In the Anchorage mayoral election, Forrest Dunbar has conceded to Dave Bronson, but he went out swinging in a classic Friday night news dump.
In a Facebook Post on May 21, Dunbar said that with the most recent results, and the official canvass nearly complete, it is “clear that Dave Bronson will be Anchorage’s next Mayor.”
He thanked his team of supporters and was pleased to know that more than 49 percent of the votes cast went for him.
“In any other year, this would have been enough votes to win; however, this year the Municipal Election saw record turnout, driven largely by intense feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic. For the last two weeks we have had observers down at the Election Center and have been reaching out to a number of voters who need to “cure” their ballots,” Dunbar wrote.
Then, rather than accept that the Bronson campaign had been effective and that in the competition of ideas, Bronson had prevailed, he criticized the Bronson volunteers for being too aggressive.
“During that time, we have witnessed aggressive, confrontational, and frankly bizarre behavior from Bronson supporters and staff toward Election Center workers. Their actions have caused the Election Center to revoke observer access to members of the general public, ban at least one Bronson campaign observer from entering the Center, and needlessly consumed Election Center staff time responding to baseless challenges. Coupled with their allies on the Assembly and in the far-right media, the Bronson campaign is strangely casting doubt on the election that they themselves are winning,” he wrote, driving a wedge between the differing accounts of what occurred at the Election Office.
He then went on to predict that activists would use the various mistakes in the election to launch “a concerted attempt to repeal the Anchorage Vote By Mail system, despite the demonstrable success of that same system as seen in this year’s record turnout.”
Dunbar went further. He called Bronson a liar.
“During the campaign, Mr. Bronson did not tell the truth about the COVID-19 pandemic, did not tell the truth regarding the Municipal response to that pandemic, and did not tell the truth about my record,” Dunbar said.
“Nevertheless, in the coming months and years he will have the opportunity to govern in a different fashion from how he campaigned. He has an Assembly that is deeply committed to the public good of Anchorage. If he does indeed govern from the ‘center right,’ as he has claimed he would, and avoid extremism, he will likely find many issues on which he can ‘count to six’ on the Assembly.
“He will also have the benefit of a huge amount of Federal aid flowing into our community, much of which is now dedicated to programs to help small businesses, critical non-profit partners, efforts to retrain and provide new opportunities to our workforce, and more,” he wrote of Bronson.
Must Read Alaska declared Bronson the victor on Wednesday, May 19.
In his Facebook concession on Friday, Dunbar challenged Bronson on various issues where he feels Bronson has shortcomings:
“Mr. Bronson will have several early tests: will he retain a number of the professional, nonpartisan heads of Departments that deliver core services to the people of Anchorage? Or will he appoint ideologically extreme political allies in their place? Will he tackle our looming homelessness challenge at the Sullivan Arena as our FEMA funds come to an end, or will he pursue the approach he espoused on the campaign trail, which we know to be unconstitutional? Will he compromise and work with the Assembly to pass ordinances and budget measures? Or will he continue to refer to those elected officials as ‘idiots’ and ‘trash,’ and perpetuate the divisions in Anchorage that he and his allies stoked so eagerly this past year? We shall see,” Dunbar wrote, refraining from engaging in any effort to bridge the divide, and not offering to work with Bronson to move the city forward.
His words echoed the editorial written by the Anchorage Daily News, which also said Bronson would have to bend to the will of the liberal assembly.
“One thing is certain: for the next year I will continue to serve on the Anchorage Assembly, alongside my dedicated and experienced colleagues. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. My colleagues and I will not stop doing the detailed, nonpartisan, community-centric work that constitutes the bulk of what we do at the Municipality. We will seek always to deliver core public services to the people of Anchorage, with an eye towards quality of life, public safety, and the future of Anchorage. So too will the Municipality’s many hardworking, service-oriented employees within the departments, utilities, and enterprises. Mr. Bronson now has a unique opportunity to join in that work, entrusted with one of the most important positions in all of Alaska. Most of Anchorage will be hoping that unity can be found, extremism can be rejected, and facts and truth will guide our decision making,” Dunbar wrote, once again labeling Bronson’s voters as extremists.