It was special election day for voters in Anchorage’s newly redrawn and expanded North Anchorage assembly district on Tuesday.
With the early results, the mainstream progressive candidate Daniel Volland—who came into the race with endorsements from several prominent progressive and Democratic elected officials—has a commanding lead over a field that includes repeat conservative candidate Stephanie Taylor and progressive Tasha Hotch.
With 3,801 votes counted (a 10.37% turnout, so far), the race results break down as follows:
- Daniel Volland — 1,452 (38.49%)
- Stephanie Taylor — 1,182 (31.34%)
- Tasha Hotch — 618 (16.38%)
- Robin Phillips — 231 (6.12%)
- Rob Forbes — 163 (4.32%)
- Cliff Baker —126 (3.34%)
- Write-in — 18
The election adds a 12th member to the Anchorage Assembly following the voter-approved plan to equalize the representation among the six assembly districts. Previously, the Downtown Anchorage assembly district had only one assemblymember (Christopher Constant) while other districts were stuck with only one. The change coincided with the city’s reapportionment process, which saw the downtown district expand and reach into East Anchorage. The change saw Taylor, who ran against Forrest Dunbar for the East Anchorage seat, move into the North Anchorage seat.
There was concern among progressive circles that Taylor, who had Dunbar sweating a bit despite his eventual 13.3-point margin of victory, could capitalize on a race where the progressive vote would be split between Volland and Hotch. While both Volland and Hotch had strong results, the district’s underlying electorate is strongly progressive, and it appears that its representation will continue to reflect that.
The political impact
If Volland’s margin of victory holds, the Anchorage Assembly’s core of moderates and progressives would be back to nine members. The core lost one member in the spring elections when South Anchorage Assemblymember John Weddleton lost to far-right conservative Randy Sulte, who has aligned himself with the far-right Eagle River assemblymembers to form a three-member group.
A core of nine members would give the Anchorage Assembly one vote to spare on overrides of far-right Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson’s vetoes as well as the power to override vetoes of emergency ordinances (as was the case with the masking mandate last year). Veto overrides require 2/3 of the Anchorage Assembly’s membership, which is eight members under both an 11- and 12-member assembly. Veto overrides of emergency measures requires 3/4 of the Assembly, which is nine members under both an 11- and 12-member assembly.