Pierce joins race for governor

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has filed to run for governor, Aaron Rhoades, Pierce’s chief of staff, confirmed via text message Thursday.

Brenda Ahlberg, the emergency manager for the borough, also confirmed via text message that she and other borough officials received an email from Rhoades earlier on Thursday, announcing Pierce’s run.

A screenshot of the email was posted on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, and Rhoades confirmed it was legitimate.

“I sent it to our leadership as a professional courtesy, to ensure we keep trust high and that they hear from the Mayor first on matters of importance like this,” Rhoades said via text message.

Ahlberg was one of 10 borough employees to receive the email announcement.

“Mayor Pierce has filed to run for the Governor of the State of Alaska today,” the email from Rhoades states. “We wanted to make sure you heard this directly from a reliable source and as a courtesy for your valued service and dedication.”

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Pierce did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday.

As of Thursday evening, Pierce was not listed as a political candidate on the Alaska Public Offices Commission website.

Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, former state legislator Les Gara, Alaska House Rep. Christopher Kurka, Libertarian candidate William Toien, Republican Bruce Walden and former Gov. Bill Walker have also announced runs for the governor’s seat.

Reporter Ashlyn O’Hara contributed to this story. Reach reporter Camille Botello at

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