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Alaska gubernatorial election, 1994

Alaska gubernatorial election, 1994

November 8, 1994

Nominee Tony Knowles Jim Campbell Jack Coghill
Party Democratic Republican Alaskan Independence
Popular vote 87,693 87,157 39,331
Percentage 41.08% 40.84% 13.04%

Governor before election

Walter Hickel

Elected Governor

Tony Knowles

The 1994 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 8, 1994 for the post of Governor of Alaska, United States. Democratic candidate Tony Knowles narrowly defeated Republican candidate Jim Campbell and Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill of the Alaskan Independence Party. In the Republican Revolution year of the 1994 elections, Alaska's was the only governor's seat in the country to switch from Republican to Democratic.


  • Candidates 1
  • Campaign 2
    • Polling 2.1
  • Recount 3
  • Election results 4
  • References 5


Incumbent Governor Walter Joseph Hickel had been elected as the candidate of the Alaskan Independence Party in the 1990 gubernatorial election. In April 1994 he rejoined the Republican Party and announced in August that he would not stand for re-election.[1]

In the Democratic primary, the Democratic candidate from 1990 and former mayor of Anchorage, Tony Knowles, won with 43% of the vote. He defeated former Lieutenant Governor Stephen McAlpine with 31% and former Speaker of the Alaskan House of Representatives Sam Cotten with 25%.[1]

For the Republican nomination, businessman Jim Campbell narrowly defeated another former mayor of Anchorage, Tom Fink. Lieutenant Governor Jack Coghill was easily selected as the candidate for the Alaskan Independence Party while Jim Sykes ran for the Green Party of Alaska.[1]


Both main candidates in the election were regarded as moderates and favored oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as well as cuts in the state budget.[2] Polls near the election showed Knowles with a strong lead over Campbell.[3]

During the election the Campbell campaign ran an advertisement comparing Knowle's hair with President Bill Clinton's. The advert was criticised by supporters of Knowles who felt it implied that he was a womanizer.[3]


Source Date Knowles (D) Campbell (R)
Dittman Research Nov. 3, 1994 44% 33%


As the results were counted state officials said that the contest between Knowles and Campbell was too close to call, with Knowles having a small lead.[4] Knowles declared victory on the November 18 after the official count showed that he was ahead of 528 votes with only 217 votes remaining to be counted.[5] He described the victory as the "largest margin I think I've ever won by" as his Anchorage mayoralty election wins had always been by very narrow margins.[5]

Campbell contested the results and called for a recount, which was paid for by the state as the candidates were within half a percent of each other.[6] Campbell also wanted to look into some voter incentives that had taken place including raffles and free gasoline for voters. These were defended as attempts to increase turnout and had been authorised by election officials.[7]

The initial count showed Knowles with 87,701 votes and Campbell with 87,118 votes. The results of the recount slightly narrowed the gap between them with Knowles ending on 87,693 and Campbell on 87,157.[8] Knowles's victory margin was the smallest in any Alaska gubernatorial election.[7][9]

Election results

1994 gubernatorial election, Alaska[10]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Tony Knowles 87,693 41.08 +10.2
Republican Jim Campbell 87,157 40.84 +14.7
Alaskan Independence Jack Coghill 27,838 13.04 -25.8
Green Jim Sykes 8,727 4.09 +0.7
Patriot Ralph Winterrowd 1,743 0.82 +0.3
Write-ins 277 0.13 -0.0
Majority 536 0.24 -7.7
Turnout 213,435 63.5 -1.3
Democratic gain from Republican Swing -36.01


  1. ^ a b c "Two in the House Advance In Drive for Senator's Seat".  
  2. ^ "Alaska Democratic Candidate Has Been Having Bad Hair Days".  
  3. ^ a b "THE 1994 ELECTIONS: STATE BT STATE; West".  
  4. ^ Janofsky, Michael (1994-11-16). "Democrat Gets Nearer Top Job In Maryland".  
  5. ^ a b "Democrat Declares Victory in Alaska".  
  6. ^ "Democrat Takes Alaska Governorship".  
  7. ^ a b "`Voter Incentives' Raise Questions -- Apparent Loser In Alaska Governor's Race Cries Foul".  
  8. ^ "1994 GENERAL ELECTION OFFICIAL RESULTS STATEWIDE SUMMARY". Alaska Division of Elections. Archived from the original on 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  9. ^ "Democrat Wins In Alaska Recount -- Republican Won't Pursue `Voter Incentive' Complaints".  
  10. ^ "1994 Gubernatorial General Election Results - Alaska". Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
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