Charlie Huggins today suspended his campaign for governor. In a letter on Facebook this evening, the U.S. Army veteran thanked his supporters, and acknowledged that the race was about to become very competitive and expensive.
His suspension leaves former Sen. Mike Dunleavy of Mat-Su, Scott Hawkins of Anchorage, Mike Chenault of Kenai, and Michael Sheldon of Petersburg as the Republicans in the race.
Businesman Bob Gillam has decided not to run, and former Sen. John Binkley of Fairbanks is still on the fence but expected to announce his decision within days.
Huggins wrote on Facebook:
Dear Fellow Alaskans,
Alaska’s best days are ahead.
I declared my candidacy for Governor because I know in my heart, with good leadership, Alaska will come out of this recession stronger and more united.
My life experiences as a leader prepared me for the challenge of running for Governor and to articulate the right path forward for our great state. Along with being steadfast on pro-life, pro- family and pro- 2nd Amendment, I continue to believe we need to ensure public safety is 1st priority, restore a full dividend to Alaskans and no statewide tax without a vote of the people.
These are the bedrock principles.
When I started my campaign, I saw a clear road to victory. However, this potentially could be the most expensive race in Alaska history.
After much prayer and deliberation, Becky and I have decided suspending the campaign is the right thing to do for our family and our State.
But we’re all-in when it comes to this – It’s vital we elect a new governor this cycle. We absolutely must have a leader.
Today, I thank the many Alaskans for their encouragement and give a shout out to the sacrifices of all my fellow Veterans. I appreciate hearing your concerns and talking with you about the role of Service to our State.
With gratitude from a Vietnam Veteran,
Huggins’ departure comes just weeks after Mike Dunleavy jumped back into the race after resolving a serious health issue. Huggins, who had not announced his bid for governor until Dunleavy had suspended his campaign in September to deal with his health issues, was forced to rethink his campaign once Dunleavy rejoined the race. Dunleavy is from the same Mat-Su Valley region of the state and has significant financial resources to run on.
Huggins spent much of the afternoon calling family and friends to let them know of his decision. He called Dunleavy as well and the two agreed to get together for lunch soon.
Huggins declined to endorse any of the remaining candidates for now.
“Along with the rest of Alaska, I learned last evening, that my friend Charlie Huggins has decided to suspend his campaign for Governor. Charlie is a leader, a man of God, of country, and of family. I am honored to have served the people of Alaska alongside him,” Mike Dunleavy said.
“Charlie and I spoke via phone last night, and I look forward to sitting down together and talking more with him as the campaign moves forward.
“I fully agree with Charlie that Alaska’s best days are ahead, and I understand and respect the strength and courage it takes to make difficult decisions like this, made in the best interest of Alaska and for Alaskans. Along with Charlie, I know without question that Alaska absolutely must elect a new Governor.”
“There is much at stake for our great state and this election is critical. The path forward starts this year, with a new leader who will listen to Alaskans and take immediate action to improve public safety, cut the size and scope of state government, and protect the Permanent Fund and PFD.”
“Alaska’s best days are ahead, and I have great optimism. More than anything today, however, I just want to thank Charlie and his beautiful family for their service and commitment to our country, and to our state. Charlie Huggins is truly a great American. I am honored to know him, and blessed to call him friend.”