Scott Hawkins, a Republican gubernatorial candidate last year, died Thursday after a 15-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to an obituary prepared by longtime family friend Patrick Rumley said. He was 60.

Hawkins, a prominent Anchorage businessman, was an early frontrunner last year during the primary before he stepped down from the race two months after announcing his cancer.

But it was the primary dynamics that drove his decision, Hawkins said in a prepared statement at the time, adding the cancer recovery played no part in his choice.

“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.

“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.”

His departure from the race left the door open for now Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who handily defeated Mead Treadwell in the August primary and Democratic challenger Mark Begich in November.

After Hawkins decision to step down, Dunleavy said:

“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.” 

Prior to his run for office, Hawkins was best known for his decades-long business acumen.

He was named the first executive director for the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. which established in 1987 with a mission to attract new business to Anchorage.  He served eight years and remains among the lost serving board chairs since its inception.

Hawkins helped the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport become a hub for cargo jets by helping the runways meet required standards for the larger jets seeing daily landings from Asian countries.

It was during this time he met his wife Toyoko, who was a flight attendant for Japan Air. They married on June 20, 1992.

Twenty years ago, he founded his own economics consulting business, an Anchorage-Japan tour company, and he co-founded Alaska Supply Chain International, which provides oil field services, including logistics, supplies and human resource services to energy companies.

As CEO and president, helped expand operations to Chile, Trinidad, Sakhalin Island and North Dakota, as well as on the North Slope and in Anchorage. Before his death, he had been working on a project to expand the business to Angola.

Hawkins is survived by his wife Toyoko Hawkins, daughter Lisa Hawkins, parents Charlotte and Harry Hawkins of Tumwater, Washington, and sister Wendy Komen of Washington; his uncle Bruce Redman of Anchorage and his many friends. He was preceded in death by his brother Ted Hawkins.

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