Politics

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging West Anchorage legislative candidate’s residency

elections, anchorage, candidates

An Anchorage Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday on procedural grounds that challenged a legislative candidate’s eligibility to hold office based on the state constitution’s residency requirements, but another challenge could be filed once election results are certified.

Four West Anchorage Republicans argued that Democrat Jennie Armstrong is constitutionally barred from holding office because she was not a state resident for three years before filing to run. They cited an Alaska Landmine story which used Armstrong’s Instagram posts and fishing license as evidence.

Armstrong has repeatedly asserted she has been an Alaska resident since May of 2019. She presented her own evidence that shows she moved to Anchorage that month, making her eligible to sit in the state House.

Superior Court Judge Herman Walker did not consider the arguments being made by either side, but he dismissed the lawsuit as “procedurally flawed” because the challenge was not made during two specific windows.

Once the deadline has passed for candidates to file for office on June 1, there’s a 10-day period when anyone can challenge their eligibility. Armstrong’s candidacy was not questioned at that time.

Results can also be contested after the election is certified, but that hasn’t happened yet. The state’s target election certification date is Nov. 29.

Attorney Stacey Stone, who is representing the four Republican residents, said she anticipates another challenge will be filed against Armstrong once the West Anchorage House race result is certified, “given the concerns addressed by plaintiffs.”

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Scott Kendall, an attorney and political operative, is representing Armstrong. He argued the lawsuit, which was filed in late October, was made on political grounds to disrupt Armstrong’s campaign and hamper her chances.

Armstrong is set to win her race with 55% of the votes counted so far against Republican former legislator Liz Vazquez with 45%.

”I am excited to continue serving my community and look forward to being sworn in in January and serving House District 16,” Armstrong said by text message after she learned that this legal challenge against her had been dismissed.


Sean Maguire

Sean Maguire is a politics and general assignment reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Juneau. He previously reported from Juneau for Alaska's News Source. Contact him at smaguire@adn.com.

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