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Sean Parnell

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Sean Parnell
Sean Parnell.png
Governor of Alaska
In office
July 26, 2009 - Present
Term ends
December 1, 2014
Years in position 6
PredecessorSarah Palin (R)
Base salary$145,000
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$969,558
Term limits2 consecutive terms
Prior offices
Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
Alaska State Senate
1997 - 2001
Alaska House of Representatives
1993 - 1997
High schoolEast Anchorage High School (1980)
Bachelor'sPacific Lutheran University (1984)
J.D.University of Puget Sound Law School (1987)
Date of birthNovember 19, 1962
Place of birthHanford, California
Office website
Campaign website
Sean R. Parnell (b. November 19, 1962, Hanford, California) is the 10th and current Republican Governor of Alaska. Parnell, formerly the lieutenant governor, succeeded Sarah Palin (R) following her resignation in July 2009. Parnell ran for and won election to a full term as governor on November 2, 2010, easily defeating former state Rep. Ethan A. Berkowitz (D).[1]

Parnell ran for re-election in 2014. After first considering a congressional bid, he announced on May 3, 2013 his intention to run for another term as governor.[2][3]

Parnell practice law for 13 years in the private sector prior to running for office. He was first elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 1992. He served in the body until 1996, when he won election to the Alaska State Senate, serving through 2000.[4] Running for Congress in 2008, Parnell narrowly lost the Republican primary to Don Young by 304 votes.[5]

An analysis of Republican governors by Nate Silver of the New York Times in April 2013 ranked Parnell as the 14th most conservative governor in the country.[6]


Parnell is a native of Hanford, California but his family relocated to Alaska in 1973, when Parnell was 10 years old. His parents decided to move to the state after his father had been stationed at Fort Richardson. His father, Kevin, ran against legendary Alaska politician Don Young as a Democrat in 1980. That same year, Parnell graduated from East Anchorage High School. An attorney by training, he attended Pacific Lutheran University (B.B.A. 1984) and University of Puget Sound School of Law (J.D. 1987). He is admitted to the bar in both Alaska and Washington, D.C.

Parnell spent time working with Conoco Phillips Alaska after leaving the state legislature. In 2005, he moved to lobbying firm Patton Boggs, where he specialized in state and federal regulation of energy industries. At the end of 2006, Parnell took a job with Alaska’s Division of Oil and Gas, which he left upon his election as lieutenant governor.

He was acting as an adviser to then-Governor Murkowski on Alaska's North Slope when he entered and won the lieutenant gubernatorial primary in 2006.


  • East Anchorage High School
  • B.B.A Pacific Lutheran University (1984)
  • J.D. Puget Sound School of Law (1987)

Political career

Governor of Alaska (2009-present)

Upon Sarah Palin's resignation from the governorship in 2009, Parnell, as lt. governor, assumed the role of Alaska's chief executive official. He is Alaska's 10th governor and successfully sought election to a full term of office in 2010.[1]


Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals looking at 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation record, Parnell was ranked number 16. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[7][8]

Oil production tax reform

In March 2013, the Finance Committee of the Republican-controlled Alaska State Senate presented an updated version of a bill by Parnell to remove the progressive tax system on oil production for the purpose of increasing stability, encouraging new development and simplifying international trade.[9] Parnell's original plan called for oil producers to be taxed at a flat base rate of 25 percent. The Finance committee then drafted a version of Senate Bill 21 prescribing a rate of 30 percent, five percent less than an earlier proposal by the Resources Committee, but five percent more than Parnell's intial proposal. The bill would also give a $5 credit for each barrel of oil produced, as well as maintain the 20 percent tax break--current as of March 12, 2013--for new oil development known as a gross revenue exclusion. However, the exclusion would also apply to new oil from already-developed "legacy" fields.[10][11]

Democrats argued that the Parnell plan would not necessarily bring increased production, and that tax breaks should come after new investment. Bill Wielechowski said that the bill represented a "giveaway" to existing producers such as BP, Exxon, and ConocoPhillips. Industry figures had mixed opinions of the first two versions of the bill, praising the flat system, but not a base tax increase and a plan to limit the gross revenue exclusion to new fields. Legislative consultant Janak Meyer said that the Finance version would increase the state's competitiveness.[11] Democratic responses to Parnell's plan, including Senate Bill 50 and House Bill 111 had not received committee hearings one month after introduction.[12]

Parnell appointments

While serving as an appointed governor, Parnell left Sarah Palin's appointees largely intact. Upon his election to a full term in the office, he stated his intention to make significant changes; Alaska's Constitution grants the governor very broad powers to appoint positions, including some that are elected by the citizens in most states.

Parnell asked for some resignations and told other key officials they could submit an application to be considered for his administration, but that they should not automatically expect to continue in the post they had prior to the election.[13]

The first confirmed departure from the governor's office was Department of Fish and Game chief, Denby Lloyd. Parnell noted that his plans to shake up his staff were as much to allow people who wished to take other opportunities to do too so as to form his own administration team.

Lieutenant Governor (2006-2009)

Parnell took office as Lieutenant Governor in 2006 with Governor Sarah Palin.

Alaska State Legislature (1992-2000)

In 1992 Parnell was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives. He served as a member of the House Finance Committee and chaired numerous budget subcommittees. He served in the House for two terms.

Parnell was elected to a seat in the Alaska State Senate in 1996, and served there through 2000. He served on and later co-chaired the Finance Committee as well as being a member of the Energy Council.[14][1]



See also: Alaska gubernatorial election, 2014

Parnell ran for re-election as Governor of Alaska in 2014.[2] He sought the Republican nomination in the primary on August 19, 2014.[15] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Alaska gubernatorial election, 2010 and Gubernatorial elections, 2010


On November 2, 2010, Parnell/Treadwell won election to the office of Governor/Lt. Governor of Alaska. They defeated Berkowitz/Benson (D), Toien/Brown (L) and Donald R. Wright (AI) in the general election.

Governor/Lt. Governor of Alaska, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngParnell/Treadwell Incumbent 59.1% 151,318
     Democratic Berkowitz/Benson 37.7% 96,519
     Libertarian Toien/Brown 1% 2,682
     Alaskan Independence Wright/Donald R. 1.9% 4,775
     Write-in N/A 0.4% 898
Total Votes 256,192
Election Results Via: State of Alaska Division of Elections


Parnell defeated five challengers in the August 24 primary, winning 49.49% of the vote. Bill Walker came in second with 33.95%.
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[16]
Candidates Percentage
Gerald L. Heikes (R) 0.40%
Merica Hlatcu (R) 0.56%
Sam Little (R) 1.54%
Green check mark.jpg Sean Parnell (R) 49.49%
Ralph Samuels (R) 14.05%
Bill Walker (R) 33.95%
Total votes 88,423


On March 14, 2008, Parnell announced that he would take on embattled 18-term Congressman Don Young in the August 26 Republican primary. The race between them was extremely narrow. It took several weeks after the election before it became clear on September 18 that Young had won re-election by a margin of 304 votes.[17]

Parnell was endorsed by then-Gov. Palin[18] and the Club for Growth[19]


On November 7, 2006, Palin/Parnell won election to the office of Governor/Lt. Governor of Alaska. They defeated Knowles/Berkowitz (D), Halcro/Von Gemmingen (I), Wright/Welton (AI), Toine/Mirabal (Lib) and David M. Massie (Green) in the general election.

Governor/Lt. Governor of Alaska, 2006
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngPalin/Parnell 48.4% 114,697
     Democratic Knowles/Berkowitz 41% 97,238
     Independent Halcro/Von Gemmingen 9.5% 22,443
     Alaskan Independence Wright/Welton 0.5% 1,285
     Libertarian Toien/Mirabal 0.3% 682
     Green Massie, David M. 0.3% 593
Total Votes 236,938
Election Results Via: State of Alaska Division of Elections

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Parnell is available dating back to 1992. Based on available campaign finance records, Parnell raised a total of $969,558 during that time period. This information was last updated on June 4, 2013.[20]

Sean Parnell's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor/Lt. Gov of Alaska Not up for election $0
2010 Governor/Lt. Gov of Alaska Won $529,788
2008 Governor/Lt. Gov of Alaska Not up for election $0
2006 Governor/Lt. Gov of Alaska Won $182,078
1996 Alaska State Senate District 1 Won $175,074
1994 Alaska House of Representatives District 17 Won $55,800
1992 Alaska House of Representatives District 17 Won $26,818
Grand Total Raised $969,558

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Sean Parnell's donors each year.[21] Click [show] for more information.


Parnell resides in Anchorage, Alaska with his wife, Sandy, and their two children, Grace and Rachel. [1]

Recent news

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Sean Parnell News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Alaska Governor's Office "About the Governor" Accessed September 12, 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anchorage Daily News, "Parnell says he'll seek re-election as governor," May 3, 2013
  3. Juneau Empire, "Treadwell: 'No interest' in primary against Parnell," December 4, 2012
  4. Project Vote Smart, "Governor Sean R. Parnell's Biography," accessed March 30, 2013
  5. The New York Times, "Congressman in Alaska Wins Primary in Extended Vote Count," September 18, 2008
  6. New York Times, "In State Governments, Signs of a Healthier G.O.P.," April 16, 2013
  7. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  8. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  9. KTVA, "New Oil Tax Proposal Lowers Base Rate," March 12, 2013.
  10. Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "Consultant says Alaska oil tax proposal 'competitive,'" March 12, 2013.
  11. 11.0 11.1 The Associated Press, "Senate Finance Committee unveils oil tax rewrite," March 12, 2013.
  12. Anchorage Daily News, "Activist proposing initiative on oil taxes," March 12, 2013.
  13. Anchorage Daily News, "Parnell to begin elected term with evaluation of top staff", November 4, 2010
  14. Lieutenant Governor of Alaska Sean Parnell's Biography
  15. State of Alaska Division of Elections, "2014 Election Dates and Hours," accessed July 2, 2013
  16. State of Alaska Division of Elections, “August 24, 2010 Primary Election Results, Governor”, August 24, 2010
  17. Lieutenant Governor of Alaska Announces Primary Run Against Young, By Josh Kraushaar - CBS News
  18. Fairbanks Daily News Miner"Washington Anti-Earmark Group Endorses Parnell" by R.A. Dillon, June 6, 2008, accessed Aug. 4, 2008
  19. Politico, "Club for Growth endorses challenger to Young", By Josh Kraushaar, June 6, 2008, accessed Aug. 4, 2008
  20. Follow the Money, " Career fundraising for Sean Parnell," accessed June 4, 2013
  21. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
Sarah Palin (R)
Governor of Alaska
2009 - present
Succeeded by