Suzanne LaFrance poised to be Anchorage’s first elected female mayor

a woman smiles
Anchorage mayoral candidate Suzanne LaFrance at her campaign party at Williwaw Social on Tuesday. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Suzanne LaFrance is poised to unseat incumbent Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and become the city’s first elected female mayor. 

Partial, unofficial election night results Tuesday show the former Anchorage Assembly chair leading Bronson by 9.8%. 

There are still thousands of ballots left to count, but the lead will be difficult for Bronson to overcome. If voter turnout patterns continue from recent mayoral elections, Bronson would need the outstanding ballots to favor him nearly 2-to-1 to overcome the deficit.

LaFrance supporters erupted in cheers as she talked to a television crew at her campaign party downtown Tuesday night, and again as she took the stage. 

“I feel really optimistic and grateful to everyone for all their work and support, and bringing us to this moment,” LaFrance said in an interview. 

two women look happy
Suzanne LaFrance (right) and her campaign manager Katie Scovic get a first look at the initial election results. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

Kelly Luczak was at the campaign party, and said she teared up when she saw LaFrance’s big lead.

“I think it’s historical and very exciting,” she said. “It really means a lot.” 

If LaFrance’s lead holds, she will officially take office on July 1. 

“This administration, this mayor has had so many problems,” LaFrance said. “And people have seen how services have suffered. And you know, the scandals and lawsuits. So definitely yes, there was a path and we put everything we had into it, and had a strategy and executed.”

Bronson went into his reelection bid as an unusual incumbent underdog, trailing LaFrance in the regular election results, a post-election poll and campaign fundraising. He’s set to be only the second incumbent mayor to fail to win a second term since 1975, when the city and borough unified. 

So far there are 51,019 ballots tallied. LaFrance has 54.9% to Bronson’s 45.1%

A man in a blue suit looks at election results.
Incumbent Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson looks at initial election results with his wife Debra at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

At his campaign headquarters Tuesday night, Bronson thanked his supporters and said there are still votes to be tallied. 

“We’re not going to commit to anything tonight because, all the votes – I mean, there’s folks that just voted 30 minutes ago,” he said. “So we don’t want to say anything until their votes are counted.” 

In an interview, Bronson said he’s anticipating far higher turnout than in recent history.

“So this is well within the realm of changing,” he said. “This is where we were three years ago, and we wound up pulling that out. But it was close three years ago.”

a man speaks into a microphone
Incumbent Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson gives a speech to his supporters at his campaign headquarters on Tuesday. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

While LaFrance would be Anchorage’s first elected female mayor, another woman has held the city government’s top executive position in an acting capacity. That was Austin Quinn-Davidson, who served as acting mayor for about eight months beginning in October 2020

The Anchorage Assembly had picked Quinn-Davidson from within its membership to finish out Mayor Ethan Berkowitz’s second term after he resigned amid a sexting scandal with a local news anchor

The runoff election follows a crowded mayoral race.

LaFrance and Bronson emerged as the top two candidates in a 10-person competition for mayor. LaFrance led in the regular April election by under 500 votes.

The election caps a yearslong divide between LaFrance and Bronson, beginning when Bronson was elected mayor in 2021. For two years of Bronson’s term, LaFrance served as Assembly chair. 

As chair and during her campaign, the registered nonpartisan tended to avoid divisive rhetoric and politicizing administrative failures, but often sided with the left-of-center majority of Assembly members in discussions over COVID-19 health mandates, homelessness and general budgeting.

Bronson, a registered Republican, has campaigned on being a conservative counter to what he’s described as a “woke leftist” Assembly, with many campaign signs sporting the message “Bronson = balance.” 

Bronson and his campaign leaned into their political differences. “I’m normal. She’s woke,” he said at a candidate debate in April. He later explained that to him, wokeness is an unhealthy political ideology of the far left. 

LaFrance’s campaign emphasized that most local issues are apolitical. 

Snow removal, potholes, housing costs and homelessness were among the most common local issues that residents across the city raised leading into the runoff. 

Alaska Public Media’s Matt Faubion contributed to this report.

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

Wesley Early covers Anchorage life and city politics for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at and follow him on X at @wesley_early. Read more about Wesley here.

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