LaFrance leads Bronson in Anchorage mayoral runoff

Anchorage mayoral candidate Suzanne LaFrance had a strong lead over incumbent Dave Bronson in preliminary runoff election results posted Tuesday night.

LaFrance received 55% of the vote and had a 10-point lead over Mayor Bronson, who had 45%.

After the initial results were released, LaFrance said in an interview she was feeling “excited, optimistic, filled with gratitude to everyone for getting us to this point.”

LaFrance chaired the Assembly during the first two years of Bronson’s term. Since Bronson took office in 2021, he and the Assembly’s supermajority have frequently clashed over numerous city issues.

“We know we’ve got some big challenges ahead,” LaFrance said in a speech to supporters gathered in downtown Anchorage. “We know it’s gonna take a lot of work to turn things around. But we can do it and we’ll do it together and I believe in us.“

After thanking her campaign team, voters and her family, LaFrance also thanked the Assembly members in the crowd, including members Daniel Volland, Anna Brawley, Kameron Perez-Verdia, Zac Johnson, Chair Christopher Constant and Vice Chair Meg Zaletel.

“Local government isn’t about left versus right. It’s about working together to get things done. And tonight I’m hopeful we’re turning a corner on how we’re going to work together,” she said.


At his campaign’s election night gathering Tuesday evening, Bronson emphasized that the count is not yet final.

“We are not discouraged by this,” Bronson said. “Would we have loved to have been 10 points ahead? Of course.”

“We’re not going to commit to anything tonight,” Bronson said.

On Tuesday evening, Bronson suggested that he was in a similar place on runoff election night in the 2021 election, and a comparable dynamic could allow him to pull ahead as additional ballots are counted in this year’s runoff election, as well.

“This is about where we were when we won three years ago,” Bronson said.

In the 2021 mayoral runoff, however, there was a much narrower gap between Bronson and his opponent: Then-Assembly member Forrest Dunbar had 50.08% of the vote on election night, and the two were separated by just 114 votes.

LaFrance on Tuesday was leading Bronson by 4,973 votes — a gap that will be difficult for outstanding ballots to close.

More than a hundred people were packed into the Bronson campaign headquarters Tuesday evening. Several prominent figures from state government and Republican party politics were in attendance, including Republican U.S. House candidate Nick Begich, former talk-radio host and Dunleavy staffer Dave Stieren, former talk radio host and Alaska Department of Fish and Game special assistant Rick Green, newly elected Alaska state GOP Chair Carmela Warfield, Bronson adviser Larry Baker, Assembly member Randy Sulte and former state senator and current Bronson legislative liaison Mia Costello.

Much of Bronson’s campaign messaging has emphasized criticism of the Assembly and keeping “balance” in city governance. The incumbent, a self-described conservative, has asserted that a LaFrance mayorship would amount to “single-party rule,” and that the former chair would work in lockstep with an “ultra-woke” Assembly.

For her part, LaFrance has criticized Bronson for controversies and challenges within his administration and for what she has asserted was a failure by the incumbent to tackle the city’s most pressing issues. LaFrance has said she will “restore competency” to City Hall and bring a “nonpartisan, collaborative, low-ego, problem-solving approach” to the mayor’s office.

In an interview after results were posted, Bronson reiterated his message about being a political counterbalance to the Assembly.

“At the end of the day, and I’ll be blunt with you, Chris Constant’s going to be pretty much running the city,” Bronson said. “That’s the way it works because he runs the Assembly, he runs the elections…If (LaFrance) were to pull this out, then that’s what we would be looking for. I’m that break on that. I’m the person standing in the gap and keeping that from happening.”

If LaFrance wins, she would be the first woman elected as Anchorage’s mayor.

But she would not be the first woman to hold the office: After the resignation of former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz in 2020, former West Anchorage Assembly member Austin Quinn-Davidson was selected by the Assembly to serve as interim mayor for several months.

At Tuesday night’s election gathering, campaign manager Katie Scovic hinted at how gender dynamics played into LaFrance’s campaign.

“Candidates typically receive a lot of feedback on what to say. As many of you in this room know, more often what not to say,” Scovic said. “But I’ve never seen someone who received so much feedback on how to say things, what to wear, what volume to speak at, how much to smile, how to smile. The list goes on, in moments when the feedback would have caused the rest of us to implode. Or at least I know I would have. Suzanne stayed steady.”

Election officials have so far counted 51,019 ballots. Thousands more ballots have not yet been tallied, and percentages are likely to shift in the coming days as election officials count more.


It’s not yet clear exactly how many ballots remain to be counted. Tuesday night’s results included tallies for almost all ballots returned to the election center as of Monday morning, according to Acting Election Administrator William Northrop.

By 5 p.m. Tuesday, election workers had received and sorted a total of 62,956 ballot packages. A few thousand more returned by voters on Monday were in a locked cage awaiting sorting. Election staff have not yet processed ballots cast by voters on Tuesday, and more will arrive at the election center by mail over the next several days.

Election results will not be official until certification by the Anchorage Assembly, which is scheduled for May 31.

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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

Zachariah Hughes

Zachariah Hughes covers Anchorage government, the military, dog mushing, subsistence issues and general assignments for the Anchorage Daily News. He also helps produce the ADN's weekly politics podcast. Prior to joining the ADN, he worked in Alaska’s public radio network, and got his start in journalism at KNOM in Nome.