In this Sept. 9, 2016 photo, Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) speaks at a flagpole dedication ceremony at the Nikiski Senior Center in Nikiski, Alaska. Chenault filed a letter of intent Tuesday to seek office in October 2018 and said he was gauging statewide support for a run for governor. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

In this Sept. 9, 2016 photo, Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) speaks at a flagpole dedication ceremony at the Nikiski Senior Center in Nikiski, Alaska. Chenault filed a letter of intent Tuesday to seek office in October 2018 and said he was gauging statewide support for a run for governor. (Photo by Elizabeth Earl/Peninsula Clarion, file)

Chenault tests waters for gubernatorial bid

Nikiski’s state legislator is looking for support for a run for state governor.

Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) announced his intention to run in October 2018 in a letter of intent filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission Tuesday. Though he did not list the office for which he intends to run in the letter of intent, he said he’s testing whether there’s adequate support for him to run for the governor’s seat.

“We’d been looking and talking about it for awhile, so I decided to put a letter of intent in, try to gauge how much support I have across the state, and then we’ll make a final decision in the next few weeks,” he said.

Chenault has served in the House of Representatives since 2002, and was the Speaker of the House from 2009–2016 until a bipartisan House caucus, formed just before the 2017 regular legislative session, displaced the Republican majority. Last session, he served as Minority Whip for the Republican minority. A longtime advocate for oil and gas development in the state, he has been a major supporter of a gasline project from the North Slope to Nikiski, though he has raised questions about Gov. Bill Walker’s efforts to build the pipeline through the most recent iteration, the Alaska LNG Project.

He said the decision comes from an “overall frustration” with the state’s direction and that he would hope to start a conversation about what services the government should provide and how they can be delivered more efficiently.

“I think there’s things that we could do, reduction in the size of government,” he said. “And while that’s kind of a cliché, or it’s easy to say, I think we’ve got to do that and bring the citizens of Alaska to the table and to talk about the services that the state provides and what the costs are compared to other states. It’s time.”

Chenault’s letter of intent allows him to begin fundraising and campaigning.

If Chenault does ultimately decide to run for governor, he will square off in the Republican primary against former Senate President Charlie Huggins of Wasilla, Jacob Seth Kern of Anchorage and Michael D. Sheldon of Petersburg. Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who had filed to run for governor in July, announced his intention to suspend his campaign due to an unspecified health issue on Wednesday.

Walker, an independent, has also announced his intention to run for re-election.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, gives reporters an update on negotiations in his office at the Capitol on Friday, April 24, 2015. Chenault has announced he is considering a run for governor in 2018.

Speaker of the House Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, gives reporters an update on negotiations in his office at the Capitol on Friday, April 24, 2015. Chenault has announced he is considering a run for governor in 2018.

More in News

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs bumps to city water, sewer rates

The changes are effective July 1

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs permit for new Triumvirate playhouse

The playhouse design describes a $4.7 million facility that is two stories with an audience capacity of 150 people

Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit testifies in support of legislation allowing chickens on some city lots during a meeting of the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai planning group gives conditional thumbs-up to chicken ordinance

The legislation would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots

Emergency personnel respond to a fire on R/V Qualifier, in the Northern Enterprises Boatyard on Kachemak Drive, Jan. 19, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photos by Nika Wolfe)
Research vessel catches fire in Homer boatyard

The cause of the fire and extent of the damage is not yet known

Alaska Vocational Technical Center Executive Director Cathy LeCompte presents during a Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
AVTEC director plugs programming at chamber luncheon

AVTEC is about more, LeCompte said, than just checking off classes to gain certification

From left, Dave Carey, Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Zach Hamilton and Peter Micciche participate in a Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor candidate forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough mayoral candidates participate in Tuesday forum

The forum was hosted by the Peninsula Clarion and KDLL 91.9 FM in partnership with the Central Peninsula League of Women Voters

A volunteer ladles Hungarian mushroom soup donated by Odie’s at Kenai United Methodist Food Pantry in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Church food pantry marks 20 years of service

The Food Pantry at Kenai United Methodist Church opened Jan. 26, 2003

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Most Read