A night for upsets as incumbents struggle - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, September 28, 2020
HomePoliticsA night for upsets as incumbents struggle

A night for upsets as incumbents struggle

It was a rough night for Alaska State House and Senate incumbents on Tuesday, but some races are too close to call and there are still many absentee ballots to be counted. 

One takeaway is that the full-PFD message is powerful in Alaska politics. With only $5 billion and change left in the Earnings Reserve Account, the victors will have a very tough time paying the bills this coming year. But Alaskans are angry that the statute was not followed.

Here are a few results as of 1 am. Check for more stories throughout the day on some of these races:

Winners

Gov. Mike Dunleavy was the big winner as those Republicans worked against his agenda are generally in peril. This matters especially because Dunleavy didn’t get involved in this election cycle, except to give some nice remarks about Congressman Don Young at a fundraiser.

Senate Seat D: Sen. David Wilson, R, got by Stephen Wright and several other contenders in Wasilla.

Senate Seat H: Madeleine Gaiser
 was unopposed on the Republican side, got 1,222 votes, more than Sen. Bill Wielechowski’s 1,004, for this East Anchorage seat. She somewhat unknown but could give Bill-Wiel a run for his Big Union money.

Senate Seat M: Sen. Josh Revak, R,
 1,653, Borbridge 268, Metcalfe, 636.

Senate Seat N: Roger Holland, R,
 2,586, Sen. Cathy Giessel, 1,010.

House District 6: Mike Cronk, R, won with over 1,034 votes. Interior seat being vacated by Rep. Dave Talerico.

House District 7: Chris Kurka, R,
 won with 1,294, over former Rep. Lynn Gattis, 520.

House District 8: Kevin McCabe, R, 
won, 1,377, over Rep. Mark Neuman, 809.

House District 9: Rep. George Rauscher, R,
 won with 1,226 over challenger L.D. Howard, 857.

House District 10: Rep. David Eastman, R, holds the lead 1,129, to Jesse Sumner, 1,050.

House District 13: Ken McCarty, R, 
won with 510 over Rep. Sharon Jackson, 351.

House District 15: David Nelson, R, 
won with 407 over Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, 106.

House District 24: Tom McKay, R, 1,202
, over Rep. Chuck Kopp 601. More coverage on this key race later this morning.

House District 25: Rep. Mel Gillis, R,
 912, over Benjamin Rodriguez, 203.

House District 27: Rep. Lance Pruitt, R, unopposed, won 1,302 votes, and Liz Snyder, D, received less than half that. They face each other in November.

House District 28: James Kaufman, R,
 won 1,625 over Rep. Jennifer Johnston, 600.

House District 30: Ron Gillham, R,
 won with 1,168, with Gary Knopp at 258, and Kelly Wolfe, 474.

House District 36: Leslie Becker, R,
 unopposed, won 1,103 votes and will face Indie-Dem Dan Ortiz in November. She’ll need to increase her turnout to successfully upset him, as in 2018’s general election he got 4,256 votes.


Losers

Incumbents in general did poorly. Looks like Sen. Giessel, and Reps. Johnston, Kopp, LeDoux are out, others are in peril.

Alyse Galvin, running for U.S. House, has to be worried. She only received 23,786 votes at last count in her Democrat primary. Congressman Don Young, the Republican, received 36,394. Lots of absentees will close that gap.

Al Gross, D, running for U.S. Senate, only received 22,329 in his primary. U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan went over 45,689, more than double.

Curiosities / Too Close to Call

Senate Seat B: Robb Myers, R, 1,447 holds the lead over Sen. John Coghill, 1,321.

Senate Seat L: Stephen Duplantis 
is ahead with 1,351, Natasha Von Imhof has 1,266, but likely had a robust absentee ballot chase. Duplantis had a small campaign budget, not likely enough to do an absentee ballot program.

Senate Seat P: John Cox, R, 1,403, holds the lead over Sen. Gary Stevens, 1,334 for this Kodiak-Homer seat.

House District 1: Rep. Bart LeBon, R, won uncontested Republican Primary with 788 votes, but the Democrat votes totaled 778 amongst the two contenders on the D side, so this will again be a squeaker race in November, when LeBon faces Democrat winner Christopher Quist, who won 394 votes.

House District 2: Rep. Steve Thompson, R, holds a slight lead 356 to Dave Selle’s 343.

House District 5: Kevin McKinley, R, unopposed, won 914, which is more than his opponent received in his primary. Rep. Adam Wool, D, only Brough in 675, which may worry him going into November.

House District 23: Connie Dougherty, R, won with 441 to Kathy Henslee, 425. Too close to call.

House District 35: Kenny Skaflestad, R, 336, in a tight race with Arthur Martin, 326 for the Republican Primary. The winner takes on Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tompkins.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Thanks for the a.m. breakdown, Suzanne! I’m hoping this good vibe hangs on. Not to be pessimistic, but I recall the great feeling I had when Dunleavy was elected and R’s were abundant in the Legislature…..then the R’s added INO to their names and all hell broke loose. As conservatives, we MUST keep their feet to the fires AT ALL TIMES. Voter amnesia is a real thing. Lets not blow it.
    .
    Von Imhof may pull this one out after absentee ballots, but lets hope this is a strong message to her. Honeying up to Giessel and co. and acting like your the smartest person in the room only proves you are in the wrong room. The elitist attitude of knowing what is best for us ‘peons’ doesn’t work. Speedo boy in the Senate would be far worse than tinfoil crinkling Duplantis or Von Imhof as all he is a Republican saboteur and a shill for Vince Beltrami.

    • Don’t forget Von Imhof lives in Campbell Lake area and refused access to lake…

  • knowyouralaskajudges.com. Judges appear on the ballot in even-numbered years. PLEASE don’t forget about these judges that are up for retention. Check this site out and do your own homework. Don’t wait until a judge makes a grave mistake (think Judge Michael Corey) to take a stand.
    .
    Judicial retention elections are deemed “non partisan”, but I think we know that is BS. Lets continue the wave to the general election!

    • Fire all judges!

    • Every time judges show up on the ballot, I vote to not retain them. I don’t care if they’re great judges now , over time they turn into bad judges.

  • Giessel, pack your bags, New York awaits you.

  • In 30 years of voting in Alaska I have never had to wait more than a couple off minutes to vote, let alone seen the lines extending well out into the parking lot, until yesterday. And lest some blame COVID, people ignored social distancing and only the workers wore masks. This is a Republican community and my neighbors are conservative, so hopefully this voter motivation extends to November to return the socialist tyrants to oblivion.

    • Doing more than hoping I’m praying and working the phones in October.

    • There is a meme along the lines of “wait until the people who just want to be left alone get involved.” floating around the ‘net. (Wording varies).

      2020 demonstrated clearly that time is now. And the turn out at the primaries, as well as the incumbents getting their backsides handed to them is proof. Our elected officials have gone too far, and have stopped representing the people.

      My only hope is this energy continued to the next Anchorage Muni elections, as those people need to be cleared out wholesale. (Two exceptions. The rest are worthless.)

      • That would be me. My life is far too busy to interfere with other people, but our politicians seem to live for interfering in private lives-playing Mrs. Grundy as commonly known in many places. Send them all to Portland.

  • I’d like to see the rest of the stats for Dems and Indies also with your take on them please.

  • House District 23 is Kathy not Cathy and she had not lost. Waiting on absentee ballots. Thanks Suzanne

  • Very sad news about Eastman/Sumner.
    I suspect and hope Jesse will try again.

    • Absentee and mail in votes will be announced Aug 25. Hang tight.

    • I’d much rather see men of principal and valor in office over men who hope to get elected by promising to play the get-along game.

    • I do too. Jesse would be a strong asset in Juneau for sure. Albeit at least we get to keep him as our assembly rep for a little longer ☺️. He is an asset there as well!

  • Well, I am doing my Happy Dance!
    Giessel and Johnston are history and I am in their district. Giessel’s revisionist ads were particularly distasteful, and that is being polite.

    • I’m not in her district but glad to see karma work wonders this time around.

    • No kidding!!! Happiness and joy! 🤸🏼‍♀️🤸🏼‍♀️

  • Wow! Turning out the turncoats! Hallelujah for the hope we can have that maybe the citizens who are truly appreciative of the freedoms we have in our state and nation are waking up to the deceivers in our own ranks! Also, thanks for the detail that the pretend press doesn’t even bother to give any more!

  • In 1990, the late Jan Faiks represented most of the Anchorage Hillside in the State Senate. She amassed political power quickly and served as Finance chair and President of the Senate. Faiks was not particularly constrained by political principle; she was willing to do what it took to gain power. Confidence eventually mutated into arrogance and enemies emerged. Faiks was spectacularly defeated in the Republican primary by then Representative Virginia Collins, a low-key opponent who respected her constituents. Senator Giessel would have been wise to review this history before the beginning of the 2019 Legislative session. BTW, we are talking about much the same district.

    • I was pressed for time earlier. A few more things: Faiks outspent Collins by at least five to one, if not more. Faiks had more endorsements and interest group support. But when the voters tired of being looked down on from on high, support for Faiks evaporated quickly. The public does not care what leadership positions a legislator holds. A little humility before, during and after a Legislative session goes a long way.

  • In the District 9 race, LD Howard did pretty well for his first run. It’s too bad he didn’t win that race because LD Howard is the far better and more conservative candidate. George Rauscher has proven to be a terrible legislator for true republicans. But the establishment RINO’s got their way again with the help of that districts leadership such as the entrenched and controversial Carol Carman and the national Republican Party’s help.

  • Everyone else in the “family” voted absentee for Roger Holland. More votes coming your way, Senator.

  • Lots of absentee votes for Myers left to be counted. Sorry, John Coghill. You let us down too many times. There’s a bridge in the Interior that crosses a small slough. Maybe Myers can introduce a bill to get it named for you.

  • It’s back to bedpans for Giessel. Not all that different I suppose but this time as a handler rather than a producer.

  • It was awesome to vote on Tuesday! I walked into my designated polling place and asked if I had to wear a mask. “That’s your choice. We don’t care if you do or not.” was the reply. Me- “YAY! It’s great to live in a borough with common sense!”

    Was in and out faster than you could say “zippidity-do-daw”.

    • Why ask, make them tell you to wear one. Can you imagine the law suits if someone had insisted that you wear a mask? Think poll tax, and other Jim Crow laws.

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