Third-place finisher Popp endorses LaFrance in Anchorage mayoral runoff

Bill Popp, the third-place finisher in Anchorage’s mayoral contest, gave his endorsement Wednesday to candidate Suzanne LaFrance as she readies for a runoff election against incumbent Dave Bronson in May.

At a news conference in the parking lot of City Hall, Popp said he was throwing his support behind LaFrance.

“My candidacy for mayor was focused on bringing nonpartisanship to the office of mayor, what is best for Anchorage being front and center,” Popp said. “I believe Suzanne shares my perspectives on solutions to key issues facing our city.”

Popp, the longtime leader of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., garnered nearly 17% of the votes in the election.

LaFrance is currently coming in with 36.2% of the vote, and Bronson has 35.2% of the vote — with no candidates meeting the 45% threshold to avoid triggering a runoff election, which ends May 14. Ballots are slated to be mailed to voters April 30.

Popp said voters who would “normally have supported Mayor Bronson but chose me instead” could look to LaFrance for stability in government and fiscal responsibility.

“We are losing population, we are losing workers, we are losing business investment,” he said. “And that’s under the watch of Mayor Bronson for the last 2 1/2 years.”


LaFrance, who also spoke at the press conference, said she and Popp share concerns about the city workforce vacancies and outflow of population, and homelessness.

“We’re both deeply concerned about the direction our community is going in,” LaFrance said.

LaFrance, the former Anchorage Assembly chair, said campaigns sometimes bring out the worst in people but that running for mayor had seemed to bring out “the best” in Popp.

Popp, who retired recently after 16 years as the head of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., didn’t rule out a job in a potential LaFrance administration.

“It’s a possibility,” he said. “It’s a discussion that’s ongoing.”

Popp said he has agreed to be on a transition committee if LaFrance wins.

Former Democratic state Rep. Chris Tuck, who came in behind Popp with 8% of the vote, has not endorsed a candidate and said he has no immediate plan to do so — though he is meeting with representatives from both campaigns.

“They want to meet with me so I’m more than willing to meet with them,” Tuck said in a phone interview Wednesday.

The decision not to endorse “most likely won’t change,” he said. “But I’m an open book. So until I meet with the candidates — we’ll see.”

Blake Stieren, a spokesman for Bronson’s campaign for mayor, said he had no comment as to whether the candidate had sought endorsements from either Popp or Tuck.

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Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.