Redistricting: New political boundary map renumbers many districts - Must Read Alaska
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Monday, January 17, 2022
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Redistricting: New political boundary map renumbers many districts

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The Alaska Redistricting Board was able to agree by consensus on most of the political boundaries from Barrow to Hyder.

But when it came to Anchorage, the fireworks began. Board member Bethany Marcum and Board member Nicole Borromeo each had a version of where the political boundaries would be, and in the end Borromeo, working on behalf of Democrats, won the day.

By a vote of 3-2, the Borromeo Anchorage map was approved. Only Marcum and Board Chair John Binkley voted for the other map that would have slightly favored Republicans, while Board member Budd Simpson, a Republican, said the Borromeo Anchorage map was more compact and appropriate.

Many of the districts have new numbers, which will require politicos to relearn the districts. For instance, District 15, represented by Rep. David Nelson, is in an area of Anchorage that will known as District 21. The old District 21 is in West Anchorage.

Also, some incumbents would have to run against each other in the new districting plan:

Wasilla Republicans Rep. David Eastman and Rep. Christopher Kurka now live in the same district boundaries and would have to run against each other next year. That leaves Eastman’s old district without an incumbent lawmaker.

Chugiak-Eagle River, Republicans Rep. Ken McCarty and Rep. Kelly Merrick are in the same district. South Eagle River / Arctic Valley, where Merrick serves, does not have an incumbent lawmaker going into the next election.

Democrat Rep. Harriet Drummond of District 18, who represents midtown and Spenard, and Democrat Rep. Zack Fields of District 19, who now represents downtown Anchorage, will have to run against each other to maintain a seat in the House. District 18 will not have an incumbent.

District 17 Rep. Andy Josephson and District 23 Chris Tuck, have been wedged into a district. Both are Democrats.

Republican Rep. Sara Rasmussen and Democratic Rep. Matt Claman, have been pushed into a district that could give them both trouble in the next election.

Some of the geographic features of the new map include:

District 1 encompasses Ketchikan, Coffman Cove and Wrangell, but not Petersburg.

District 2 has Petersburg, Kake, Hoonah, Elfin Cove, Sitka, Tenakee, Angoon, Port Alexander, stretching from Hollis and Craig at the southern end, all the way north to Yakutat.

District 3 puts Skagway, Klukwan, and Haines into the northern Juneau-dominated district, as well as Gustavus. The district has almost all of the Mendenhall Valley and is now represented by Rep. Andi Story.

District 4 is the downtown Juneau, Douglas, and North Douglas District, kept relatively stable, but add the airport area. The district is represented by Rep. Sarah Hannan.

District 5 keeps Cordova with Kodiak, and also has Seward. It is now represented by Republican Rep. Louise Stutes.

District 6 has Seldovia, Halibut Cove, Homer, Anchor Point, Ninilchik, and Kalifornsky. That district is now represented in part by Rep. Sarah Vance, a Republican.

District 7 is Kenai-Soldotna.

District 8 is the Nikiski-Cooper Landing-Hope area of the Kenai Peninsula.

District 9 is now Girdwood-Whittier, also portions of south Anchorage as far north as South High School.

District 10 is west of Potter Marsh in the southern end of Anchorage, all the way to Dimond Blvd and as far east as the New Seward Highway.

District 11 encompasses Campbell Lake and Sand Lake in Anchorage, with a northern boundary of Strawberry Road and eastern boundary of Northwood St.

District 12 has the Anchorage Ted Stevens International Airport surrounding neighborhoods, north to the Turnagain neighborhoods.

District 13 is much of what District 18 used to look like, encompassing Spenard, Rogers Park, and the Tudor area as far east as Lake Otis Parkway.

District 14 has Taku Campbell in the center of it. It stretches from International Blvd. and Tudor Road on the north, to Dimond Blvd. in the south, and east to New Seward Highway.

District 15 is the shape of South Dakota, a rectangle from Huffman Road in the south to Abbott Road in the north and west to New Seward Highway. It used to be called District 26.

District 16 is an East Anchorage district that starts at Service High School on Abbott Road in the southern end and goes north to Tudor Road. It’s mostly old District 25.

District 17 has the U-Med district, parts of Campbell Park, and parts of Russian Jack in East Anchorage.

District 18 is now the Muldoon, Scenic Foothills portion of East Anchorage. It features Cheney Lake and Nunaka Valley Park North.

District 19 has McPhee Ave. as its primary northern boundary and much of Mountain View, and goes east to Pine Street, while having a zig-zagging southern border that includes Reka Drive, 20th Avenue, and Northern Lights Blvd. It was mostly old District 19.

District 20 is still a downtown district, with West Anchorage High School, and east to Airport Heights Drive. It encompasses Alaska Regional Hospital and Merrill Field.

District 21 has Government Hill, JBER, and following the Glenn Highway, goes north as far as the Anchorage Landfill.

District 22 Chugiak and Eagle River, it includes the northern Glenn Highway in the Anchorage Municipality, and includes the north Anchorage Municipality boundary.

District 23 is a Northeast Anchorage District, from DeBarr Road on the south end to Glenn Highway on the north. It is Muldoon proper.

District 24 is much of southern Eagle River, with a lot of jagged boundaries.

District 25 has Fishhook, Sutton, Chickaloon, and Valdez. It is the Eastern Mat-Su plus Valdez.

District 26 is a jagged-edged Wasilla district that has Teeland Middle School, Colony High School, and Finger Lake in it.

District 27 is another jagged-edged district that has Wasilla in it, including East Fairview Loop Road, and the mouth of the Matanuska River. This is parts of old District 12 with addition of KGB Road.

District 28 has Palmer, Lazy Mountain, Butte, Knik, and north to the Matanuska River.

District 29 in Wasilla features the Curtis Menard Sports Center area, Meadow Lakes, Wasilla High School.

District 30 has Big Lake, Houston, Talkeetna, Denali Borugh, and as far north as Healy, Clear, and Anderson.

District 31 Fairbanks has Eielson, Farmers Loop, Pleasant Valley, Salcha, and Fox.

District 32 Fairbanks features the Fairbanks International Airport and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

District 33 Fairbanks is the urban Fairbanks area, as far north as Creamer’s Field.

District 34 is Fort Wainright and East Fairbanks, with part of Badger.

District 35 is the North Pole area, including part of Badger.

District 36-40 are the rural districts from the Canadian Border to the Arctic Ocean, Bering Sea, and Gulf of Alaska.

Many tasks remain to be done prior to adoption of a Final Proclamation of Redistricting, due no later than November 10, 2021. 

There may be lawsuits over the map; Valdez is likely to sue over its inclusion in District 25. They have already submitted a 300-page testimony document that is in opposition to be included in the Mat-Su.

The Board is scheduled to meet at 9 am at the Board offices, 3901 Old Seward Hwy., Ste 141 on Monday, Nov. 8. It will be working on pairing Senate districts to the House districts it voted on on Friday.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • This is exactly why voting for a constitution amendment and opening up the Alaska constitution is not a grand slam of an idea that’ll benefits the majority of Alaskans. Though it might sound like a great idea where we can change Alaska for the better we’re all human and almost anyone can be bought. What might sounds great to our ears can be terrible when it’s put down on paper especially if it’s paid for by special interest.

  • So happy that they districted out Kelly Merrick to make her face a more conservative incumbent but dissapointed that Kurka and Eastman have to fight each other..

    • Is Mike Taloviero in Merrick’s district?

    • Kurka Or Eastman Could beat David Wilson if they ran for Senate. I almost won with 7 others running in the valley.

      • Living in the Kurka/Wilson District I will say that Senator Wilson actually returned my call knowing I was 100% not happy with him and took the time to politely explain things and talk his position out with me and explain the budget process this last time. That took stones to call a person you know was angry and not happy with you but you know what he did it and I respect his guts for doing what elected officials should do. Face the music on votes and position and he explained things I actually had wrong about the process, without making me feel stupid. Again big respect to him for that.

        Kurka on the other hand never responded to any of my requests for information or questions for or against his positions and never once explained where he was on any position I asked about. In fact watching him and Eastman laugh and giggle in session sitting next to each other was unprofessional and child like on the TV feed. Kurka was hand picked and groomed by Eastman and it showed in his voting record. How Eastman voted Kurka voted.

        I don’t have to like the position of my elected officials but when I vote for you for “Change” and you dont respond to my requests or any of my emails or phone calls well you show me you aren’t much different than the last. Elected officials like Kurka need to remember they work for the voters of their district and part of that is responding to adultly worded emails asking adult questions about budget issues and positions.

    • Ryan, I think Eastman is a bright fellow who needs to remain active in expressing his opinions and teaching others, Eastman however is also someone who has proven to be a very ineffective leader. This kid Kurka looks to be someone who can work with others to accomplish something. Politics is not about being Right 100% of the time, it’s about realizing the possible. The Republican Party in Alaska is Leaderless and a drifting rudderless ship, largely due to a rigid ideology that has pulled in it’s sails, meaning it has no understanding of how the world really works. Meanwhile the Pirates known as the Democrats are zipping about on their jet skis plundering our seas unchecked by the Republicans. From the Guv “Big Mike” on down our party is a ship of fools. BTW, My name is Robert and I am a recovering Republican… The question is Ryan, will we get Smart before it’s too late?

      • Yes Representative Eastman doesn’t play along to get along well with others even within his own party but in the grand scheme of thing I think this is why he keeps winning his reelection bids. His constituents probably wants a leader who actually stands firm in his principal. If you think about it why is it only always that the republicans are the ones to have to work across the aisle with the democrats and not the democrats working with the republicans. Even when republicans outnumbered the democrats holding office for some reason the democrats still always have the upper hand.

        • It’s because on any given issue there are a large number of RINOs who agree with democrats

      • Have you looked at Kurka’s votes ? they are exactly the same as Eastman’s. In fact Eastman convinced him to run for that seat. He is just an inflexible and hasn’t accomplished a thing.

        He also likes to not contact anyone in his district when they ask question and has yet to respond to any position questions aside from abortion and the 2nd amendment. The guy ran on a platform of “change” well the only change I see is that at least the person before him I didnt agree with actually sent out information on positions and updates. Kurka does nothing

  • Dunleavy’s hand picked board appointee was the deciding vote that gave us this map which is carefully gerrymandered to protect Democrat incumbents. This may be the single most consequential failure of the Dunleavy Administration.

    • Weak on the PFD, weak on voter fraud, weak on COVID Tyranny, and weak on Democrat Gerrymandering. Mike Dunleavy

  • How will this affect the districts of MOA? I’m less than three blocks from District 4 ( Kathy Henslee New seat next April) but am assigned to KPV District 3.

    • Alaska Statutes 29.20.060-120 contains the provisions related to Assembly apportionment and composition. Once the Redistricting Board adopts a final plan, the Assembly has two months to pass a resolution declaring whether or not it is malapportioned. Since the municipal charter was amended last year to expand the size of the Assembly starting next year, this is pretty much guaranteed. Suzanne wrote a piece a while back speculating on how this could affect the entire body, not just the five incumbents already scheduled to face reelection plus the election for the new seat. Given what’s occurred with the Assembly in recent times, the key here is in how transparent that process will be.

  • Means a hill of beans (not!) as long as there’s mail in stuffing

  • Where can we get a copy of the new map? Website?

  • Why are there always lawsuits after the redistricting board makes their new maps? Could it be due to the fact that we have five people playing God with our districts based on a single year’s worth of data? Even if this is the “final” map, we just know there will be a lawsuit over including this village or this Anchorage neighborhood in so-and-so district… or that this district doesn’t have the right racial makeup… In the end redistricting is just another thing to fight over in a state that has plenty enough real issues to deal with already!

  • In my opinion, the comments here and in other forums often appear to be concerns about the redistricting map specific to the commentors own geographic area as opposed to the entire balance of the decision-making balance for all Alaskans.

    The comments are very introspective and internalized.

    Which is a form of “micro-economic” thinking.

    The Alaska Constitution is written broadly enough to allow for other data factors to be formulated to balance the representation of Alaskans through this redistricting process.

    Population is not explicitly said in law, to be the sole data point in redistricting.

    It is said that every ten years, after the U.S. Census is updated, the redistricting review will be conducted.
    That is a timefeame mandate.

    It is not expressly said that census data is the only data available in creating the framework or baseline measure of redistricting.

    If population was the only factor, there would be no need for a redistricting review board. The census numbers would solely define the redistricting map and that would be that.

    Representation for decision-making at the Alaska State Legislature is more than the historic population factor.

    That archaic misnomer has been worn out.

    Alaskans statewide, are exercising their voices and sharing what they learn.

    The redistricting process has been a reflection of how the revenue centers of Alaska have been underrepresented and disregarded.

    Revenue centers of Alaska are seasoned and successful in accessing and utilizing “macro-economic” information to analyze and to execute competitive business strategies.

    Alaskans should not roll over for a skewed framework of decision making that has been a thing of the past.

    This redistricting board has the opportunity to institute equality for all Alaskans.

    They will achieve this for the first time in Alaska’s History by using credible data points that recognizes relevant and tangible arguments in redrawing this map.

    Alaskans should not be canceled and ghosted in decision-making.

    It makes me think of the Washington DC locals outcry of, “Taxation Without Representation ”

    I think we are all well beyond silently accepting policy interpretations by others, without verifying firsthand for ourselves.

  • The fundamental problem is that the Legislature is too small. The res publica has a poisonous attitude towards the Legislature that goes back in my experience to at least the days when the Anchorage Times was the primary megaphone for a Capital move and never missed an opportunity to criticize the costs and the behavior of the Legislature, and in those days there was plenty to criticize.

    Whatever bad behavior and wretched excess they might have engaged in the cost of the entire Legislative Branch would be lost in the rounding errors in DHSS or DEED. The reality is that outside Anchorage and Fairbanks districts are so large geographically that the residents have little in common with each other and there is almost no likelihood of any voter having any meaningful in-person contact with their Representative or Senator. The current arrangement essentially mandates irrational or self-serving gerrymandering.

    I lived in Juneau’s Mendenhall Valley, District 4 back then, for nearly thirty years. The Mendenhall Valley isn’t much different economically, socially, or politically from suburban Anchorage or Fairbanks. In many ways the Mendenhall Valley is to Juneau as Eagle River is to Anchorage. For a dose of irony, there are a lot more public employees and retirees in my South Anchorage neighborhood than there were in my Mendenhall Valley neighborhood in Juneau. Other than you can see salt water from most places, the Mendenhall Valley has almost nothing in common economically, socially, or politically with Klukwan, Haines, or Skagway. I do note that they managed to keep the People’s Republic of Downtown Juneau/Douglas intact as a communist, excuse me, Democrat sinecure.

    We need to have an honest conversation about this. There really ought to be some likelihood that an Alaskan voter might wind up in the checkout line at Fred Meyer or the AC with their Representative or Senator. You shouldn’t have to pay $100, $1000, or much more just for the opportunity to gaze on the reflected radiance of a member of the Alaska Legislature at some contrived “grip ‘n grin.”

  • Art Chance: I Agree that the geographical areas are extremely large outside of Anchorage and Fairbanks.

    I DISAGREE with the part of your statement that I put into quotes.

    “The reality is that outside Anchorage and Fairbanks districts are so large geographically that the residents have little in common with each other”.

    The key messageI extracted from your statement is your belief that the collective population OUTSIDE Anchorage and Fairbanks does not meet the criteria for redistricting based on the the U.S. Constitution.

    That being the “commonality factor between people” within geographic areas as a legal foundation for redistricting legitimacy.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the other part of your statement that you said,

    “and there is almost no likelihood of any voter having any meaningful in-person contact with their Representative or Senator.”

    The Alaska Redistricting Board today voted for a Senate map that, in my opinion:

    1. Disregards the U.S. Constitutional law of commonality in the Anchorage/Eagle River new area as is easily substantiated by the demographic data within this Census..
    2. Adds a 2nd Senatorial position for Eagle River that gives preference to a population within a small geographic area of South central Alaska.
    3. Further perpetuates the “taxation without representation” governance system.
    4. Doubling down on the “taxation without representation” governance model that 3 redistricting members voted for, needs to be challenged.

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