Anchorage businessman Scott Hawkins has withdrawn from Republican gubernatorial primary, citing Mead Treadwell’s late entry.

This leaves Treadwell and former state Sen. Mike Dunleavy among the front-runners for the Aug. 21 primary.

“I have concluded that recent developments in the race, particularly the last-minute entry of Mead Treadwell, significantly diminished my ability to win the primary,” Hawkins said in a prepared statement. 

“I was looking forward to facing Sen. Mike Dunleavy, head-to-head,” he said.  “The two of us offered Republican primary voters different visions for Alaska as we engaged in a friendly, respectful airing of our ideas on the campaign trail.  Mead’s entry into the race significantly complicated this contrast.”

Hawkins won the straw poll at the Republican State Convention in March, beating Dunleavy by 8 votes. Hawkins was the first CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation and founded the Accountability Project, a business-backed political group that helps elect Republicans.

In May, Hawkins announced he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February, but added there were strong recovery prospects, even as side effects would likely come during a crucial part of the campaign.

Hawkins said the cancer recovery did not factor into his decision.

Less than a month after Hawkins announced his illness, Treadwell filed for the race on June 1, the last day for those interested in running for office.

“Scott’s departure leaves me as the only Republican candidate with real world business experience that will enable us to meet the challenge of creating jobs and growing Alaska’s economy,” Treadwell said in a statement. “I believe that the August 21st primary presents Alaskans with a clear choice of direction for our state.”

Dunleavy said in a statement that he enjoyed spending time on the campaign with Hawkins.

“I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent with him at campaign events over the past few months, learning more about his conservative principles and free-market solutions to Alaska’s challenges,” Dunleavy said. “While we were technically opponents, Scott unquestionably elevated the debate, laying out a positive vision for Alaska’s future− I found that Scott and I often agreed on more issues than we disagreed.” 

Hawkins didn’t offer an endorsement other than to say he would back the eventual Republican nominee.

Monday was the Alaska Division of Elections’ deadline for candidates to withdraw.

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