Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alaska 2012 Primary Election: Ballot Measure Two Gets Shot Down, Two Incumbent Republicans In The Senate Bi-Partisan Working Group Defeated

The 2012 Alaska primary election is in the record books, and almost all votes have been counted. Voters were smart enough to reject a controversial coastal management zone proposal, and two incumbent Republican state senators who joined the Senate Majority Bi-Partisan Working Group are on their way to defeat. This may presage the long-overdue demise of the Working Group, which has given the State Senate the reputation as being the place that bills go to die.

-- Raw election data available HERE.

Alaska Dispatch live-blogged the election results in part, and their reporters provide interesting an useful information. Results for the two ballot measures and the more hotly-contested legislative races discussed below.

Ballot Measure One: This proposal to allow boroughs and municipalities to raise the property tax exemption to $50,000 is still too close to call, with the Yes votes leading by 1.3 percentage points. However, the Yes votes have narrowly led all night, so it may pass. KTUU Channel 2 has more.

Ballot Measure Two: The proposed coastal zone management program is getting shot down in flames with a 62.3 percent No vote, and its defeat is now a certainty. Opponents successfully convinced voters that it was too complicated and bureaucratic, and that this type of legislation is best crafted by lawmakers who have the time and the expertise to develop a program best balancing all the competing interests.

U.S. House: On the Republican side, Don Young cruised to victory over two opponents. On the Democratic side, State Rep. Sharon Cissna has rolled past runner-up Matt Moore. But Don Young will be a heavy favorite to defeat Cissna in November, and he'll undoubtedly exploit Cissna's expressed reluctance to travel by air because of intrusive TSA screening.

Senate District C (Fairbanks-Valdez): On the Republican side, Click Bishop is enroute to victory over Ralph Seekins and David Eastman. Bishop was able to get support from organized labor without looking like a shill for them. Seekins got crushed in his bid for re-election to the State Senate in November 2006, and many voters still remembered why six years later. Not even an endorsement by the Alaska Family Council was enough to help Seekins. Read more on the outcome of this race in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Senate District D (Mat-Su): The Menard dynasty is crashing down, as Mike Dunleavy spanked incumbent Linda Menard by 16 percentage points. Dunleavy picked up an important endorsement from the Conservative Patriots Group, which is strong in Mat-Su. Menard is resented for the fact that she joined the unwieldy Senate Majority Bi-Partisan Working Group after she promised not to do so. Because there is no general election opponent, Dunleavy will become the district's senator.

Senate District H (Midtown Anchorage): Conservative Anchorage School Board member Don Smith defeated Clint Hess by 19 percentage points to secure the Republican nomination. Smith was able to shake off criticism over his principled opposition to the free school meals racket.

Senate District J (West Anchorage): In a surprising development, the more conservative Bob Bell thumped the less conservative Linda Vazquez in the Republican race. Bell did raise more money from established interests than Vazquez. I was concerned that Bell might be too far to the right to defeat Democratic incumbent Hollis French, but the need to get French out of the Senate is so great we need to get behind Bell. The really good news: Combined Republican votes were nearly twice as much as Democratic votes for French; if this trend holds, French is toast in November.

Senate District M (Northeast Anchorage/Eagle River): In a tightly-contested Democratic race, incumbent State Senator Bettye Davis narrowly defeated former State Rep. Harry Crawford by three percentage points. No matter -- Davis is a troglodyte who's been retired on active duty for the past four years, and Republican Anna Fairclough will lay the smack down on her in November.

Senate District O (Kenai): Big upset occurred in the Republican race; Soldotna Mayor Peter Micciche defeated incumbent Thomas Wagoner by 19 percentage points. Even a bump by Gov. Sean Parnell wasn't enough to help Wagoner, who may also have been hurt by his decision to join the Senate Majority Bi-Partisan Working Group. Read more about this race in the Peninsula Clarion.

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