Ketchikan Rep. Dan Ortiz withdraws from reelection race

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, sits at the Senate Finance Committee table in the Alaska State Capitol during a conference committee meeting on May 14, 2024. (Eric Stone/Alaska Public Media)

State Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, will no longer seek reelection to his House seat this fall.

Alaska House District 1 covers Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Saxman, Wrangell, Hyder, and part of northern Prince of Wales Island. Ortiz is a former Ketchikan High School teacher and coach, and has represented the district since 2015. He filed for reelection in July of last year.

Ortiz said he chose to end his campaign for the long-held seat due to family considerations and health concerns. Specifically, he received a doctor’s recommendation to curb his stress.

“I could continue to run and I can continue to serve. But, you know, with some of the revelations through some blood tests and things like that, there’s a potential for a chronic condition to develop that I don’t want to develop,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz said it was not an easy decision, especially when there are important issues that he feels are left unfinished – like securing more funding for public education and the marine highway system.

“You’re never going to get everything settled the way you want to see them settled, no matter when you go out of office,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz’s withdrawal from the race leaves Ketchikan Republican Jeremy Bynum as the only remaining candidate, with just days until the filing deadline. The deadline to file as a candidate is Saturday at 5 p.m.

In a statement sent to KRBD, Bynum said he respected Ortiz’s “many years of service to the District” and that he plans to continue conversations with Ortiz “when the time is right.”

Two other Ketchikan residents have expressed interest in the seat. Republican Robb Arnold entered the race in December but withdrew his candidacy in February. Ketchikan Borough Assembly Member Grant Echohawk also filed a letter of intent to run as an independent, but then called off his campaign before officially filing as a candidate.

It’s unclear if anyone else will join the race before Saturday’s filing deadline.

Ortiz plans to finish out his term as District 1’s representative in the house, which expires January of 2025.

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