potentially crowded field, at least in the August primary. The winner would face at least Gov. Bill Walker, running for re-election as an independent, in the November general election.

The following candidates have registered or filed letters of intent to run: Scott Hawkins of Anchorage; Gerald Heikes of Palmer; former GOP state Sen. Charlie Huggins of Meadow Lakes; Christopher Hunter of Fairbanks; Jacob Kern of Anchorage; Michael Sheldon of Petersburg; and Kirk Wilson of Anchorage.

Rep. Mike Chenault, of Nikiski, also filed a letter of intent but didn't specify the office.

Huggins filed paperwork to signal his intent to run at the same time Dunleavy announced his departure from the campaign. Dunleavy won election to state Senate in 2012 and served with Huggins for several years; the men are friends.

Dunleavy said Thursday he expected Huggins to stay in the race. The Huggins campaign didn't immediately return a call for comment.

Correction: This story has been updated to show that Mike Dunleavy and Charlie Huggins served together in the state senate.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com.