More than half of the seats on the Anchorage Assembly are up for election this April, and just two incumbents are seeking reelection.
Friday was the deadline to file to run in the April 4 city election.
There are 18 people running for seven open Assembly seats, and the only incumbents are Midtown Anchorage Assembly member Felix Rivera and North Anchorage Assembly member Chris Constant. Among the Assembly members not seeking reelection is the chair, Suzanne LaFrance.
Though Assembly seats are nonpartisan, the body has maintained a large voting block of moderate and progressive-leaning members over the past few years. They have butted heads often with Mayor Dave Bronson since he took office in 2021.
Here’s a breakdown of who’s running for which races:
Rivera is up against challengers Jenny Di Grappa and Travis Szanto. Di Grappa is the head of philanthropy and community relations for the Food Bank of Alaska, while Szanto owns and operates Skyworks LLC, a carpentry company. Rivera is running for his third term, and has served on the Assembly since 2017.
Assembly, North Anchorage:
The two candidates challenging Constant are Nick Danger and John Trueblood. Danger is a former union operating engineer. He previously ran unsuccessful campaigns for Assembly and state Legislature, to represent West Anchorage, before parts of the neighborhood were redistricted to North Anchorage. Trueblood is a project manager with Steelhead Communications, a telecommunications company. Constant has served on the Assembly since 2017.
Assembly, Eagle River/Chugiak:
Jamie Allard was elected to the state House in November. Two candidates are looking to fill her seat, which is up for a full, three-year term. They are realtor Scott Myers, Jim Arlington, a director with Afognak Native Corporation. Homelessness advocate Roger Branson and Cody Anderson, an executive with Anchorage Baptist Temple, had both initially filed, but withdrew their names from consideration before the Tuesday night deadline. Myers and Arlington had both filed to fill Allard’s seat temporarily until April, though the Assembly ultimately chose Robin Dern.
Assembly, East Anchorage (two-year term):
Forrest Dunbar, was reelected to the Assembly last year, and was about seven months into his term when he won election to the Alaska Senate. Joey Sweet was selected to fill Dunbar’s seat until the April election. Two candidates have filed to fill the remaining two years of Dunbar’s term: former teacher Karen Bronga and Leigh Sloan, a conservative school choice and parents’ rights advocate.
Assembly, East Anchorage (full three-year term):
East Anchorage member Pete Petersen can’t run for reelection due to term limits. There are two candidates for Petersen’s seat: George Martinez, president of the Northeast Community Council who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2021, and Spencer Moore, an outreach director with Mountain City Church, formerly the Anchorage Baptist Temple.
Assembly, West Anchorage:
Austin Quinn-Davidson announced back in November she would not run for reelection, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family. There are four candidates looking to replace her. Brian Flynn is a real estate manager whose wife, Rachelle Algers, is the director of the purchasing department under Mayor Dave Bronson. Anna Brawley is a project manager with Anchorage-based Agnew Beck Consulting. Dustin Darden is a perennial candidate who has unsuccessfully run for U.S. Senate, the Legislature, Anchorage mayor and the Assembly numerous times. David Eibeck had registered to run for the seat, but after the filing deadline, he announced on social media that he is no longer running.
Assembly, South Anchorage:
Assembly chair Suzanne LaFrance did not file to run for reelection.
There are three candidates running for LaFrance’s seat. Zachary Johnson is a former pilot with the Alaska State Troopers. Rachel Ries is a former pilot and unsuccessfully ran for Anchorage School Board last year. Mikel Insalaco founded marketing firm egoforge and unsuccessfully ran for state House last year. Darin Colbry had initially filed for LaFrance’s seat, but he withdrew his name on Monday.
Anchorage School Board:
There are two Anchorage School Board races up for election in April. Incumbents Dave Donley and Andy Holleman have both filed to run for reelection. Holleman faces Mark Anthony Cox, a small business owner who unsuccessfully ran for school board in 2021 and 2022. Donley is up against Irene Boll, a foster parent who unsuccessfully ran for school board in 2018.
The April election will be conducted by-mail and the deadline to register to vote in the election is March 5.
Alaska Public Media is collaborating with the Anchorage Daily News on candidate questionnaires ahead of the election. What do you want to ask the candidates? Let us know.
Editor’s note: Mikel Insalaco is a former employee of Alaska Public Media. This story has been updated to reflect Roger Branson, Cody Anderson and Darin Colbry withdrawing their names from the election. It’s also been corrected to better reflect Rachel Ries’s biography.