The 1990 Alaska gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 1990, for the open seat of
Governor of Alaska. In 1989, incumbent Governor
Steve Cowper, a Democrat, had announced that he would not seek re-election for a second term.
The major Democratic candidates were Tony Knowles, former
Anchorage (from 1981 to 1987) and future governor (from 1994 to 2002), and incumbent Lieutenant Governor
Stephen McAlpine, who had served since 1982. Knowles defeated McAlpine in the Democratic primary.
The initial Alaskan Independence Party candidate was
John Lindauer, who won the primary. However, many conservative Republicans, dissatisfied with Sturgulewski's positions on social issues such as abortion, persuaded former Republican Governor
Walter Hickel to run on the Alaskan Independence ticket. The party pushed Lindauer aside to make way for Hickel and lieutenant gubernatorial candidate
Former Governor Walter Hickel defeated Knowles, Sturgulewski, and other minor candidates to return to the governor's office.