Democrats, independents make key gains in latest legislative results

Adapted from The Midnight Sun Memo, a newsletter project from your humble Midnight Sun editor. For everyone who’s been asking about keeping up via email or how to support the work we’ve been doing here, we finally have an answer in this nifty newsletter… which comes with two free editions per week and extras for subscribers (though, as you might have learned from following this blog, the schedule can’t be entirely guaranteed). Sign up now!

The latest batch of election results was released on Tuesday night, covering a little more than half of the remaining ballots to be counted. The next drop will be on Friday with the RCV tabulation scheduled to take place next Wednesday.

The biggest news at the top of the ticket is that Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has now pulled up practically even with her far-right Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka. Fewer than 600 votes separate the two with Murkowski currently sitting at 43.11% of the vote to Tshibaka’s 43.34% of the vote. Alaska U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola also put some distance on her Republican challengers and now sits at 48.13% of the vote, just shy of the outright majority needed to avoid the ranked-choice voting tabulation. Still, both are in excellent spots to win once the tabulation occurs on Nov. 23.

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy still won’t have to worry about the tabulation as he still sits above an outright majority with 51.04% of the vote.

As for the legislative races, there’s been a fair bit of movement with it generally being good news for Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans. One Democratic incumbent took an outright majority in his race and another Democrat took the lead (as well as an outright majority in her race).

There are still quite a few ballots left to be counted and Tuesday’s count generally covers early votes and absentee ballots received through election day. It also doesn’t include any big update from Region IV—rural Alaska—where we’re watching House District 39 where Democratic Rep. Neal Foster holds a slim 10-vote lead on his opponent.

Find the latest results here.

Here’s a rundown of the key races that saw shifts Tuesday, in order of when the results were released:

  • Fairbanks Democratic Sen. Scott Kawasaki now holds an outright majority in his race for re-election. The latest count gives Kawasaki 50.87% of the vote to Republican Jim Matherly’s 42.34% and Republican Alex Jafre’s 6.38%. Kawasaki has been a thorn in the side of Republicans ever since he won his seat in 2006, becoming a target in the 2010 redistricting cycle, and will continue to be one.
  • Fairbanks Democratic House candidate Maxine Dibert is closing in on an outright majority in her race to unseat Fairbanks Republican Rep. Bart LeBon. She currently has 49.04% while LeBon split the conservative vote with far-right Kelly Nash 29.5%-20.7%. While adding the two GOP candidates’ vote totals would put them past the 50% mark, that’s not really how RCV tabulation has played out.
  • Fairbanks Republican candidate Frank Tomaszewski dropped under 50% in his bid to oust Democratic Rep. Grier Hopkins in what is a considerably more conservative district following redistricting. Still, Hopkins needed better results if he hopes to hold onto his seat as Tomaszewski’s 49.09% figures to be pushed over the edge once third-place finisher Republican Nate DeMars’ votes are reallocated.
  • Ketchikan Independent Rep. Dan Ortiz added more breathing room to his lead over his Republican opponent. Now at 52.42%, Ortiz is added about a half a percentage point to his lead over Republican Jeremy Bynum.
  • Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Shower’s lead over moderate Republican challenger Doug Massie as shrunk by about three-quarters of a point, down to a five-point lead at 51.93%. At this point, it’s highly likely that Shower—one of the Legislature’s most conservative and divisive senators—is headed back to Juneau. His presence could certainly make things interesting for organizing.
  • Anchorage Democratic Rep. Matt Claman extended his lead over Republican Sen. Mia Costello. It might a little close for comfort, but Democrats’ best shot at an outright flip in the Senate (well, other than the open seat in Anchorage) looks like it’s come to pass with a race that’s currently 51.6-48.11.
  • Anchorage Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson now has a safe 4-point lead over Republican challenger Kathy Henslee. Things looked pretty tight on election night for Josephson, who got the nod over Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck to run in the district that they shared following redistricting, but he’s good now at 51.98%.
  • Anchorage Democratic candidate Donna Mears has now taken the lead over Republican Forrest Wolfe in the southern East Anchorage House district. This is the same one that was won by Democratic Rep. Liz Snyder by 11 votes in 2020. Mears is up by 78 votes, sitting just north of an outright majority with it 50.5-49.3.
  • Anchorage Democratic candidate Ted Eischeid is gaining on Republican Stanley Wright for the northern East Anchorage House seat and currently trails by… 78 votes. With far fewer votes cast in this district than the southern one (about half), the margin looks bigger with the race currently standing 50.89-48.72.
  • Anchorage Democratic candidate Denny Wells continued to improve and is on the cusp of pulling off an upset in the conservative South Anchorage House district against Republican Rep. Tom McKay and Republican David Eibeck. Wells increased his share of the vote to 46.15% to McKay’s 39.16% and Eibeck’s 14.18%. It’s likely it’ll come down to the RCV tabulation, but Wells has to be feeling good.
  • Nonpartisan candidate Walter Featherly also saw his lead in the race for another South Anchorage House district improve and currently sits at 45% of the vote against Republicans Julie Coulombe (39.1%) and Ross Bieling (15.35%). Like the above race, it’ll come down to just how coordinated the two trailing Republican candidates were when it comes to ranked-choice voting.

What’s next: The next big drop of results is expected on Friday, which should also include results on Rep. Foster’s race. RCV tabulation—where several other close races not mentioned here will be decided—is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.

More from TMS

Be the first to comment on "Democrats, independents make key gains in latest legislative results"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*