By Emily Goodykoontz
Anchorage Assembly candidate Daniel Volland held a wide lead ahead of five others on Tuesday night in the race for the newly created 12th Assembly seat to represent North Anchorage, according to the first round of preliminary special election results posted Tuesday.
Volland had a 270-vote lead over Stephanie Taylor with 1,452 votes, or 38.5% of the vote. Taylor was behind with 1,182 votes and 31.3% of the vote. Candidate Tasha Hotch had 618 votes and 16.4%, Robin Phillips had 231 votes and 6.1%, and Rob Forbes had 163 votes and 4.3%. Candidate Cliff Baker had 126 votes and 3.3% of the vote.
Tuesday night’s early results included just 3,801 ballots, about 10.4% of registered voters in District 1. The elections center had received about 3,898 ballots as of Tuesday morning. Secure ballot drop boxes and an in-person vote center closed at 8 p.m., and some ballots have not yet been counted. More ballots will arrive at the elections center by mail in the coming days.
In 2020, Anchorage voters approved adding the 12th Assembly seat to represent District 1. Under the city’s new political map, the area comprises downtown, South Addition, Government Hill, Mountain View, Fairview, Northstar and northern parts of Spenard, Airport Heights, Russian Jack Park, East and Midtown.
Volland, an optometrist and vice president of the South Addition Community Council, is a first-time candidate for elected office. He has been supported in the race by North Anchorage’s other Assembly representative, Vice Chair Chris Constant, and several Anchorage-area Democratic state legislators including Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson, Rep. Zack Fields and Rep. Andy Josephson.
The June 21 special election comes on the heels of Anchorage’s regular April election, which saw three of four Assembly incumbents beat back challenges from a slate of conservative candidates supported by Mayor Dave Bronson.
Taylor, a political ally to Bronson, lost in that election in a race for an East Anchorage seat against member Forrest Dunbar.
When the Assembly adopted a new political map earlier this year, Taylor’s residence was bumped into the North Anchorage district, giving her another shot at an Assembly seat.
With a win from Volland, the Assembly’s moderate-to-liberal-leaning majority of eight members would be strengthened to nine, lending additional weight to their veto override power. The Assembly needs a two-thirds majority, or eight votes, to override a mayoral veto — the same number needed previously, even with the addition of the 12th member.