Alaska News

Ethan Berkowitz deciding whether to 'run or pass' on Anchorage mayoral bid

Former Democratic state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz said Wednesday he's seriously considering a run for Anchorage mayor and is close to making a decision.

"I was watching the Super Bowl the other day, and I think I'm in the same position as (Seattle Seahawks coach) Pete Carroll at the end of the game," Berkowitz said in an interview. "I've got to decide whether to run or pass."

In Carroll's case, the decision to pass led to a game-ending interception.

"He didn't make the right decision," Berkowitz said. Then he added: "But I think there's room in this race for a different kind of voice."

Berkowitz's name has been floated as a potential mayoral candidate for months. Last weekend, Mark Begich said he would not try to regain the office he held before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

While the mayoral position is officially nonpartisan, party politics almost always gets involved in city elections. The three leading candidates already in the race come from the Republican side of politics. Berkowitz and Begich are from the Democratic side.

A December poll conducted by political consultant and strategist Jim Lottsfeldt showed, apart from Begich, Berkowitz had strong name recognition with voters, more so than Andrew Halcro or Dan Coffey, two candidates who have already declared. Berkowitz said he was aware of the poll.


Berkowitz said he's in the final stages of consulting with his family and close friends about a run. He said he would make a decision close to the Feb. 13 city filing deadline.

This would be Berkowitz's first bid for mayor of Anchorage. Berkowitz served 10 years as a Democratic representative in the state House, including eight as the minority leader. In 2006, he ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Democrat Tony Knowles. Berkowitz also unsuccessfully vied for Rep. Don Young's seat in Congress in 2008, and lost against Sean Parnell as a gubernatorial candidate in 2010.

Berkowitz is currently a senior vice president at the marketing firm Strategies 360. He also co-hosts "Bernadette and Berkowitz," a popular morning radio talk show on KFQD.

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.