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Anchorage Votes: All of our preparations involve the anticipation for a runoff

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Anchorage votes graphic(KTUU)
Published: Mar. 15, 2021 at 3:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Crowded elections with big personalities are nothing new in Anchorage. Neither are runoff campaigns.

Look back to 2015 and the first time Ethan Berkowitz ran for the top seat in City Hall, a bid that ended in a runoff with Amy Demboski when no one had earned the coveted 45% of the vote.

The same thing happened when Berkowitz’s predecessor, Dan Sullivan, ran for mayor the first time in 2009.

That race also ended with a runoff, with Sullivan defeating former lawmaker Eric Croft.

This time around there are 15 candidates who want to be the mayor of Anchorage. If no one locks in more than 45% of the vote, the two candidates who receive the most votes will be placed on the runoff ballot.

The election is April 6 and a runoff would be May 11. McConnell says election staff is preparing for a runoff.

“All of our preparations involve the anticipation for a runoff,” said Erika McConnell, the deputy municipal clerk.

Similar to the time when Sullivan ran, there is an interim mayor serving. In 2009, Mark Begich was elected to the U.S. Senate and left office early. Berkowitz resigned in 2020 after an ‘inappropriate messaging’ scandal that left Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson leading the city.

Although the race is technically nonpartisan, there are many candidates touting their conservative or progressive credentials.

Alaska’s News Source is profiling five candidates: Mike Robbins, Bill Evans, Forrest Dunbar, Dave Bronson, George Martinez and Bill Falsey.

Falsey worked under former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz as the municipal manager.

Assembly member Forrest Dunbar previously ran, and lost, as a Democrat against Congressman Republican Don Young for Alaska’s sole seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Bronson, a former U.S. Air Force and commercial pilot, is rallying a conservative base frustrated with coronavirus mandates that have impacted businesses in Anchorage.

Martinez was a Democratic U.S. congressional candidate in New York in 2012 and is a program director for the Alaska Humanities Forum.

Evans is also a former Anchorage Assembly member and attorney.

Mike Robbins is a businessman and Republican House District 26 chairman.

These names are also the ones plastered across town on billboards and yard signs. Facebook and television ads have also started running.

In October 2020, we asked Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson what makes a good mayor.

“I think, you know, in Anchorage right now it’s a tumultuous time and people are scared, understandably. We haven’t had a time like this in recent memory, and I think what people are looking for is someone who’s calm, makes smart decisions, who cares about people and who’s honest,” she said.

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