Early results show Dunbar with slight lead in Anchorage mayor race

a person reaches out their car door to drop off a ballot in a secure ballot box.
Sarahy Rudder drops off her ballot at the Loussac Library voting center on April 5, 2021. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

With a very modest number of votes counted, Assembly member Forrest Dunbar had a slight lead in the race for mayor, according to preliminary numbers reported by the Anchorage municipal clerk Tuesday night.

At 9 p.m. with only 10,438 votes for mayor counted, Dunbar had 36% of the votes, followed by former Air Force pilot Dave Bronson with 30%. Following the two frontrunners were former city manager Bill Falsey with 12%, former Assembly member Bill Evans with 10%, businessman Mike Robbins with 7% and former special assistant to Mayor Berkowitz George Martinez with 3%.

If no candidate receives more than 45% of votes, the top two will go to a runoff election on May 11.

The municipal clerk reported a total of more than 50,000 ballots received by Tuesday. Ballots postmarked by April 6 still have time to arrive — the deadline is April 16 for local voters, or April 20 for overseas voters. Deputy Municipal Clerk Erika McConnell said a large chunk of the ballots arrived in the last few days, and will require time to process. She expects the city will report another batch of votes Wednesday afternoon.

Dunbar said he expects to be one of the runoff candidates.

“This is about where we thought the race would be,” he said Tuesday night. “Not necessarily in the percentages, but we expected that Bronson and our campaign would finish in the top two. But of course, there’s still a lot of votes to be counted. So we’ll see.”

Bronson did not return a request for comment Tuesday night.

In the four school board races, the early results had incumbents struggling to hold onto their seats, while Anchorage Democrats-endorsed candidates held leads in every race.

Kelly Lessens led the race for Anchorage School Board seat B with 3,699 votes. Judy Eledge followed with 3,376. For seat E, Pat Higgins led with 3,264 votes, followed by Sami Graham at 2,692 and incumbent Alisha Hilde at 1,264. For seat F, Dora Wilson led with 4,260 votes, followed by Kim Paulson with 2,888 and Marcus Sanders with 1,463. Finally, Carl Jacobs held a slight lead over incumbent Elisa Vakalis in the race for seat G, with 4,726 votes to Vakalis’ 4,166.

The petition to recall Midtown Assembly member Felix Rivera was losing with 939 no votes and 638 yes votes.

Seven of the eight bond propositions on the ballot leaned toward yes, including Proposition 4, which would fund body-worn and in-car cameras for the Anchorage Police Department. Proposition 1, funding municipal facilities upgrades, is the only one leaning no.

Kavitha George is Alaska Public Media's statewide affairs reporter. Reach her at kgeorge@alaskapublic.org.

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