Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, a hopeful for the Alaska governor’s seat, has tapped Edie Grunwald as his running mate. Pierce made the announcement at a campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday evening.
Pierce, who is in his second term as mayor, announced his gubernatorial candidacy on Jan. 20. He is running as a Republican.
At the campaign event Saturday, Pierce praised Grunwald’s experience in the military and state law enforcement. According to a press release from Pierce’s office, she spent 31 years in the military, retiring as an Air Force colonel, and most recently served as the chair of the Alaska Parole Board. She has a master’s degree in business organizational management and strategy, national security and military.
“In her life she has served our country, and I would say that along the way she received a lot of experience,” Pierce said. “I have a lot of respect for this individual for her service and her commitment to this country.”
Gov. Mike Dunleavy appointed Grunwald as chair to the Alaska Parole Board in 2019, three years after her teenage son was murdered in the Matanuska-Susitna region. She also previously ran for lieutenant governor in 2018.
On Saturday, Grunwald said she’s focusing on three things as a lieutenant governor hopeful: election integrity, the executive duties of the position and the excitement of working with Pierce. She also said she resigned from her position as chair of the parole board to accept the role as a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Both Pierce and Grunwald expressed support for increased services for elderly Alaskans, election transparency and not making half-hearted commitments.
“I’m not going to promise you anything, but I’m going to give you a hard day’s work,” Pierce said. “We’re all important, but there’s something that’s missing. I think it’s called a relationship in Juneau.”
Both Pierce and Grunwald fielded questions from community members about the campaign. Topics included COVID-19 mitigation mandates and treatment options, education and oil and gas, among others.
Grunwald said Saturday that she agreed to be Pierce’s running mate in the hopes of making changes at the state level.
“I wanted to join this campaign (because of) his executive duties that he wants to share with me with the things that matter to Alaska,” she said.
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, along with their lieutenant governor picks, will be running against Pierce and Grunwald this November.