In a letter to potential donors, mayoral candidate Forrest Dunbar said that “With regards to the Mayor’s race, my colleagues have decided to follow the Charter and NOT set a Special Election. The election will occur in April, as planned.”
That’s not what the charter says, and the Assembly most certainly did not follow the charter, but instead the liberal majority made a decision that having a special election for mayor would be too costly and confusing, as it would come right in the middle of the regular mayoral election.
“A vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled at a regular or special election held not less than 90 days from the time the vacancy occurs,” the Charter reads.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz resigned effective Oct. 23, that means at some point in late January, Anchorage residents should, by law, be allowed to vote on a temporary mayor who would serve until July 1, when the mayor-elect from the regularly scheduled April 6 election takes office.
But that would crimp the term of Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson and the liberal Assembly majority, which did not want to lose power between January and July.
Dunbar is holding a teleconferenced Zoom fundraiser on Nov. 19 for his candidacy, and he has 100 Democrat heavyweights signed on as co-hosts, such as Assembly members Chris Constant, Suzanne LaFrance, Meg Zalatel, and Pete Petersen — all who voted to not have a special election for acting mayor.
Dunbar had recused himself from the vote because he is an announced candidate. He promises a revitalized downtown, better trails, and “embracing a sense of Indigenous place,” if he is elected.