4 Alaska legislative candidates withdraw from general election
By Sean Maguire
Four legislative candidates have withdrawn so far from the November general election, according to the Alaska Division of Elections.
Democrat Drew Cason, a former legislative aide, had less than 5% of the vote before he dropped out of the race for an open East Anchorage Senate seat, leaving three candidates in the running. Assembly member Forrest Dunbar, a Democrat, is at 49% and Republican Andrew Satterfield at 33%, while Democratic Rep. Geran Tarr has 14.5% of the ballots counted. The three-way race could be key to whether a bipartisan coalition controls the Alaska Senate next year.
In East Anchorage, Patrick “Ian” Sharrock, a nonpartisan candidate, has withdrawn, leaving a two-way race between Republican Forrest Wolfe and Democrat Donna Mears. Wolfe is currently ahead of Mears by 130 votes, but absentee ballots can continue arriving at the Division of Elections and be counted before Aug. 31.
The seat is currently held by Democratic Rep. Liz Snyder, who is not running for reelection. She won her first election in 2020 by 11 votes against longtime Republican incumbent Rep. Lance Pruitt.
In southwest Anchorage, Alaska Independence Party candidate Timothy Huit has withdrawn from a slightly liberal-leaning House race. Democratic Rep. Andy Josephson is in a tight contest against GOP challenger Kathy Henslee, a realtor who unsuccessfully ran for an Anchorage Assembly seat this year.
Josephson and longtime Democratic Rep. Chris Tuck were paired in the same House district before Tuck withdrew in June. Henslee is currently ahead of Josephson by just under 4 percentage points.
In Ketchikan, independent Shevaun Meggitt was getting less than 4% of the vote before she withdrew, leaving two candidates in the race. Independent Rep. Dan Ortiz has 51% of the votes counted, ahead of Republican challenger Jeremy Bynum at 45%.
Alaska’s new election system means the top four vote getters in each primary election race can advance to November, regardless of their party affiliation. Only one race, for a Fairbanks House seat, had more than four candidates, leaving Alaska Constitution Party candidate Kieran Brown, with 2% of the ballots counted, as the only legislative candidate eliminated under the new system.
But election watchers say the primary election shows the “viability” of some campaigns in whether they should continue running for November’s general election. The withdrawal deadline for state races is Sept. 5. The general election will be held Nov. 8.