Brett Huber, Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s communications director and the former manager of his election campaign, is leaving the administration to operate a campaign opposing the ranked-choice voting ballot measure.
Huber is among several recent staff changes at the governor’s office.
“I’m going to be participating in the campaign cycle this go-around, which is why I stepped away from the governor’s office,” he said.
State law prohibits state employees from participating in partisan political activities during work time or with state resources, and Huber said that rather than try to work on the campaign during off-hours, he would be more effective as a free agent.
“My future is going to concentrate on that,” he said of the upcoming campaign.
Ballot Measure 2, if approved by voters in the Nov. 3 election, would impose-ranked choice voting in the general election, put all candidates on one primary-election ballot and require disclosure of so-called “dark money” political contributions.
The measure is being opposed by the Alaska Republican Party and top Democrats who say it would erode the power of political parties.
Huber said he isn’t certain whether someone will replace him in his particular role. Akis Gialopsos, formerly chief of staff to Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, has been hired to serve as the governor’s deputy chief of staff, a previously empty position, under Chief of Staff Ben Stevens. Huber suggested Gialopsos and Stevens could assume some of his prior responsibilities.
The governor has also named Miles Baker as his new legislative director, replacing Suzanne Cunningham. The legislative director is typically in charge of negotiations between the governor’s office and the Legislature. Baker has worked for the past four years as the University of Alaska’s de facto lobbyist in the Alaska Legislature. Cunningham is now a special assistant in the Department of Health and Social Services.
Jeff Turner, Dunleavy’s deputy communications director, declined to release the salaries of Gialopsos and Baker. The state has previously provided salaries without a public records request.
[Because of a high volume of comments requiring moderation, we are temporarily disabling comments on many of our articles so editors can focus on the coronavirus crisis and other coverage. We invite you to write a letter to the editor or reach out directly if you’d like to communicate with us about a particular article. Thanks.]