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At entry deadline, Alaska’s political primary is stocked with candidates

Updated at 9:50 p.m. Monday with two additional candidates denied.

On the last day for Alaskans to enter this year’s primary election, Rep. Dave Talerico, R-Healy, was working on his tractor.

The incumbent from the Interior, once Republicans’ choice to be Speaker of the House, isn’t running for reelection, and his absence from this fall’s ballot has opened a crowded fight to replace him in the Alaska House of Representatives. By day’s end, four people had filed for Alaska’s Aug. 18 primary in House District 6, and two more are tentatively slated to appear in the November general election.

Across the state, 127 candidates have registered to run in the primary election’s 51 statehouse races, according to a preliminary count published by the Division of Elections on Monday night. That’s two fewer than appeared on the ballot in the 2018 primary.

Another 30 people have signed up to run as petition candidates in the general election but must submit sufficient signatures to make the ballot. Only two of those had done so by Monday.

The winners of the Aug. 18 primary will earn a spot on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. Write-in candidates and petition candidates can run in the general election without participating in the primary, but most successful candidates appear in the primary.

Incumbent US Rep. Don Young has two Republican primary challengers, and three people have registered for the Democratic primary, including nonpartisan candidate Alyse Galvin, who lost to Young in the 2018 general election.

Incumbent US Sen. Dan Sullivan has no challengers in the Republican primary, but there are four candidates in the Democratic primary and one Alaskan Indpendence Party candidate.

Candidates have until June 29 to withdraw.

• Nonpartisan candidates can run in the Democratic primary, which may create some unusual matchups. In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, as many as eight candidates may participate in the race for Senate District D, where incumbent Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, is seeking re-election.

Among Wilson’s challengers is Thomas Lamb, a former Republican candidate for US Senate. Lamb, who once attempted to sue Barack Obama in state court, is the only candidate in the Democratic primary for Senate Seat D and — unless something changes — he’ll automatically qualify for the November election on the Democratic ticket. Danny Gray, running as a nonpartisan for a Wasilla House seat, and Stephany Jeffers, running undeclared for a Palmer Senate seat, are in a similar situation.

• Eight candidates statewide were wholly unopposed at the primary filing deadline and will automatically win in November unless another candidate files a petition to enter the race late. Unopposed candidates include Speaker of the House Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, Democratic incumbents Harriet Drummond, Geran Tarr and Zack Fields of Anchorage, and Anchorage Republican incumbent Rep. Laddie Shaw. Seven of the 50 general election statehouse races in 2018 were uncontested. In 2016, seventeen went uncontested.

• In addition to Talerico, incumbent Rep. John Lincoln, I-Kotzebue, is not running for re-election. Instead, three nonpartisan candidates and one Democratic candidate will face each other in the general election for far-north House District 40.

* Republican Rep. Colleen Sullivan-Leonard’s decision to not run for re-election to her Wasilla House seat has inspired four candidates, including former Rep. Lynn Gattis, who resigned from the seat in 2016 during an unsuccessful run for state Senate.

• Three lawmakers have partial incumbency after being appointed by Gov. Mike Dunleavy: In Anchorage’s Abbott district, four people are in the running for House District 25, currently represented by Republican Mel Gillis. Gillis replaced Josh Revak, who took the Senate seat vacated by the death of Chris Birch. Revak has five challengers, including two Republican primary opponents. In North Pole, Republican Mike Prax’s lone challenger was ruled ineligible, and he is now unopposed.

• In northeast Anchorage, where House District 15 covers Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and surrounding neighborhoods, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, has been joined by four other candidates. She’s facing charges of voter misconduct and illegal interference in her 2018 and 2014 campaigns.

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