Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Anchorage, Alaska 2008 Municipal Election Results - Assembly Takes A Left Turn, Voters Open Their Wallets Wide

Note: Post updated at 12:40 P.M. April 2nd, 2008 to include links to stories not previously available. Updates posted in green.

While I do not have the polling resources available to pros like Dave Dittman and Ivan Moore, I've been keeping up with the campaign. Based upon public feedback to various sources, particularly to the variety of Anchorage Daily News public blogs, I smelled a left turn in the making for the Anchorage Assembly.

In addition, the war in Iraq, the three Alaska lawmakers who are now in prison for corruption, and the fact that both Ted Stevens and Don Young are under investigation have produced sort of a vindictive climate against Republicans. Republican unity was further fractured at the recent state convention when Governor Sarah Palin and her "Palinbots" orchestrated an unsuccessful palace coup against Alaska Republican boss Randy Ruedrich, even though Ruedrich has behaved since being fined $12,500 years ago and has not obstructed Governor Palin in any way.

All these factors conspired to create a bad night for some of the more conservative Assembly and School Board candidates in the race. Complete results HERE

On March 26th, ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins mentioned in the Alaska Politics blog that in 2007, candidates who raised the most money prevailed in five of the six races. It looks like that pattern has been replicated this year. The candidate in each race who raised more money this year is tagged with an asterisk. Incumbent candidates denoted in boldface.

Media story links:

(1). Anchorage Daily News stories HERE and HERE and HERE.

(2). KTUU Channel 2 stories HERE and HERE.

(3). ADN Alaska Politics blog: Kyle Hopkins reports that voter turnout was 21.5%, down from 31.1% in 2007 and 35.2% in 2006, when a mayoral race was included. And he also confirmed that the candidate who raised the most money once again won in five of the six Assembly races last night, based on APOC reports filed seven days before the election.

(4). Additional perspective provided from the progressive point of view in a series of posts on the Independent Alaskan blog. One of the few progressive blogs that consistently uses civil discourse.

ASSEMBLY 1 – SEAT B DOWNTOWN

BLANKENSHIP, Chris 537 24.29%
*FLYNN, Patrick 1633 73.86%
Write-in Votes 41 1.85%
Analysis: The outcome was no surprise, although I thought Blankenship would get 30 percent at worst. Patrick Flynn simply outspent, outclassed, and overmatched Chris Blankenship in every possible way. And Blankenship's public relations gaffes buried him further; apparently other Downtown District residents are less forgiving than me. However, Blankenship has graciously accepted the outcome and has posted a message of gratitude to his supporters HERE.


ASSEMBLY 2 – SEAT C EAGLE RIVER CHUGIAK

STARR, Bill 2874 45.40%
LEMONS, Anthony 759 11.99%
*Write-in Votes 2698 42.62%
Note: The vast majority of write-in votes will be for Janet Brand. If "Write-In" gets the most number of votes, then the Write-in votes will have to be hand-counted to determine who got them. This could delay determining the winner. However, it looks like Bill Starr has won by a large enough margin to make a recount unnecessary. Starr made an impressive comeback from an attempted witch-hunt against him over an earthy personal phone call between him and Dan Coffey, and the KUDO-niks tried to make a Federal case out of it. Anthony Lemons hurt himself by not appearing on KAKM's "Running", although if Janet Brand had not been in the race, I think Lemons would have easily pulled 30% and possibly as much as 35% of the vote. Of the 2698 write-in votes, 2549 were for Janet Brand.


ASSEMBLY 3 – SEAT E WEST ANCHORAGE

*DRUMMOND, Harriet A. 4109 51.78%
HOAK, Bert 415 5.23%
JACKSON, Sherri R. 3360 42.34%
Write-in Votes 52 0.66%
Analysis: This outcome was also no surprise. Harriet Drummond would have won this race even without Bert Hoak's presence. Drummond was a much more formidable opponent for Sherri Jackson this year than Matt Claman was last year. Drummond adopted several conservative-sounding principles from the outset, including the idea of public budget review teams for the municipal budget. Drummond also was ready to go from day one, to include her website. Sherri Jackson was playing catch-up throughout the entire race, and her repetitive mantra of "I will reduce your property taxes" sounded lukewarm when compared against Drummond's incisive, tailored approach. Besides, the results of the bond votes imply that many voters no longer care about property taxes.


ASSEMBLY 4 – SEAT G MIDTOWN ANCHORAGE

TRAINI, Dick 3259 46.86%
*GRAY-JACKSON, Elvi 3610 51.91%
Write-in Votes 86 1.24%
Analysis: This outcome is contaminated because of the abortive attempt to sue Dick Traini out of the race, although Elvi Gray-Jackson's margin of victory implies that even with a normal campaign, she might have won by a couple of percentage points. Traini earlier stated that he would challenge the election if he lost because of the contamination factor. Update: On April 4th, Traini announced he would NOT challenge the outcome.


ASSEMBLY 5 – SEAT I EAST ANCHORAGE

BAUER, Paul 3001 43.62%
*GUTIERREZ, Mike 3831 55.68%
Write-in Votes 48 0.70%
Analysis: This outcome was also not a surprise. Mike Gutierrez simply out-charmed Paul Bauer from start to finish. Bauer's aborted immigration ordinance apparently was held against him by too many people. In addition, Bauer could not satisfactorily explain some of his "No" votes, like his vote against the new Clark Middle School. Gutierrez further drove voters into his camp by relentlessly playing the "crime" card; East Anchorage has experienced some prominently-publicized shootings during the past year.


ASSEMBLY 6 – SEAT K SOUTH ANCHORAGE

BIRCH, Chris 5188 52.46%
BUSICK, Jesse 402 4.07%
*KENNY, Mike 4227 42.74%
Write-in Votes 72 0.73%
Analysis: This outcome is definitely no surprise. Mike Kenny was one of the most overrated and overhyped candidates I've seen in a long time. South Anchorage residents decided they wanted their seat to remain their property and not become the property of the Teamsters, and so decided to hire Chris Birch for three more years of unspectacular but steady representation. Hats off to South Anchorage for seeing through Mike Kenny.


SCHOOL BOARD - SEAT C

BAILEY, Jim 3362 9.99% (withdrew from race after withdrawal deadline)
BOYLE, David 1910 5.68%
DUNSMORE, David 3271 9.72%
HIGGINS, Pat 8622 25.62%
CARRIGAN, Leigh 2372 7.05%
SANCHEZ, Gilbert 3110 9.24%
PRATT, Steve 2525 7.50%
PLUNKETT, Kathleen 7186 21.35%
PRYDE, Scott 748 2.22%
Write-in Votes 548 1.63%
Analysis: I thought Pat Higgins would do well, consider the establishment push (including the Teamsters endorsement) he got, and he succeeded. I thought both David Boyle and David Dunsmore would do better.


SCHOOL BOARD - SEAT D

TRUELOVE, Toni L. 6853 21.60%
STEINER, John 17407 54.86%
LABELLE, James 6946 21.89%
Write-in Votes 525 1.65%
Analysis: No surprise here. John Steiner is a noted fiscal conservative who acts as a brake against the more spendthrift members of the school board. One of the classier politicians in town; one of the few conservatives never flamed by the KUDO-niks. I thought James LaBelle would have finished a much stronger second; he campaigned steadily and vigorously, while Toni Truelove failed to respond to several candidate surveys and did not show up for KAKM's "Running". How Truelove got as much as 21% will go down as one of the unfathomable mysteries of Anchorage political history. She must have a lot of relatives.


PROP 1 - FACILITY REPAIR AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

YES 23994 56.29%
NO 18631 43.71%


PROP 2 - SCHOOLS ADDITION, RENEWAL AND DESIGN

YES 24389 57.05%
NO 18360 42.95%


PROP 3 - EDUCATIONAL CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS

YES 24087 56.38%
NO 18638 43.62%


PROP 4 - POOL FACILITIES IMPROVEMENT - AREAWIDE

YES 25975 60.84%
NO 16717 39.16%


PROP 4 - POOL FACILITIES IMPROVE PARKS - SVC AREA

YES 21880 61.38%
NO 13764 38.62%


PROP 5 - ROADS IMPROVEMENT - AREAWIDE

YES 25671 60.34%
NO 16875 39.66%


PROP 6 - PUBLIC SAFETY IMPROVEMENT

YES 25929 60.96%
NO 16602 39.04%


PROP 7 - FIRE SERVICE IMPROVEMENT - AREAWIDE

YES 24977 59.79%
NO 16800 40.21%


PROP 8 - TAXI LIMO CHARTER AMENDMENT

YES 14595 34.96%
NO 27153 65.04%

Analysis: Despite inflationary pressures, Anchorage voters seemed ready to open their wallets wide tonight. All revenue bonds were approved by comfortable margins, even the pool bond. This is quite unusual.

The rejection of Proposition 8 was no surprise. Not only did the Anchorage Daily News and the Voice of the Times both advocate against it, but the permit owners unleashed an expensive and somewhat sensationalist ad campaign against it. I opposed it myself because it might have resulted in the catastrophic devaluation of existing taxi permits, reducing them to as little as 1 percent of their current value. I could not buy off on imposing that type of loss upon property owners through government action alone. What's puzzling is that a self-proclaimed free-market apostle like KFQD's Dan Fagan enthusiastically supported this proposition. As a free-marketeer, Fagan should be defending private property rights. Fagan likes the free market, particularly when it benefits HIM. He's not so enthusiastic when it benefits THE OTHER GUY, however.

3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. In response to the KSKA forum, I took one for the team...

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  3. Thanks for your response, Anthony, and by doing that, you've left a marker with the Republican establishment which you can collect on next time you run for office, even if you choose not to accept campaign contributions again in the future. The Republican establishment can and will find other ways to help you out.

    Good job, nonetheless.

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