Word is that former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan is not going to file to run as mayor of Anchorage after all.
He’s planning to file for statewide office, according to those close to him who met with him today.
There are only two seats available in the statewide category — lieutenant governor or governor.
Must Read Alaska was not able to reach Sullivan tonight to ask him which he is aiming for.
Sullivan served as Anchorage mayor for six years, starting in 2009, before term-limiting out in 2015. He was followed by Ethan Berkowitz, the current mayor, who has filed for re-election for the April 3, 2018 municipal election. Political prognosticators expected Sullivan to file for that seat, which he could easily win.
Sullivan won the primary as a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2014. Paired with Gov. Sean Parnell in the General Election that year, the two were beat by just over 2 percent of the voters who were enamored with a hybrid “unity” ticket formed by now-Gov. Bill Walker and Byron Mallott.
Union leaders such as Vince Beltrami of the AFL-CIO brought all their forces to bear on that race, in part because Sullivan had earlier rewritten the city’s new labor law that curtailed certain collective bargaining rights for public employees. That new labor ordinance was ultimately overturned by voters in a very low-turnout local election, but it left lingering union animosity toward Sullivan.
Mallott had been the Democrat nominee in 2014, but he dropped his own lieutenant governor partner, Hollis French, and accepted the Number 2 slot on a ticket the Alaska Democratic Party cobbled together with Walker at the top. French also withdrew, clearing the way for Walker-Mallot, He was later rewarded with a plum job on the Regulatory Commission of Alaska.
Sullivan was a 2016 candidate who briefly challenged Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the primary, before dropping his bid. But he picked up valuable data in the process and recent polling shows he is still well regarded among fiscal conservatives. He’s respected statewide because of how well he managed the Municipality of Anchorage’s budget, which had been left in shambles by former Mayor Mark Begich.
Begich is also expected to file for governor for 2018 as the leading Democrat.
When Sullivan left the Mayor’s Office in 2015, the municipality had gone from a Begich-induced deficit to a healthy surplus, which has since been gobbled up by spending increases under Mayor Berkowitz.
Before serving as mayor of Anchorage, Sullivan was a member of the Anchorage Assembly between 1998 to 2008, when he also reached his term limit.
The word of his possible filing for a statewide office comes on a day when many anticipate another popular figure, Sen. Kevin Meyer, will file for lieutenant governor on Thursday.
This story will be updated.