The Alaska Democratic Party may finally have at least one candidate in the race for governor. Hollis French, a state senator from Anchorage, announced today he’s considering jumping in.
French filed a letter of intent with the Division of Elections on Tuesday. He says that while he’s leaning strongly toward a run, he wants to wait to see how much money he can fundraise and if a campaign would be viable. He’s also using the time to develop his platform.
“Obviously oil tax reform is number one. It’s the single most important issue confronting the economic future of the state, and I think the governor led us on the wrong direction.”
If French does decide to run, that would make it a three-way race for governor. Incumbent Sean Parnell has already registered as a candidate, and so has Bill Walker, a Republican turned independent. To make things more complicated, there’s an effort to draft Bill Wielechowski, a Democratic state senator, to join the independent ticket in the lieutenant governor slot.
French says he doesn’t know Wielechowski’s intentions, and that he hopes a three-way race could actually split in his favor.
“Having Bill Walker jump in as a third-party [candidate] I think made it far more likely that a Democrat can get elected. The last time a Democrat was elected who was not an incumbent was 1994 — that was Tony Knowles essentially in a three-way race.”
French has served in the state legislature since 2003, and says he will defend his Senate seat if he decides against running for governor. If he does launch a campaign, it will be his second gubernatorial race. In 2010, he lost to Ethan Berkowitz in the Democratic primary.