Anchorage School Board candidate says he’s withdrawing from race to avoid splitting the vote

James Smallwood is dropping his bid to serve on the Anchorage School Board, saying Tuesday he and one of his opponents are too politically similar and could split the vote in a three-way race.

Smallwood, a senior account specialist for Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, will now support Margo Bellamy in the race for School Board Seat A, his campaign said in a statement on Tuesday. Bellamy is running against Kai Binkley Sims.

Smallwood’s campaign described Smallwood and Bellamy as progressives and Binkley Sims as a conservative.

Binkley Sims said in a statement Tuesday that her campaign will continue to focus on the issues impacting the school district rather than the actions of other candidates.

“I am not running against anyone; I am running because I am fully committed to being an active and engaged School Board member, and I am the best candidate for the job,” she said.

[Here’s who’s running for Anchorage Assembly and School Board this spring]

Bellamy’s campaign said in a statement that Bellamy is appreciative of Smallwood’s support and for the opportunity for voters “to align their values with one progressive candidate."


“I respect and appreciate James’s extremely difficult decision. He and I share the same values and want what is best for the School Board, the children of the Anchorage School District, and our communities," Bellamy said in the statement.

Bellamy is an adjunct professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage and a retired Anchorage School District educator and administrator. Binkley Sims is a petroleum engineer, riverboat captain and part-owner of the Fairbanks-based Riverboat Discovery and the Anchorage Daily News.

School board members are elected in area-wide, nonpartisan races, though candidates sometimes choose to display party connections. Two of the seven school board seats are up for election this spring.

Smallwood said he will run in 2020 for School Board Seat C, currently held by Dave Donley.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.