June 7, 2012 | Vol. 39, No.23

Redistricting forms interesting Legislative races

ANCHORAGE (AP) —Alaska redistricting is going to lead to some interesting Legislative races.

By Friday afternoon, several incumbents in both parties faced primary election challengers, The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday.

Multiple Republicans will battle in six of the 19 Senate contests. In two districts, Democrats will meet in the primary.

In the House, all 40 posts are up for election this year. Nearly half involve two or more Republicans, with Democrats meeting in five primaries.

Many new candidates are running for office, including some surprises.

Harry Crawford, a former state representative, told the Daily News that he'd received a call from Alaska Democratic Party leaders. They wanted to know why he was challenging fellow Democrat Bettye Davis for an Anchorage Senate seat Davis has held since 2000.

The winner of that Aug. 28 primary would face Republican Rep. Anna Fairclough, of Eagle River, in the general election. The district held by Davis includes parts of Eagle River and the military bases under redistricting.

“I don't have anything at all against Bettye. I just think that I have a little better shot at winning that seat than she did,” Crawford said.

A consistent flow of new candidates arrived at state elections offices late in the week, Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said.

Redistricting has led to some other interesting matchups, according to the elections office, including the following:

• Former Sen. Ralph Seekins, R-Fairbanks, and fellow Republican Click Bishop, a former Labor Commissioner, are competing for unoccupied Senate District C.

• Longtime Southeast Alaska Sen. Al Kookesh, D-Angoon, will compete for Senate District Q against fellow incumbent Bert Stedman, R-Sitka.

• Rep. Reggie Joule, D-Kotzebue, has officially withdrawn from the House District 40 race. Four Democrats have filed to compete for the job.

• Rep. Kyle Johansen, R-Ketchikan, has told elections officials that he will run for House District 33 as a “no-party” candidate, meaning he would not compete in the primary but will have to collect a minimum number of voter signatures to be placed on the general election ballot, Fenumiai said.

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