By SCOTT LEVESQUE
The District 15 House primary race, which featured incumbent Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux pitted against primary challenger David Nelson, garnered a lot of interest around the state.
LeDoux is facing one felony charge and nine misdemeanors charges in conjunction with voter misconduct related to her 2014 and 2018 campaigns. The charges originated from an investigation into the 2018 Republican House primary.
The joint investigation by Alaska State Troopers and the FBI revealed LeDoux lobbied for individuals living outside District 15 to vote in the 2014 and 2018 primary and general elections.
LeDoux’s former chief of staff, Lisa Simpson and Simpson’s son, Caden Vaught, have been accused of soliciting votes from individuals living outside the district. Both have been charged with several counts of voter misconduct.
As LeDoux entered the 2020 elections, serious questions loomed about voter confidence and the possibility of reelection. Those questions were answered last night as challenger David Nelson took a commanding lead in the District 15 House primary garnering 407 votes to LeDoux’s 106.
LeDoux won fewer votes than the leading Democrat on the other “ADL” ballot. Lyn Franks received 188 votes and will proceed to the November ballot to face off with Nelson.
The election results were consistent with a recent poll conducted between August 11 – 13 of 121 registered Republican voters in District 15. In that poll, LeDoux had 19 percent support, Nelson had 49 percent and undecided were 32 percent in the Republican primary.
But the pending court case did not do LeDoux any favors in the court of public opinion.
In District 15, voter turnout has always been a challenge. In 2014 only 34% of the district voted compared to 2016 at 37%, and in 2018 the percentage dropped to 28%.
What is clear is that voters in JBER-Muldoon want a new face representing their interests in Juneau.