Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer will not run for reelection in 2022, he said Tuesday.
In a brief interview, Meyer did not rule out an eventual return to politics but said he is feeling burnout and wants to take a break.
“It’d be nice to get to sleep in and spend more time with the family,” he said.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who announced a run for reelection last month, said he appreciates the work Meyer has done over the past four years and expects him to use his last year in office to focus on an election-reform bill announced Tuesday.
“We have enjoyed a good, professional relationship and I wish him nothing but the best. I certainly understand his desire to move on and do other things,” Dunleavy said.
Under the new election system approved by voters last year, the governor and lieutenant governor run on a single ticket. That means Gov. Mike Dunleavy must find a new running mate.
The new system still faces a legal challenge and will be heard in front of the Alaska Supreme Court on Jan. 18.
Meyer and a Dunleavy campaign spokesman said they do not know who the governor will pick as a replacement, but they did not expect an announcement Tuesday or in the near future. The deadline to enter the 2022 election is June 1.
Meyer filed a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission in May, signaling that he would run for reelection, but there had been signs that he might exit the race. In August, when Dunleavy was asked whether Meyer would be his running mate in 2022, the governor responded, “As of now, yes.”
In early December, Meyer confirmed he was considering whether to leave the race. At the governor’s annual pre-Christmas holiday open house, he said he advised Dunleavy to start interviewing potential replacements as a precaution.
On Tuesday, he said he doesn’t know whether those interviews took place or who the governor interviewed.
“I think I mentioned that it’d be good, like myself, to have somebody from Anchorage, just because he’s well-known in the Valley,” Meyer said.
The governor’s campaign staff did not answer questions about who the governor has spoken to, if anyone.
Before being elected lieutenant governor in 2018, Meyer served for a decade in the state Senate and eight years in the state House. Before joining the House, he was on the Anchorage Assembly, representing Midtown.
“It’s just time, you know,” Meyer said of his decision to leave public office. “I’m 65. Thirty years (in elected office) just seemed like a good break for me.”
Though Dunleavy expressed confidence in Meyer’s ability to serve for another term, the lieutenant governor appeared increasingly out of step with Republican voters who questioned the veracity of the 2020 election despite evidence that it took place with few issues.
Former President Donald Trump has raised questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election — during which he lost his bid for reelection to Joe Biden — in part by spreading a debunked conspiracy theory that voting machines were altering ballots.
Trump’s efforts to undermine the results of the election culminated in the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, when his supporters stormed the building and sought to disrupt Congress’ tally of the Electoral College vote.
In Alaska, the lieutenant governor oversees elections, and Meyer has consistently and repeatedly defended the conduct of the 2020 election.
Meyer said he doesn’t think he’s out of step with the party’s new direction and believes Trump was good for Alaska, but added, “there’s just a lot of misinformation about the last election that I wish would go away, because unfortunately, some people are actually believing that, no matter how hard I try to convince people that our elections in Alaska were fair and honest.”