Two candidates dropped out of the Anchorage Assembly election Tuesday, the last day for changes for the April 5 municipal ballot.
Don Smith, a former state legislator and South Anchorage Assemblyman, said he was quitting the race for a Midtown seat. Blake Merrifield said he was leaving the Chugiak-Eagle River race.
Smith announced his candidacy last week. He said in an interview he decided to withdraw after a third candidate, Ron Alleva, entered the race.
"I don't want to get into a three-way contest," said Smith, who calls himself "the father" of the Anchorage tax cap. If he stayed in the race, he said, he and Alleva would split the conservative vote and allow incumbent Dick Traini to win.
Merrifield filed as a candidate late last Friday, shortly after Nicholas Begich III, a nephew of former Anchorage Mayor and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, submitted his paperwork. In a Tuesday Facebook post, Merrifield said he met with Begich and found the two shared enough common ground that they would likely split the vote in challenging incumbent Amy Demboski.
In part because of that conversation, Merrifield wrote, he decided to withdraw and support Begich.
With the contests now set, 18 candidates are running for Assembly and Anchorage School Board seats.
March 6 is the deadline to register to vote or update your voter registration, according to the city clerk's office.
Voter registration forms can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website or by visiting the Anchorage regional office at 2525 Gambell St. Forms can also be found at the Anchorage City Hall.
Early and absentee voting will begin March 21 at City Hall and the Loussac Library, and March 28 at Chugiak Senior Center. The last day to request a ballot by mail is March 29.
Assembly members are elected by district, while school board members are elected by the entire city but for specific seats. Here's the Assembly lineup:
• Chugiak-Eagle River -- Incumbent Amy Demboski, Nicholas Begich
• West Anchorage -- Ira Perman, Adam Trombley, Dustin Darden, Eric Croft
• Midtown -- Incumbent Dick Traini, Ron Alleva
• East Anchorage -- Forrest Dunbar, Terre Gales
• South Anchorage -- Mark Schimscheimer, John Weddleton, Treg Taylor
School Board candidates are:
• Seat A -- Incumbent Bettye Davis, Brent Hughes
• Seat B -- David Nees, Starr Marsett, Kay Schuster