There has been confusion and conversation surrounding Alaska’s newest governor. Is Bill Walker the state’s 11th or 13th governor? And how, exactly, do we reach a conclusive answer?

We asked Christopher Clark, former legislative aide to Rep. Cathy Munoz, to weigh in on the topic.

“Bill Walker is the thirteenth governor of the State of Alaska, not the eleventh – contrary to what is being reported widely across the state and what is posted on Wikipedia’s list of governors for Alaska.

Bill Walker is the thirteenth governor, since Bill Egan was the first and fourth governor and Wally Hickel was the second and eighth governor.

Bill Walker, however, is the eleventh person to serve as state governor for Alaska.


The logic of counting governors is the same as counting presidents.

Barack Obama is the 43rd man to serve as president, but he is the 44th President of the United States. That’s because Grover Cleveland served nonconsecutive terms and was 22nd and 24th President of the United States. Curiously, Wikipedia is correct in counting presidents but dead wrong when counting Alaska state governors.

Alaska governors since 1959:

1. Bill Egan

2. Wally Hickel

3. Keith Miller

4. Bill Egan

5. Jay Hammond

6. Bill Sheffield

7. Steve Cowper

8. Wally Hickel

9. Tony Knowles

10. Frank Murkowski

11. Sarah Palin

12. Sean Parnell

13. Bill Walker

Some argue that Bill Egan is actually the first, second and fifth governor of Alaska because his first term was not a full four years and he served as a transition between territorial governance and statehood. Under this logic, Bill Walker would be the 14th governor of the State of Alaska.

Notwithstanding that debate, Bill Walker is the 13th governor of Alaska and the 11th person to serve as state governor.”

– Christopher Clark