Left-of-center candidates lead in most Anchorage Assembly races 

Over a crowded diner table, a group of adults talk and laugh.
Anchorage Assembly candidates (from left to right) Anna Brawley, Zac Johnson, Karen Bronga and Felix Rivera chat over lunch at the Lucky Wishbone on Tuesday, an Election Day tradition started by the late state Sen. Johnny Ellis. Also at the table were Assembly candidates George Martinez and Chris Constant. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

Left-of-center candidates are leading in six out of seven Anchorage Assembly races after voting ended and the initial batch of unofficial municipal election results were released Tuesday night. 

These early leads are not decisive, and only reflect about 43% of the turnout in last year’s municipal election. Tens of thousands more ballots will still be counted in the coming days. 

However, three left-of-center candidates have leads of 20 or more points: Incumbent Chris Constant in District 1, North Anchorage, had two opponents who did not mount strong campaigns. Constant has captured 65% of the vote so far. 

In District 3, West Anchorage, Anna Brawley leads conservative Brian Flynn 59% to 37%.  

Two men holding political signs wave to traffic at an intersection.
West Anchorage Assembly candidate Brian Flynn sign waves on Tuesday. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

And in one of two District 5 East Anchorage races, Karen Bronga leads conservative Leigh Sloan 60% to 40%. 

The other four Assembly races are tighter. 

  • In District 2, which covers Eagle River, Chugiak and Eklutna, conservative Scott Myers leads Jim Arlington 57% to 43%. 
  • In District 4, Midtown, incumbent liberal Felix Rivera leads conservative Travis Szanto 56% to 44%. 
  • In the other District 5 race, liberal George Martinez leads conservative Spencer Moore 56% to 44%. 
  • And in District 6 covering South Anchorage, Girdwood and Turnagain Arm, Zac Johnson leads conservative Rachel Ries 54% to 43%. 

Ries gave her take on the initial results at a subdued election party in a downtown office.

“People who vote early, that’s always the way, right?” she said. “It tends to be a little more progressive or left-leaning on the vote. And then the people who tend to be more conservative or right-leaning do it in person. So I expect there to be some shifts. I don’t know that we’ll overtake them in all the seats, but I definitely see this gap narrowing, if not overwhelming the vote.” 

South Anchorage Assembly candidate Rachel Ries waves at cars near the intersection of Northern Lights and Seward Highway on Tuesday. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

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A full Assembly term is three years. However, Bronga and Sloan are vying for a partial two-year term, in the seat previously held by Forrest Dunbar. Dunbar resigned from the Assembly in January after winning a seat in the state Senate. 

The Assembly is nonpartisan, though in recent years it’s been dominated by an unofficial bloc of progressives. The 12-member Assembly has clashed with conservative Mayor Dave Bronson since he took office in 2021, and has overridden Bronson’s vetoes with supermajority votes

Some of Bronson’s clashes with the Assembly are ideological and some are apolitical, stemming from dysfunction in his administration

Assembly incumbent Rivera said he felt like the mayor was spending an unusual amount of time and energy publicly criticizing him in the run-up to the election. Rivera had two takeaways from the initial election results. 

“First, the people want a strong Assembly to act as a check to this mayor,” he said. “To me, that message is loud and clear if you look at all of the Assembly races across the board. The second thing I think this says is that people are sick and tired of candidates who are running fear-based and anger-based campaigns.”

A group of people wave political signs on the sidewalk of a bust street.
Incumbent Midtown Assembly candidate Felix Rivera sign waves on Tuesday with his supporters and supporters of West Anchorage candidate Anna Brawley. (Elyssa Loughlin/Alaska Public Media)

If he wins, this will be Rivera’s third term. He said this is the biggest initial lead he’s had in any of his campaigns. 

The Anchorage School Board is also nonpartisan. Two of its incumbents were up for reelection: conservative Dave Donley and left of center Andy Holleman. Both are on track to keep their seats. 

Donley leads liberal challenger Irene Boll 57% to 43%. Holleman leads challenger Mark Anthony Cox 55% to 45%. 

Election officials expect to update the unofficial results each evening this week on the city’s website. Next week, the pace of updates will slow as fewer valid ballots trickle in by mail. 

So far, election officials have counted 30,313 ballots. The Anchorage Assembly is expected to certify the results on April 25. 

View all the results here.

Alaska Public Media reporter Tim Rockey contributed to this report. 

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Jeremy Hsieh covers Anchorage with an emphasis on housing, homelessness, infrastructure and development. Reach him at jhsieh@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8428. Read more about Jeremy here.

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