Alaska GOP Continues Losing Streak

With the local election results streaming in Tuesday night, a troubling trend continued for the Alaska Republican Party.  Candidates they backed for executive positions have now lost the races for Governor and mayor in Anchorage, Kenai Borough, Fairbanks North Star Borough, Juneau and, barring an substantial absentee ballot comeback, the Mat-su.  

According to the State of Alaska those mayoral races represent 79% of the population of the state.

That is a troubling losing streak by any standard.   

These elections matter. Most of these races were for strong executive positions so their victors can lead real policy changes. The wins by Governor Walker and Mayor Berkowitz have already lead to medicaid expansion and a LGBT rights ordinance. Both are policies that conservatives hate.

Apologists will breakout a slew of excuses. From Fairbanks and Anchorage we are hearing murmurs of  “We just had bad candidates.” From Mat-su we hear the chorus of “Evil unions bought the election.”  In the race for governor, even a year later, we continue to hear the chant of “The media did us in.”  

All of these miss the central point that in Alaska, Republicans enjoy all the advantages. Alaska is a conservative state, even Anchorage is at worst center-right. Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich (don’t fool yourself, he’s still Chairman) personally drew legislative districts that all but guarantee Republican majorities in the state house and senate. Industry groups also regularly plow enough money into election activity to easily offset anything Democrats and unions can muster.

If the Republicans can’t win marquee races around the state without the national money and talent infusion of a Begich-Sullivan race or the guaranteed legislative victories redistricting affords, not even in conservative hotbeds Kenai and Mat-Su, there is a problem.  

The unavoidable truth is this: when Alaska Republicans actually have to compete for votes, win debates, and motivate people to vote, they lose.

As I see it these results collectively say at least one of these things must be true:

  1. Republican organization is lacking
  2. Democrat and union organization is just amazing
  3. The electorate in Alaska is shifting to the left

I’ll leave it to you to speculate in the comment section which or in what combination you think the problem might be.

Make no mistake, even though party leadership and staff will never admit it, this losing streak shows there is a problem.  

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7 Comments on "Alaska GOP Continues Losing Streak"

  1. This is a well written analysis. It’s true. The Republican Party needs unifying leadership. The conservatives have chipped at the establishment and he establishment has used procedural tactics to discredit gains among the grassroots and all that has been accomplished is a civil war that hurts our partisan ground game. Long story short. Alaska republicans could learn a lot from the “not in front of the guests” style of arguing.

  2. Perhaps the voters are simply fed up with the status quo, regardless of party affiliation. I’d imagine any incumbent faces an uphill battle these days…as well they should.

  3. you_see_what_happens_larry | October 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Reply

    If you look at the article below, it might suggest that the G.O.P, in Alaska kowtows to the oil companies. Why else would we be gutting the State while we ponying up $700 million to the oil companies (this year) in tax credits?

  4. Republican party has suffered in AK like it has nationwide by not taking strong, principled stands on issues and providing good leadership. I will always be conservative, but register as a undeclared because the party doesn’t serve my interests and many republicans in office are worthless. When they start taking conservative stands for something, rather than bickering, potshotting at others, and wasting time, the tide will turn.

    Also – most true conservatives do not concern themselves every day with government affairs. They go about their daily business and aren’t looking for the government (state or local) to intervene on their behalf. Therefore, I am convinced that most of the dismal voter turnouts are conservatives not taking seriously their responsibility, and not understanding that leaving a vacuum means that those with a progressive and liberal mindset win the day. The party could be a good influence by working to energize and support the base instead of just fingerpointing all the time or focusing on stupid stuff.

  5. disqus_YrYYHCGCta | October 8, 2015 at 2:03 am | Reply

    I hope the pattern continues.

  6. The Republican Party in Alaska was basically given over to the “Moral Majority” movement in the 1980s who brokered their popularity into political dominance. That popularity began to wane when those who pay attention to such matters saw that many of those who professed to harbor that “moral” code (e.g. my Representative Pete Kott) turned out to be not quite what they professed to be. The erosion of confidence continued with such antics as a legislative property tax exemption for a certain very politically active evangelical church was obtained using this newfound political influence. That influence might not have appeared to be so self-centered had not multiple residences of those church members not been placed on the tax exempt roles as “parsonages”.
    The fiscal conservative “Tea Party” movement was likewise captured by these political motivated narcissists and that influence still is strong within the Republican Party, especially on the national level; however, in Alaska after seeing the fiscal damage done by these folks, the political pendulum appears to be in full movement to the left as demonstrated by the elections involving Governor, Mayor of Anchorage, Mayor of North Pole, and perhaps the Mat Su Mayor. Alaskans are not going to be impressed much longer with those who spew conservative talking points yet have demonstrated they will not demonstrate the courage of their convictions in the arena of stewardship of the people’s money.
    Abraham Lincoln(an original Republican) understood what is going on in Alaska when he pointed out that: “You can indeed fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” and that last observation by President Lincoln might well now affect the political balance in the Alaska Legislature.

    • Yep, you nailed it. I have been a Democrat & a Republican, but I went back to being a Democrat when the religious zealots took over. I will never return. Trickle down does’t work and “conservative Alaska” is a farce; the state’s level of Federal pork is notorious. And what the hell is so offensive about poor people being on Medicaid or protecting LGBQ folks from abuse? The holier than thou hypocrites opposing these measures may someday find themselves or loved ones in need of such support.

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