Croft drops out of Anchorage mayoral race, says crowded field is ‘a recipe for disaster’

Eric Croft

Former Anchorage assemblyman Eric Croft announced today that he’s withdrawing from the race for Anchorage Mayor, calling the crowded field a “recipe for disaster.”

Croft, who also represented Anchorage in the Legislature as a Democrat from 1997 to 2006, launched his campaign in June for Anchorage mayor. The race currently features several candidates, but the field is much more crowded on the progressive side of the ticket. Croft warns it’ll stretch resources too thin.

Crowded fields like have typically resulted in no candidate reaching the majority threshold needed to win office through the April election, sending the race to a high-stakes runoff in May.

Croft also happens to have first-hand experience with what a crowded field means for the race. In 2009, he advanced to the mayoral runoff from a crowded progressive field before losing to conservative Dan Sullivan.

“There are five reasonable, forward-thinking candidates running for mayor. The next four months are set to see scarce campaign resources deployed to distinguish these candidates just enough for one of us to make it to the runoff. Whoever does make it to the runoff will likely be broke or close to it by that time,” he said. “This is a recipe for disaster. It sets the stage to elect one of two extreme and inexperienced right-wing candidates, who will take Anchorage backwards.”

His comments serve to temper some of the optimism created by recent progressive success in Anchorage’s municipal elections and growing Democratic strength shown in the 2020 general elections where Joe Biden carried the city and two Republican legislators were defeated by Democratic candidates. He says the crowded side of the progressive ticket—and corresponding infighting—could set back the larger progressive agenda.

“As I look around at the crowded field of candidates running alongside me, I fear that we are losing sight of the end goal. I fear that we are setting ourselves up to fight the wrong fight today, only to lose the fight that really matters tomorrow,” he said. “I am convinced that none of these other candidates will withdraw from the race. I am also convinced that if no one does, we will be making a dangerous mistake. We must start with the end goal in mind. It is for that reason that I am making the tough decision to withdraw as a candidate for Mayor in 2021.”

The filing deadline for Anchorage’s April 6 election opens on Jan. 15 and runs through 5 p.m. on Jan. 29.

To begin fundraising, however, candidates must register or file a letter of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. According to that list, candidates include Forrest Dunbar, Bill Falsey, George Martinez, Bill Evans, Mike Robbins, David Bronson, Heather Herndon, Jacob Seth Kern, Darin Colbry, and Nelson Godoy.

The first reports disclosing each campaigns’ fundraising efforts, a sign of support and organization, isn’t due until mid-February.

Full statement

THE RIGHT THING TO DO

I decided to run for Mayor because I love Anchorage, and I have big ideas for what this city can be. I also decided to run because we’re facing big challenges as a city, and I know that we can only face these challenges and turn our big ideas into a reality if we do it together.

As I look around at the crowded field of candidates running alongside me, I fear that we are losing sight of the end goal. I fear that we are setting ourselves up to fight the wrong fight today, only to lose the fight that really matters tomorrow.

There are five reasonable, forward-thinking candidates running for Mayor. The next four months are set to see scarce campaign resources deployed to distinguish these candidates just enough for one of us to make it to the runoff. Whoever does make it to the runoff will likely be broke or close to it by that time.

This is a recipe for disaster. It sets the stage to elect one of two extreme and inexperienced right-wing candidates, who will take Anchorage backwards. I am convinced that none of these other candidates will withdraw from the race. I am also convinced that if no one does, we will be making a dangerous mistake.

We must start with the end goal in mind. It is for that reason that I am making the tough decision to withdraw as a candidate for Mayor in 2021.

I will continue to fight for issues we raised in this race, like universal pre-k, reducing energy costs, and real criminal justice reform. I appreciate the outpouring of support I have received and will be calling each of my donors and supporters to thank them personally this week.

I will not stop fighting for Anchorage, and I hope that you won’t either.

Eric Croft

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