Anchorage Assembly to consider special election for mayor at Nov. 4 meeting

The Anchorage Assembly plans to vote Nov. 4 on whether to hold a special election for mayor this winter.

A resolution sponsored by Assembly members Crystal Kennedy, Jamie Allard and Kameron Perez-Verdia would create a special election on Jan. 26.

The resolution was originally on this week’s agenda, but the meeting ended before the body took it up.

Also on the Wednesday agenda is a public hearing for an ordinance from Assemblyman John Weddleton, which would have the winner of the April mayoral election take office upon certification of the results, rather than wait until July.

Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson was sworn into office Friday evening, after former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz resigned after acknowledging an “inappropriate messaging relationship” with a reporter.

After Berkowitz announced his resignation, the Assembly voted to reorganize the body, as the chair becomes acting mayor until a new one is elected. Quinn-Davidson was selected.

[Meet Austin Quinn-Davidson, Anchorage’s new acting mayor]


The next regularly scheduled mayoral election is in April, and the winner would normally take office in July. However, some felt that’s too long to have an unelected mayor leading the city.

Any candidate eligible for the April election would be eligible for a special election, but like the regular election, the winner needs to get at least 45% of the vote.

More than 10 candidates have filed letters of intent with the state for that position, making a runoff for a special and general election likely.

City clerk Barbara Jones said the city estimated a special election to cost about $350,000 and a runoff could cost around another $323,000.

That candidate would have to win again in the April election to remain mayor.

The resolution to hold a special election needs six votes to pass, which is more difficult than usual since Quinn-Davidson, as acting mayor, will not vote. Neither will Forrest Dunbar, who is running for mayor. That would mean two-thirds of the voting members would need to support the resolution.

Aubrey Wieber

Aubrey Wieber covers Anchorage city government, politics and general assignments for the Daily News. He previously covered the Oregon Legislature for the Salem Reporter, was a reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune and Bend Bulletin, and was a reporter and editor at the Post Register in Idaho Falls. Contact him at