(Editor’s note: Pretty much everything is already set in motion at this point, a culmination of months of campaigning and weeks of voting. Take some time to disconnect from it all. Not a lot is going to change ahead of next week’s absentee count.)
Just as we saw with this year’s primary election, conservative voters showed up for in-person election-day voting handing Republicans sizable margins even in traditionally Democratic districts.
With 86.7% of voting precincts reporting this morning, 182,394 votes have been counted to this year’s results. More than 120,000 additional ballots—which have generally been more progressive by voter registration—will not be counted until next Tuesday.
Additional votes can also arrive as long as they were postmarked on election day and received in time by the Division of Elections.
As it currently stands, President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional slate all hold roughly 30-point margins on their Democratic challengers in Alaska. The Republicans would need to get at least a third of uncounted ballots to hold onto their leads.
Also behind are several incumbent Democratic legislators in typically Democratic seats: Reps. Grier Hopkins, Adam Wool, Ivy Spohnholz, Matt Claman, Chris Tuck and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. All are in districts where Democrats have led Republicans in early voting and margins there are large enough that they’re likely to erase those margins next week.
Going into Tuesday, there was optimism that Democrats and Democrat-backed independents may be able to flip some legislative seats from Republicans to Democrats. Much of that optimism has already evaporated after Republicans hopped out to big leads on Tuesday, but there are three races that we think might be competitive if the numbers trend their way:
- House District 15: Democrat Lyn Franks currently trails Republican David Nelson by 389 votes, 1,022 to 1,422. There are an additional 2,188 votes that won’t be counted until next week with a near even split between Republican ballots (584) and Democratic ballots (524). Franks will have to get about 58% of remaining ballots for a narrow victory.
- House District 25: Democrat-backed independent Calvin Schrage currently trails Republican Rep. Mel Gillis by 549 votes, 1,963 to 2,794. There are an additional 3,508 ballots remaining to be counted in that race and the numbers advantage would go to the Democrats who’ve cast 895 of those ballots to the 703 cast by Republicans. Schrage needs about 56% of the remaining vote.
- House District 27: Democrat Liz Snyder trails Republican Rep. Lance Pruitt by a whopping 1,092 votes after election-day voting in what was thought to be one of the most competitive races for the Legislature. Pruitt has 2,926 votes to Snyder’s 1,834. Snyder will need the remaining 3,699 ballots to break hard in her favor even with a strong showing by Democrats, who’ve cast 1,054 ballots to Republicans’ 793. She’ll need 58% of the absentee to go her way to draw the race even.
Conservatives are likely to make at least one pick up with Republican-backed independent Josiah Patkotak holding a over Elizabeth Ferguson though only 56.5% of precincts are currently reporting. The remaining absentee ballots (540) would not be enough to make up Ferguson’s deficit (664).
Hopes for any shakeup in the Alaska Senate appear unlikely now that Fairbanks’ Senate District B where Republican Robert Myers took a 4,000-vote lead on election night over independent Marna Sanford, larger than the number of outstanding absentee ballots.
Ballot Measure 1, which proposes to raise oil taxes, looks headed to defeat, but Ballot Measure 2, which proposes a slate of election reforms aimed at opening up room for non-partisan candidates, has a shot at making up its election-night deficit with absentee votes.
Currently down by 22,876 votes, the measure would need about 56% of the absentee votes to go its way when counted next week.
What we know is left to be counted