Dave Bronson, mayor of Anchorage, and First Lady Deb Bronson were at the City Clerk’s office at midday on Tuesday to officially file for reelection.
Candidates must file officially with the city as well as with the regulatory Alaska Public Office Commission, a step Bronson had completed a year ago.
Unlike the fanfare of competitor Suzanne LaFrance, who filed last week with a cadre of comrades holding campaign signs, the Bronsons were just there for the formality, not for the press attention.
And, as is the case with Anchorage’s local media, there was little attention paid to the Bronsons as they completed the forms for candidacy. Instead, the Anchorage Daily News had stories about Democrat candidates Suzanne LaFrance and Chris Tuck.
Bronson, a fiscal, pro-business conservative, faces a host of other candidates, but he is the only one among them who has won a citywide race. The Democrats are backing LaFrance and Tuck, who are polling second and third in a recent union-sponsored poll. Bill Popp, formerly head of the economic development agency for Anchorage, is also said to be in the top four.
Bronson has been battered by the Democrats on the Assembly and in the media and liberal blogs. But he did overcome a well-known candidate, Forrest Dunbar, who outspent him three years ago, only to lose in the runoff. In a city that has become more liberal in recent years, that was considered an accomplishment for someone who had never run for office before, while his opponent Dunbar had served on the Assembly and had once run for Congress against Congressman Don Young.
This election will probably also see a runoff, due to the number of candidates who have filed. Anchorage, by decree of the Assembly, only votes by mail and ballots will go out about March 13 from the printing facility in Washington state. The ballots must be turned into drop boxes or be postmarked by April 2.
Runoff ballots would be mailed Runoff Ballot Packages mailed to Qualified Anchorage Voters on May 6, with ballots due back or postmarked by May 14. The Anchorage Assembly will certify the runoff results on May 31.
Candidates have until Friday to file for mayor, for the one Assembly seat representing Chugiak-Eagle River, for School Board seats, or for a number of road service area board of supervisor seats. More information is at this city link.
After filing, Bronson went back to work and prepared for the 5 pm Anchorage Assembly meeting, where he issued a veto of expanded subpoena powers the Assembly had granted itself, raising a red flag about the weaponization of subpoena authority. The Assembly overrode the veto, 9-3, a classic demonstration of the difficulty this Assembly has posed for the mayor, who came into office on July 1, 2021.