Bill Evans wants to meet Anchorage voters in the middle. He hopes that will help, not hurt, his mayoral campaign.

One in a series of articles about candidates in the April 6 Anchorage municipal election.

Bill Evans, candidate for Anchorage mayor and former Assembly member, is hoping to harness enough support from across the political spectrum to win the crowded mayoral race.

The self-described fiscal conservative sees his supporters as being “people that are tired of partisan politics. People who just want to get things done,” he said.

The nonpartisan April 6 election has 15 mayoral candidates, and it’s unlikely that any one candidate will earn the 45% plus one required to win the election outright. The two candidates with the most votes will advance to a runoff on May 11.

But like Evans, several candidates say they are seeking broad coalitions of support. And to make the runoff, Evans said he will have to beat conservatives Mike Robbins and Dave Bronson, due to the number of conservative-leaning voters in Anchorage.

All three candidates expect Assembly member Forrest Dunbar to make the runoff, too, taking the majority of the more liberal-leaning votes.

“I think Forrest is probably the closest thing you have to a lock to getting into the runoff, and I think Dave has certainly a reasonable chance of being his opponent,” Evans said. “I’m trying very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”


Robbins and Bronson each said they see themselves as the top vote-winners in the race and expect to face Dunbar.

Evans said that he hopes to offer voters a choice more in the middle of the political spectrum.

“I think if people spend the time and look at what they really want to get done in Anchorage, choosing on either flank is not the best way to go,” Evans said.

Support from “Chamber of Commerce” Republicans

Evans said he believes his campaign has strength among voters who are also fiscally conservative — “Chamber of Commerce Republicans” — and is also seeking support from the center-left, he said.

Evans has garnered endorsements from former Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan and Republican state Sen. Natasha Von Imhof. He’s also been endorsed by Margaret Stock, who ran as an independent against U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2016, and Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.

[Anchorage mayor candidate Q&A: Bill Evans]

Evans, an attorney who focuses on labor law and was formerly a police officer in Ohio, represented South Anchorage and Girdwood on Anchorage’s Assembly for one term, from 2014 to 2017. He did not seek a second term. At the time, he said that he wasn’t interested in becoming a career politician.

Evans said he saw the city deteriorating, losing jobs and businesses, with homelessness and crime becoming more apparent, and so he announced his mayoral campaign near the end of 2019.

Campaign donation reports show Evans is behind his opponents in terms of fundraising.

Evans has raised about $120,000, while opponent Robbins has raised twice that amount at about $245,000. Bronson is a close second to Robbins with about $224,000. Dunbar is the top donation earner, with more than $312,000 over the course of his campaign.

“Divisive issues” and criticism from the right

Evans is the only self-described conservative candidate who has experience working in the city government.

Other candidates with experience include Dunbar, former municipal manager Bill Falsey and George Martinez, who was a special assistant to the mayor.

Evans argued that his experience working on city legislation with people from differing political ideologies is an asset. He called electing someone without experience in government, such as Bronson or Robbins, “a recipe for disaster.”

Evans said his experience shows he is “willing to stand up for things that are right, whether they’re necessarily in my own political interest or not.”

Still, one local leader of the religious right is targeting Evans for his stance on LGBTQ issues as an Assembly member.

[2021 Anchorage municipal election guide: Q&As with candidates for mayor and school board]

While on the Assembly, Evans drafted a version of an equal rights ordinance, and sponsored the city’s first-of-its-kind ordinance banning discrimination in Anchorage on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in 2015.


That’s drawn criticism from some other conservatives. Alaska Family Council President Jim Minnery denounced Evans in an editorial titled “Why Bill Evans Should NOT Be The Next Mayor of Anchorage” posted to the organization’s website.

The council advocates for religious freedom, anti-abortion policies, parental rights and is against same-sex marriage. Bronson was a founding member and former president of the council.

“...Bill Evans is not an ally on fundamental issues of faith, family and freedoms we care deeply about and quite frankly, cannot be trusted,” Minnery wrote. Minnery said that Evans, while campaigning for Assembly, had promised not to support such a measure.

[Ballots are in the mail for the Anchorage election. Make sure your vote is counted.]

Evans said he had indicated to the council that he would not support a different, previous equal rights ordinance from 2012.

In 2015, then-Mayor Ethan Berkowitz had indicated that he was going to pursue an equal rights ordinance, Evans said. The country had evolved and Anchorage needed to move forward, Evans said.

So Evans drafted an ordinance that included some religious-based exemptions, he said.

“I tried to put some compromises into it thinking it would be good for the community,” Evans said. “And like a lot of compromises, everybody just hated it.”


A different version that Evans co-authored later passed.

Evans said he is proud of the ordinance and its protections for LGBTQ people and hopes voters appreciate that he is “willing to take on difficult issues, divisive issues, big issues, and stand up for them.”

Evans, previously a Republican, said he hasn’t been a member of any political party for five years.

“I’ve kind of washed my hands of both parties, to be honest,” He said. “...I think there’s problems with how both of them approach the problems that we have as a city, a state and a country.”

Evans has been critical of the city’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and says that its broad-brush public health measures have harmed the economy.

Still, the city faced an unprecedented situation and protecting the public health is necessary, he said. Evans said he would have prioritized strategies like increased contact tracing and quarantining over economic shutdowns.

The pandemic is a “moving target,” he said.

If the city continues increasing vaccination rates and lowering case counts, by the time a new mayor takes office on July 1, the city’s mandates, including the mask mandate, would no longer be necessary, Evans said.

Unlike some of his opponents, he has not criticized the city’s mask mandate. It’s relatively simple protective health measure with no economic cost, he said.

Focus on homelessness, crime and the private sector

Still, like other the conservative candidates targeting Dunbar, Evans said he represents a change in direction for the city.

“I think the city is going in the wrong direction and I think we have been for several years and it predates COVID,” Evans said. “I think we’ve neglected our private sector economy in a way that is very detrimental.”

Evans said he wants to renew the city’s focus on growing its economy, now hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But to do that, it must first deal with homelessness and crime issues that drive away investors and residents, he said.


“Too often I’ve seen people in Anchorage and leaders in Anchorage passing the buck and saying, ‘We’re going to rely on the state to get this done or we’re going to rely on our nonprofit partners to get this done,’ ” Evans said. “The reality is we’re not going to solve the problem of homelessness, unless Anchorage, as an entity, steps up and says, ‘This is our problem. We’re going to get it done.’ ”

The city must prioritize creating enough shelter space for its homeless population so it can take swifter action to clean up homeless camps and get people off the street, he said.

“If we don’t solve that problem — what problem are we going to solve?” Evans said. “I firmly believe that if we solve that problem — and I know we can — all of a sudden, the floodgates are open.”

Emily Goodykoontz

Emily Goodykoontz is a reporter covering Anchorage local government and general assignments. She previously covered breaking news at The Oregonian in Portland before joining ADN in 2020. Contact her at