Alaska's Senate, already shook-up, is before voters again

Richard Mauer
Rep. Don Young greets supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marc Lester
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, center, talks with his mother, Connie Kreiss, right, after looking up election results on his computer Tuesday night Nov. 6, 2012, at their home in Sitka, Alaska. His father, Floyd Tomkins watches from the stairs. The 23-year-old recent college graduate leads in the race for the Alaska House District 34 seat by 44 votes.
JAMES POULSON
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State Senate candidate Hollis French, right, bumps knuckles with Rep. Les Gara, left, at Snow City Cafe on Election Night, November 6, 2012. French is running against Bob Bell for Senate District J.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State House candidate Lora Reinbold stands with her supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Alaska state director Michelle Meyer and volunteer Carolyn Murray talk about a Obama family portrait while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Rep. Don Young shakes hands with his opponent Sharon Cissna at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marc Lester
Campaign volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Campaign volunteers watch the President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised in the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Rep. Don Young shakes hands with Orin Seybert in his Anchorage campaign office after the polls closed on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
A cut out of President Barack Obama at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State House candidate Gabrielle LeDoux hugs a supporter at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Rep. Don Young greets supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Cheryl Carmack reacts to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Rep. Don Young shakes hands with State House candidate Gabrielle LeDoux at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadweall talks with Boy Scout Troop 176 about the Alaska State Constitution at Election Central at the Dena'ina Convention Center on Election Night, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Malcolm Roberts celebrates President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech on television in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Berta Gardner hugs Hollis French at Snow City Cafe on Election Night, November 6, 2012. Both are candidates for State Senate.
Marc Lester
Volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Kristin Kranendonk campaigns during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State Senate candidate Hollis French, center, talks with Ray Gillespie, left, as Leslie Ridle checks for election results on Election Night, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Election workers Marie Motschman, left, and Dianne LeSueur replace a full ballot box with an empty one at UAA's Student Union on Tuesday evening, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Republican Bob Bell waves to passers-by at Northern Lights Boulevard and Minnesota Drive on Tuesday evening, November 6, 2012. Bell is a candidate for the Alaska Senate seat held by Hollis French.
Marc Lester
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Lance Pruitt campaigns along Tudor Road during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Pete Peterson campaigns during the afternoon commute at the corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Baxter Road on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Campaign volunteers wave signs during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Campaign volunteers wave signs during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Senate candidate Anna Fairclough campaigns at the corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Baxter Road during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Pete Peterson campaigns during the afternoon commute at the corner of Northern Lights Boulevard and Baxter Road on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Campaign volunteers wave signs during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News House candidate Kay Rollison wore a beaver hat and mittens as she campaigned during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Matt Schultis waves an Alaska flag during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News State Senator Bill Wielechowski campaigns at the corner of Boniface Parkway and DeBarr Road during the afternoon commute on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Mike Naumann signs in before receiving his ballot Tuesday. The voting location at Tudor Elementary School was a place on Tuesday afternoon, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Lynne Koral votes at the Anchorage Senior Center using the visually impaired voting machine on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. Koral was instrumental in the getting the 2002 law passed mandating the voting machines, working through Alaska Independent Blind. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Poll Worker Richard Lytle shows the voter access card and encoder at the Anchorage Senior Center for the visually impaired voting machine on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Elise Carroway slides her ballot in the counting machine at the Anchorage Senior Center during the 2012 election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Voting was steady at the Anchorage Senior Center for election 2012 on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Voting was steady at the Anchorage Senior Center for election 2012 on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Jason Christman slides his ballot in the counting machine at the Anchorage Senior Center during the 2012 election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Dong Chong and Chom Chong receive I Voted Today! stickers from poll worker Richard Lytle at the Anchorage Senior Center during the 2012 election on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Election worker Grace Marquiss helps a voter receive a ballot Tuesday. The voting location at Tudor Elementary School was a place on Tuesday afternoon, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Hollis French and Bob Bell supporters waved signs early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
Kelly Hughes helps hand out coffee and donuts inside a large heated tent in front of the UAA Student Union on Tuesday morning, November 6, 2012. Inside the heated tent, visitors can watch election results roll in until 11pm this evening. "Election Tentral," as it is being called, is hosted by UAA's Student Union and Commuter Student Services.
Marc Lester
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Lindsey Holmes and supporters waved signs in support of her reelection to the Alaska state house early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Bob Bell and supporters waved signs in support of his election bid for the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Bob Bell and supporters waved signs in support of his election bid for the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Bob Bell and supporters waved signs in support of his election bid for the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Hollis French and supporters waved signs in support of his reelection to the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Hollis French and supporters waved signs in support of his reelection to the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News Hollis French and supporters waved signs in support of his reelection to the Alaska State Senate early on Election Day at the corner of Minnesota Drive and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News A Harriet Drummond supporter in traffic in support of her election to the Alaska state house early on Election Day at the corner of the Seward Highway and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News John Hoffman, with a card board President Obama, Cindy Emery and Sarah Robinson wave signs in support of the President early on Election Day at the corner of the Seward Highway and Benson Boulevard on Tuesday morning November 6, 2012. 121106
Bob Hallinen
Rep. Don Young greets supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marc Lester
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, center, talks with his mother, Connie Kreiss, right, after looking up election results on his computer Tuesday night Nov. 6, 2012, at their home in Sitka, Alaska. His father, Floyd Tomkins watches from the stairs. The 23-year-old recent college graduate leads in the race for the Alaska House District 34 seat by 44 votes.
JAMES POULSON
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State Senate candidate Hollis French, right, bumps knuckles with Rep. Les Gara, left, at Snow City Cafe on Election Night, November 6, 2012. French is running against Bob Bell for Senate District J.
Marc Lester
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State House candidate Lora Reinbold stands with her supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Alaska state director Michelle Meyer and volunteer Carolyn Murray talk about a Obama family portrait while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Rep. Don Young shakes hands with his opponent Sharon Cissna at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Marc Lester
Campaign volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Campaign volunteers watch the President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised in the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Rep. Don Young shakes hands with Orin Seybert in his Anchorage campaign office after the polls closed on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
A cut out of President Barack Obama at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News State House candidate Gabrielle LeDoux hugs a supporter at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Rep. Don Young greets supporters at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Obama volunteers react to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Cheryl Carmack reacts to Mitt Romney's concession speech while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory while at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Rep. Don Young shakes hands with State House candidate Gabrielle LeDoux at Election Central at the Dena'ina Center on November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadweall talks with Boy Scout Troop 176 about the Alaska State Constitution at Election Central at the Dena'ina Convention Center on Election Night, November 6, 2012.
Marc Lester
Volunteers celebrate President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Malcolm Roberts celebrates President Barack Obama's victory at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech on television in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News Berta Gardner hugs Hollis French at Snow City Cafe on Election Night, November 6, 2012. Both are candidates for State Senate.
Marc Lester
Volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
Volunteers watch President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Volunteers react to President Barack Obama's victory speech being televised at the Obama For America-Alaska Office on Fairbanks Street in Anchorage on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Bill Roth

The Alaska State Senate has already been shaken up by a Republican primary that knocked off two incumbents, and by redistricting, guaranteed to take out two more.

But there's still a big political question to be resolved in Tuesday's election: Will voters return a Senate that will coalesce around a bipartisan working group as it has for most of the last decade? Or will Republicans in the next Senate so outnumber Democrats that they will be able to control the upper chamber as they have the House?

The last bipartisan coalition blocked the bid by Gov. Sean Parnell and the House to lower oil taxes without a guarantee that producers would use the savings to pump more oil. Republicans said they wanted to make Alaska more competitive for oil industry investments but Democrats cast the measure as a giveaway.

Millions of dollars have been spent on advertising and mailings trying to convince Alaskans which way to vote in the Senate districts. The tax issue has so dominated the elections that it's all but overshadowed House races and the social issues that normally tend to drive voters to the polls, like abortion and school choice. Those other issues have been bubbling but the big money has been spent on the oil tax issue -- by businesses that support the governor's effort and labor unions that don't.

Normally, all 40 House seats and half the seats in the 20-member Senate go before voters every two years. But with all but one Senate district significantly changed by redistricting, 19 Senate seats are before voters. Only Democratic Sen. Dennis Egan from Juneau gets a bye until 2014; the biggest change to his district was the letter, from District B to District P.

But there are other contests. More than two dozen judges will be up for retention votes. In most years, a small but consistent minority of voters will automatically vote no and all the judges will be retained. This year, Alaska Family Action has targeted Anchorage Superior Court Judge Sen K. Tan over two decisions he made involving state abortion policy. Tan has been strongly backed for retention by the Alaska Judicial Council, which said he received high marks in performance evaluations.

U.S. Rep. Don Young, a Republican, is standing for election again, as he has since 1973. This time he faces state Rep. Sharon Cissna, an Anchorage Democrat who is giving up her seat in the Legislature.

There are also two ballot measures: one would allow the state to issue $453 million in transportation bonds; the other calls for a constitutional convention.

Polls open today at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Reach Richard Mauer at rmauer@adn.com or 257-4345.

 


By RICHARD MAUER
rmauer@adn.com
Contact Richard Mauer at or on