What I Know…I Think: Election Day Predictions

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***After a full day of talking to voters and campaign insiders we have updated our predictions ahead of the polls closing.***

It’s the most wonderful day of the year. MUNICIPAL ELECTION DAY!!!!

To the average citizen this is a day to perform that most hallowed of democratic traditions, the trek to the polling place. For many campaign veterans and activists this is a day to throw on a few extra layers, round up volunteers, and hit the street corners to wave signs for your favorite candidate and then hit the bar for a few drinks as results roll in..

AnchorageVotes (1)For us at The Midnight Sun this is a day to dig into the numbers, dust off the Ouija Board, and make a few predictions on the results that we’re sure to get terribly wrong.

After reading our predictions feel free to give your own in the comments section below.

Chugiak/Eagle River Assembly Race

This race has an interesting dynamic pitting incumbent and recent Mayoral candidate Amy Demboski against new face with an old name Nicholas Begich. But Begich isn’t an old school Alaska Begich Democrat, he’s a Republican. And Demboski isn’t your normal Republican incumbent. She ran a divisive campaign for Mayor that led to many proud Republicans, even in conservative hotbed Eagle River to vote for the progressive Ethan Berkowitz.

This is how we see the race shaping up: The hangover from last year’s Mayoral race will mean no Democrats vote for Demboski and Begich likely does no worse than splitting the Non-partisan and Undeclared voters 50-50 with her. That would normally guarantee Begich a win, but this district is only 10.2% registered Democrats while being 38.% registered Republicans. Than means if Begich gets 100% of Dems and 50% of Us and Ns, he will need to get about 35% of registered Rs to win.

Are there enough Republicans in Chugiak/Eagle River still with a bitter enough taste in their mouth from Demboski’s run for Mayor to give the win to the unknown guy with the enemy’s name?

It will be a close call.

Prediction: Begich 51%-Demboski 49%, but don’t take it to the bank. This could easily be 55-45 in either direction. (Update: Demboski 54% – Begich 46% — We think the stench of Demboski’s mayoral run has worn off more and Begich’s uphill climb against his own name has been larger than factored earlier .) 

West Anchorage Assembly Race

Technically this is a four way race between Eric Croft, Adam Trombley, Ira Perman, and Dustin Darden, but in reality Darden is a fringe candidate fixated on fringe issues. Eric Croft raised the most money and appears to have had the most robust campaign in all phases. That isn’t surprising given he has a long track record in the district and has sky high name recognition from being a state legislator and school board member and he also has ran for Governor and Mayor.

What is surprising is that the second most robust campaign has been waged not by his Republican backed opponent Adam Trombley, but by the independent minded Ira Perman. Perman has done far more door-to-door work, sign placement, and community council outreach. Those in and of themselves don’t guarantee a good showing for Perman, but the fact that Trombley has been outdone substantially by both his opponents in these areas doesn’t bode well for his chances.

All things being equal the progressive Croft should eek out a win over conservative Trombley with Perman coming in far behind. But as we’ve just said, there is an effort gap that should skew the dynamic towards Croft and Perman and away from Trombley.

Prediction: Croft 41%-Trombley 29%-Perman 27%-Darden 3% (Update: Croft 48% – Trombley 36% – Perman 13% – Darden 3% — Ira has run a robust campaign, but we think Croft’s letter warning people that a vote for Perman is a vote for Trombley reflects a real concern by voters on either side.  As a result, Perman gets squeezed out.)  

East Anchorage Assembly Race

This is a race of young, energetic, and engaging upstarts Forrest Dunbar, the progressive, and Terre Gales, the conservative. I know Dunbar’s crew bristles when people mention that both of these lads are coming off runs for Congress, and it is a fair reaction. Dunbar’s run was far more substantial, and relevant to this race, his was the only one that left behind name recognition and fundraising coattails to be leveraged in this race.

While Dunbar appears to have lived up to his reputation as an energetic campaigner, Gales has left a lot to be desired. Most of what you need to know about this race you can seen in the 30-days APOC reports. Dunbar raised $70K and Gales raised $6K. That would pretty well encapsulate the gap between their campaigns at all levels.

Gales does seem to be coming on as late. He has a series of compelling web videos and news interviews, but it’s probably way too little, way too late.

Prediction: Dunbar 58%-Gales 42% (Update: No change — This race appears to be right where we thought it was)

Midtown Assembly Race

The Midtown race pits long, long, long, long-time Assemblyman Dick Traini against….ummm, lets see here, it has to be somewhere in the paperwork. Oh ya, Ron Alleva. Don’t act like you think this is a real race.

Prediction: Traini 70% -Alleva 30%  (Update: No change — This race appears to be right where we thought it was)

South Anchorage Assembly Race

The Southside race has seen a slew of candidates jump in and drop out. The final line up has Bosco’s owner John Weddleton squaring off with ASRC in-house counsel Treg Taylor, and engineer Mark Schimscheimer.

This is a tough one. Several people have asked who we think will win and the answer is the campaign says Weddleton, but the district says Taylor. What we mean by that is Weddleton has run the far superior campaign.

Weddleton has been active and engaged in the community, fund raised consistently, and messaged well. Your beloved blogger can attest that the campaign has vigorously challenged any assertion that Weddleton is liberal, progressive, or the candidate of Democrats (even though it is true). As a result he has avoided being pigeonholed as the liberal in the race and has much more “independent businessman” street cred than his APOC report would suggest. That is a credit to his well run campaign.

Taylor, however, fits the conservative leaning district much better. He has sold himself as a business, fiscal, and social conservative with the support of big time names on the right such as former Mayors Dan Sullivan, Rick Mystrom, and Tom Fink. After a slow start which saw Taylor get into the race close to the deadline and then leave town on vacation, he appears to have come on strong in the last few weeks with coalescing conservative support, consistent messaging, and an issue to get behind in Proposition 8.

Mark Shimschiemer’s campaign has been an interesting attempt at office. His campaign logo and signs are awesome, they might be our all-time favorites. He has also had some interesting web videos, but that’s pretty much it for positives. His campaign is a confusing mix of brands. He says he is a fiscal conservative and pro-business Republican, but only switched party affiliation from Democrat just before he ran for office and has a history of donations to Barack Obama.

As a result it’s hard to know what to make of Schimscheimer. As a matter of fact, the first time I sat down with Schimscheimer he told me he really likes the Mayor and feels like he can work with him, but the problem is the Mayor has incompetent people working for him on the 8th floor….hmmm, ya, he is gonna lose.

Ultimately the race is a coin flip between Weddleton and Taylor. Our prediction in breaking the tie comes down to little more than our internal want for the person that runs the best campaign to win.

Prediction: Weddleton 43 %-Taylor 41%- Schimscheimer 16%  (Update: No change — This race appears to be right where we thought it was)

Proposition 8

It’s funny. Both sides are now selling themselves as the “protect the tax cap” side. The Yes-on-8 side is trying to put the tax cap language back the way it was before Mayor Berkowitz and the current Assembly changed it last fall and the No-on-8 side is trying to keep it the way it is. Try reading the language on the actual ballot for yourself, good luck understanding it. That usually favors a “no” vote on any ballot proposition.

In this case however the Yes side has all the energy and momentum. Candidates that support Prop 8 freely and energetically say so and even inject that fact into the campaign as their key issue. Candidates that oppose Prop 8 noticeably lower their voice when doing so and try to move on to the next issue as quick as possible. That tells you all you need to know.

Prediction: Yes 55%-No 45% (Update: No change — This race appears to be right where we thought it was)

Bond Propositions 1-7

Bonds aren’t as sure a bet this cycle as they usually are. We predict half of them will pass while half will fail… you can decide for yourselves which specific ones voters will approve.

(Update: The bonds will likely all pass or all fail. How they fare can be seen as a statement on voter’s reaction to the state economy and fiscal situation)

See you at Election Central tonight!

About the Author

Casey Reynolds
Reynolds served as communications director for the Alaska Republican Party from 2008-2011. He left the Party in 2011 to host his own popular morning radio political talk show on AM750 / FM103.7 KFQD. Reynolds now runs The Midnight Sun (midnightsunak.com), crowned by the Anchorage Press as “Alaska’s best political blog.”
  • davidnees

    Need to update prop 8 and bonds

  • Casey Reynolds

    Update with what? The election is over. i think you read the last line on the props and bonds as results reporting rather than updated predictions before the polls closed.