Grunwald drops out as Pierce’s running mate for governor

Published: Oct. 25, 2022 at 2:36 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2022 at 4:25 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Edie Grunwald has announced that she is withdrawing as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Charlie Pierce, citing her desire to be an “advocate and supporter of respectful treatment of women.”

Last week, a former employee of Pierce’s while he was mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough filed a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment. Pierce said via email that he is not dropping out of the race.

“I’ve reached the decision to withdraw. It’s unfortunate, I would really like to make a difference with Alaskans and do the right thing and it’s very unfortunate that you know, right now my running mate Charlie Pierce has some allegations against him and I have no knowledge of what happened,” Grunwald said in an interview. “I think that it’s just really important that I take a stance and show that I do advocate and support respectful treatment of women in the workplace.”

The ticket of Pierce and Grunwald finished fourth in the August primary election with 12,458 votes. The Nov. 8 general election is just two weeks away.

Grunwald said that she communicated with Pierce that she was dropping out as his running mate. A statement from Grunwald was sent to members of the press Tuesday afternoon.

“I believe my stepping down at this time is in the best interest of Alaskans and a demonstration of my support for all women, regardless of political affiliation,” Grunwald said in the statement. “There are recent circumstances surrounding my Gubernatorial running mate, Charlie Pierce, which have led me to make the decision to withdraw from the Pierce-Grunwald for Governor campaign team.”

In last week’s Debate for the State hosted by Alaska Public Media, Alaska’s News Source and KTOO, Gov. Mike Dunleavy asked his supporters to rank Pierce second on their ballots. In a statement to the Alaska Beacon, Dunleavy did not say whether he would withdraw his support for Pierce’s campaign.

Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai noted in an email Tuesday that the deadline to withdraw was 64 days before the election — meaning that both Pierce and Grunwald will still appear on the ballot on Nov. 8.

Dunleavy campaign spokesman Andrew Jensen provided a statement on the matter Tuesday evening.

“The Governor remains focused on his race and is giving time for the facts to play out. While the legal process takes its course, the announcement by Edie Grunwald today means that Mike Dunleavy and Nancy Dahlstrom are the only viable ticket for voters to choose from that represents the positions Alaskans care about the most when it comes to public safety, education, the PFD, taxes, resource development, and economic opportunities that will build an Alaska for the next 50 years and beyond. We appreciate Edie’s support, and we appreciate all Alaskans who are supporting our campaign.”

Editors note: This article has been updated with additional details, and to reflect that Pierce is not dropping out of the race for governor.