Anchorage Assemblymember Austin Quinn-Davidson, a progressive who represents west Anchorage, announced Monday she won’t run for re-election next spring, clearing the way for new candidates to get underway with campaigning for the open seat.
Quinn-Davidson’s time in office also includes an eight-month stint as the city’s acting mayor following the resignation of Mayor Ethan Berkowitz in late 2020. After many long nights of contentious meetings and loads of work sessions, she said she’s looking forward to spending time with her young family.
“The decision not to run for re-election is one of the more difficult decisions I’ve had to make. I love this job—the challenges, the rewards, the scope of the issues I have the privilege of working on, the people I am able to strategize and solve problems with, and the ability to make a real difference in my neighbors’ lives,” she said in a statement posted to Twitter. “There is no other role quite like being an assembly member, and I know I will miss it greatly. But I have a new family member—a happy, curious 5-month-old son—and I want to spend more time with him and my wife at such a special time for our family.”
Six assembly seats are scheduled be on the ballot on April 4, 2023, which is half of the Anchorage Assembly’s membership (now that it’s been expanded to 12). Between election results, term limits and Quinn-Davidson’s planned departure, at least four seats will be open in next year’s election.
That includes the seat of East Anchorage Assemblymember Pete Peterson, who will be termed out.
Far-right Eagle River Assemblymember Jamie Allard is on course to win a seat in the Alaska House. Her seat was set to be up next year anyways.
An additional seat, currently held by Anchorage Assemblymember Forrest Dunbar, would likely be added to that slate as long as his lead in the race for the Alaska state Senate holds. He won his assembly race earlier this year.
Under municipal code, the Anchorage Assembly may fill vacancies by appointment and add those seats to the regular election slate if a regular election will be held within six months of their departure. That’d mean Dunbar’s East Anchorage seat and Allard’s Eagle River seat could be filled by assembly appointment once they’re both seated.
With Quinn-Davidson’s departure and the pending election wins of Dunbar and Allard, the Anchorage Assembly’s on course for at least three seats to be open in next year’s election. Progressives and moderates currently hold a nine-member, veto-proof majority on the Anchorage Assembly.
Far-right Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson has also announced his plans to run for re-election in 2024.