Comment of the day: Walker is not the 11th governor of the state. He’s the 13th.

Eagle-eyed former legislative and gubernatorial aide Christopher Clark takes on us math-challenged media types. Gov. Bill Walker is NOT the 11th governor of the state, as has been widely reported, including by me. He is in fact the 13th governor. (In our defense, Wikipedia also gets it wrong, and the dog ate our calculators.) Clark explains:

Bill Walker is the thirteenth governor because 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.

Here is the list of 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 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.


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