JESSE KIEHL TO RUN FOR DENNIS EGAN’S SEAT
Legislative aide and City and Borough Assemblyman Jesse Kiehl has announced in front of Alaska’s Capitol his run for Senate.
Kiehl has been the aide to Sen. Dennis Egan, who is retiring from Senate District Q and whose seat Kiehl hopes to win. He is a Democrat and the announcement has been expected since Sen. Dennis Egan announced his retirement.
Kiehl lives just steps from the Capitol in what is likely the most liberal precinct in the state. Precinct 2 voted for Bill Walker for governor by 83 percent in 2014, and earlier that year had voted to repeal SB 21 by 83 percent.
SB 21 was legislation that lowered some taxes for the oil industry, something that Walker and the Democrats vehemently opposed.
The rest of Senate District Q is not as liberal as Kiehl’s downtown Juneau precinct. House District 33 and 34 that make up Senate District Q voted just 56 percent for Walker and voted to repeal SB 21 by 65 percent in 2014.
Whether Kiehl is too far to the left for the entire District Q, which stretches to Haines, Skagway, and Gustavus, will be the subject of much coffee shop and church hall discussion in coming months. As a professional government worker for most of his life, he has no experience in the private sector. He worked as an aide to Sen. Kim Elton before Elton left to take a job in the Obama Administration. And Kiehl clearly has the support of the Alaska Democratic Party.
It seems increasingly unlikely that a Republican will join the race.