John Emerson "Johne" Binkley (born February 4, 1953 in Fairbanks, Alaska) is a riverboat pilot, businessman and Republican politician from the U.S. state of Alaska. Binkley served for one term apiece in the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska Senate during the mid and late 1980s, but is perhaps better known for his candidacy for governor of Alaska in the 2006 primary election. In that election, he finished far behind Sarah Palin (who would go on to win the governorship), but also far ahead of one-term incumbent governor Frank Murkowski, by then deeply unpopular amongst Alaskans.
John Emerson Binkley was born on February 4, 1953 in Fairbanks, Alaska, the youngest of three sons and third of four children born to Mary (née Hall) and Charles Madison Binkley, Jr., better known as Jim Binkley. A graduate of Lathrop High School, Binkley attended Western Michigan University before returning to Bethel, Alaska to start a river freight business. In 1982, Binkley was elected to the Bethel City Council, where he served for four years. He sold the business and, in 1991, was named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Riverboat Discovery, a successful tour company. From 1993, he additionally served as president of the El Dorado Gold Mine, a tourist attraction.
In 1985, Binkley was elected to district 25 of the Alaska Legislature, where he served on the finance and fisheries committees. In 1986, he was elected to the Alaska State Senate, district M, where he served until 1990. During that time, he was named to several committee posts, including the Senate Finance Committee (1986–1990); Conference Committee on Budget (1988–1990); Committee on Military & Veterans Affairs (1986–1990); Sub-Committee on Commerce (1986–1990); and the Special Senate Committee on High Seas Salmon Interception. In Alaska, legislators are considered part-time, and many do not typically cease outside employment.
In 2005, Binkley left both his executive posts to prepare for a run for governor. He placed second in the Republican primary, with 30% of the vote, behind Sarah Palin.
He is married to Judy Gray Binkley, and they have four children. Binkley is a licensed boat captain and pilot, and enjoys and coaches hockey.
|2006 Republican primary for Alaska governor|
|Republican||Frank Murkowski (inc.)||19,412||19.09%|
- Sturgis, Kent (1988). "World War II On The River". Four Generations On The Yukon. Fairbanks: Epicenter Press. pp. 38–39. ISBN 0-945397-01-1.
- http://www.elections.alaska.gov/06prim/data/results.htm[dead link]