Anchorage Assembly incumbents keep their seats and voters endorse an alcohol tax

Midtown Anchorage voters flirted with a major shift from the more progressive candidates they have elected to represent them on the Assembly the last three years, but in the end narrowly reelected Assemblyman Felix Rivera.

After Tuesday’s election results, Rivera has a 5,487 to 5,310 lead over challenger Christine Hill.

Tuesday’s count is nearly complete. A small number of additional votes will come in Friday evening after the Anchorage Election Commission makes rulings on a small batch of questioned ballots.

Anchorage Clerk Barbara Jones said all ballots at the election center that were received on time and passed signature review have been processed. A few more might come in through the mail, and will be processed Friday, but Jones said it shouldn’t be many. On Tuesday, fewer than 24 new ballots came through the mail, she said.

Rivera’s lead had hovered around 100 votes since the April 7 election.

“I always suspected that this race might be close,” Rivera said last week, when he had a lead of about 100 votes. "I definitely didn’t expect the initial first-round results would be this close. I don’t know what that says about Midtown voters.”

Hill, who owns an auction house, challenged Assemblywoman Meg Zaletel for a Midtown seat a year ago and got 34% of the vote.

Hill said her competitiveness in this year’s race shows Midtown voters are looking for change.

“The only thing that I can say that the incumbent and I have that is similar is we both belong to the human race,” Hill said.

Hill said she had nearly 50 volunteers that called voters and went door-to-door. They were passionate, she said, working as hard as she did.

While the Midtown Assembly race was the closest, there were other significant outcomes from the election.

All other incumbents won their seats. Newcomer Jamie Allard won the Eagle River/Chugiak seat vacated by Assemblyman Fred Dyson.

Assemblywoman Suzanne LaFrance was also in a close race, but is leading in her race against Rick Castillo by 50.68% percent.

After many previous efforts failed, a proposal to impose a 5% tax on alcohol is succeeding, leading by 1,714 votes.

[Anchorage alcohol tax finds success in early vote tally, surprising both supporters and opponents]

Other results include:

• Assemblyman Chris Constant, running unopposed in District 1 representing downtown, was re-elected.

• Assemblywoman Austin Quinn-Davidson had 62% of the vote Tuesday night, beating challengers Nick Danger and MoHagani Magnetek.

• With 56% of the vote, Assemblyman Pete Petersen beat challenger Monty Dyson for District 5, representing East Anchorage.

• Anchorage School Board member Dave Donley beat James Smallwood to retain his seat, getting 55% of the vote.

• Anchorage School Board member Andy Holleman got 53.76% of the vote, beating challengers Phil Isley and JC Cates.

• The Anchorage School District bond had 58.7% approval as of Tuesday.

• More than 59% of voters rejected on-site consumption of marijuana.

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