Sen. Dunleavey won’t challenge Murkowski after all

It’s an election year for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and so far no one has raised significant money to run against her. One Republican who suggested last spring he might challenge her now says he’s no longer considering it. State Sen. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican from Wasilla, says his plate is already full.

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Mike Dunleavy (R) - Senate District E. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN - Anchorage)
Mike Dunleavy (R) – Senate District E. (Photo by Josh Edge, APRN – Anchorage)

“We’ve got too many things we have to deal with in the state of Alaska. And I’ve got to be honest with you, you can’t take your eye off the ball in this situation for a second. So, I would be doing a disservice, I think, to the people of Alaska [and] myself to do anything other than focus on what we have to do here in Alaska.”

So, you don’t intend to run for U.S. Senate in 2016?

“No, no, no,” Dunleavy says.

Anyone challenging Murkowski would have steep hill to climb. Her campaign has already raised about $3 million.

Dunleavy says the biggest legislative issue is the state budget. With oil trading at less than $40 per barrel, he says deeper cuts are needed, potentially up to a billion dollars.

“We thought it was bad last year. We lost $600 million when it went from $64 a barrel to $38. So, the hole keeps getting bigger. It doesn’t get smaller, and there’s no more kicking this down the road, because there’s no more road left.”

Sen. Dunleavy was in Talkeetna discussing issues of concerns with constituents before heading to Juneau to begin the legislative session on Jan. 19.