Thursday, April 17, 2008

Democrat Eric Croft Formally Jumps Into Race To Become The Next Mayor Of Anchorage, Alaska In 2009

Post updated January 15th, 2009 to include links to his two websites.

On April 16th, 2008, former Alaska State Representative Eric Croft (pictured at left) announced his intention to run for mayor of Anchorage in 2009. Story reported in both the Anchorage Daily News and the ADN's Alaska Politics blog.

Croft formalized his declaration by filing a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) on Wednesday in order to start raising money for his bid to succeed Mayor Mark Begich, who cannot run for mayor again because of term limits.

Update January 15th, 2009: Eric Croft now has two websites:

Croft's basic goals:

(1). Increase revenue sharing from the state: He believes the state should give Anchorage twice as much as it gets now to reflect increased oil revenues. Wants to hold property taxes down; opposes sales tax.

(2). Fight crime more vigorously: Crime-fighting efforts must better reflect the increasing needs commensurate with Anchorage's increasing population. One innovative proposal - put pictures of those caught trolling for hookers on billboards.

Croft said that he'll stay on his job as a city prosecutor for now, although he does not intend to accept donations from defense attorneys who deal in city criminal cases, or - of course - from people he's prosecuting.

Two others have already announced their intentions to run for mayor, including the conservative former West Anchorage Assemblyman Dan Sullivan and the liberal current East Anchorage Assemblywoman Sheila Selkregg, who was just chosen to be the vice-chair of the Anchorage Assembly. The new Assembly Chairman, Matt Claman, has also flirted with the idea of running for mayor, but with both Croft and Selkregg now in the race, a Claman candidacy becomes much less likely. The possibility that Croft and Selkregg could split the liberal vote and hand the mayoral election to Sullivan does exist, and this scenario happened in reverse in 2003 when Rick Mystrom took enough votes from George Wuerch to get Mark Begich elected.

However, Croft said he's talked to Claman and Selkregg, and that they've agreed to keep talking to each other as the election approaches. This means it's possible that if a Croft-Sullivan race were to look close in early polls, Selkregg might consider dropping out to prevent the liberal vote from being split.

"On Matt and Sheila, I like them both. Known them both for a long time. I think with a six-five majority on the Assembly, I like them and I like them right where they are," Croft said.

Wikipedia provides a good summary of Eric Croft's life. He learned public service as a child at the knee of his father, former state lawmaker Chancy Croft. Married with two kids, he is a lawyer who served in the Alaska State House from 1997-2006, each time re-elected with either nominal opposition or none at all. While somewhat of a social liberal, with a pro-choice position on abortion, Croft, who is himself a life member of the National Rifle Association, has been lauded by the NRA for outstanding support of Second Amendment issues, receiving both the 2003 NRA Defender of Freedom and Gun Rights Legislator of the Year awards. He is a strong supporter in Alaska's initiative process as well as a strong proponent of the prospective Alaska natural gas pipeline.

In 2006, he sought the Democratic nomination for governor, focusing on natural resource issues and advocating that Alaskans get their "fair share" of the state's resource wealth. He was clobbered in the Democrat primary election by Tony Knowles, 69 percent to 23 percent; the one-sided result was not unexpected, and no other Democrat could have defeated Tony Knowles.

Update: On April 17th, KTUU Channel 2 conducted a short interview with Eric Croft.

Additional background information on Eric Croft can be found on Teresa Obermeyer's website (Obermeyer seems to have some personal issues with Croft) and his entry in the 2002 Alaska Election Guide, and HERE.

Analysis: One of the advantages Croft brings to the table is his prior experience as a state lawmaker. This means he understands the process in Juneau, and would be able to communicate with state lawmakers more effectively than other candidates. This makes his goal of doubling revenue-sharing more realistic than might otherwise be possible. While I still intend to support Dan Sullivan, Eric Croft is very electable, although he would want to spend more money than Sullivan.

But electability is not part of Sheila Selkregg's equation. This lady is an extremist when it comes to social issues. When former Assemblyman Paul Bauer was introducing his immigration ordinance, Selkregg was constantly playing the "profiling" card. During the April 15th Assembly meeting, Selkregg joined Mayor Mark Begich in the rhetorical gang-stomping of KBFX shock jocks Woody & Wilcox. Basically, she's a race-hustling bully. In addition, Selkregg is known to be a proponent of "New Urbanism", which is essentially Soviet-style central planning for municipal development in which the car is considered "evil". Selkregg can be best described as a female version of Allan Tesche, although considerably less bombastic. Selkregg would be far too divisive to be effective as mayor.

1 comment:

  1. Nobody is smarter than Eric Croft. And nobody is more likable.