By ALEX GIMARC
As of this writing, just about all the ballots have arrived at the Municipal Clerk’s Office and a few are still being counted.
The election will be certified in a few weeks. At the top level, it appears we conservatives once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. From here, it looks like conservatives (Republicans) stayed home in droves. The question is: Why?
That being said, there was a lot of things going for us Disgust with the Homeless Industrial Complex the Assembly is busily constructing; disgust with the CRT / equity / grooming factory the Anchorage School District is turning itself into; Assembly redistricting — all of that should have helped and motivated our voters. Yet it didn’t.
Basic numbers for election turnout are available from the Municipal Clerk. Ballot return data is found here. Election summary as of the April 7 count is located here. As of this writing, it looks like turnout is down around 8,000 from 2022. My guess is that conservatives / Republicans (as usual), stayed home.
Multiple reasons for the conservative low turnout have been floating around. These include:
- Irritation with Mayor Dave Bronson on the right.
- The loud, public Amy Demboski resignation from the Muni along with the open letter to the Assembly appears to have taken down Brian Flynn in West Anchorage, perhaps our best candidate this cycle. The AFL/CIO / AEA affiliated 907 Initiative took part of that letter and used it to go after Flynn’s wife, purchasing officer at the Muni, for sole source contracts, which resulted in a 20% loss by Flynn to an Austin Quinn-Davidson clone.
- Interest in Scott Myers running in Eagle River was so poor that he was unable to fundraise and had to make a significant personal contribution to his campaign.
- Finally, we have the out-of-state PR / campaign firm, Axiom Strategies / AX Media, recommended by both Jamie Allard and Mayor Bronson, rack up six losses in Assembly races this year. They managed to lose the Kathy Henslee race in Midtown last year too. Tom Anderson has been arguing against using them for years. It might be time to listen to him.
By-mail elections are different, as once the ballots go out, for the most part both the candidate and the campaign no longer matter, with the exception of hammering someone with weeks of well-funded negative ads.
The thing that matters the most is getting voted ballots from your side returned to the Muni Clerk.
The Clerk’s office provides a daily list of ballots returned with names, addresses, and precincts. Compare that list with the list of ballots sent and you instantly have a list of who hasn’t voted. The lists are available to anyone who requests them.
I understand that such an effort was run on “our side” this election, albeit unsuccessfully. Numbers are instructive, as our side needs to generate around 2,000 additional votes than they managed to do the last couple elections to win an Assembly seat.
For an area-wide election like the School Board, that number is around 5,000.
With around 173,000 unvoted ballots the last two Muni elections, that shouldn’t be too difficult of a task. Note that Democrats, the unions, and their NGOs are perfectly comfortable badgering their voters into voting, even when they don’t want to do so. Our side and voters? Not so much.
We are well into the arm-waving and finger pointing part of the after-action analysis. Rather than joining in blame placing, I would propose running a test, preferably two independent tests to find out why conservatives / Republicans stayed home. Was it Bronson? Was it the out-of-state ad agency? Was it something else? I think a Muni-wide survey of our voters who didn’t vote or donate would be in order to find out why they didn’t participate this year. Poll 2,000 – 4,000 of them, Assembly district by Assembly district, and get some real answers. I don’t care if the results are widely known outside the campaigns, as they would confirm what Democrats already know.
There are those on our side that have been demanding we do this for the last several elections, but the smart guys on our side have not been supportive, so it was never done. Turns out our smart guys aren’t all that smart, being predisposed to keep doing the same thing election after election expecting different results. Fools.
Such a thing costs money and time. Who would fund this? The putative Reelect Bronson campaign should be one interested party. So would the Alaska Republican Party, as if they stand idly by and allow Anchorage to swing blue, there isn’t a lot of hope that the Legislature, governorship, and congressional delegations won’t quickly follow.
Get some real answers. Then act on those answers. nything else is arm-waving, chair throwing, and wishful thinking.
Alex Gimarc lives in Anchorage since retiring from the military in 1997. His interests include science and technology, environment, energy, economics, military affairs, fishing and disabilities policies. His weekly column “Interesting Items” is a summary of news stories with substantive Alaska-themed topics. He was a small business owner and Information Technology professional.