More Alaskans are filing to run for the state Legislature as the deadline approaches.
As of this morning, only a quarter of the races remained without a challenger. That number was close to half earlier this week, and about a third Thursday.
The filing deadline for the August 28th primary is 5 p.m. today (June 1st).
All 40 House seats are on the ballot, as they always are. Nineteen of 20 Senate seats are also up for grabs.
Only 10 Senate seats are usually on the ballot. But redistricting changed boundaries enough to require all but one go before voters. That one is Juneau’s Senate district.
Retired University of Alaska political science professor Clive Thomas says those new boundaries may be a factor in unchallenged seats.
“It might have put off some people. I think that basically, the way redistricting works, it’s a political process, whatever people may say,” Thomas says.
Unopposed state Senators are Wasilla Republican Charlie Huggins, Eagle River Republican Fred Dyson, Anchorage Democrat Johnny Ellis, Kenai Republican Tom Wagoner, Bethel Democrat Lyman Hoffman, and Kodiak Republican Gary Stevens.
Unopposed Anchorage House candidates are Democrat Andy Josephson and Republicans Bob Lynn and Mike Hawker. Those from Juneau are Republican Cathy Muñoz and Democrat Beth Kerttula.
Also unopposed: Nikiski Republican Mike Chenault, Haines Republican Bill Thomas, Kodiak Republican Alan Austerman and Bethel Democrat Bob Herron.
- Bans on plastic grocery bags have been cropping up across Alaska’s remote communities. Cordova’s ban went into effect last year. But so far, the larger cities in the state have yet to adopt one.
- Things are not looking good for Haines’ Alaska State Trooper post. Trooper Director Col. James Cockrell intends to reassign Haines’ one trooper position to Bethel. The decision isn’t final yet, but the community conversation about how to handle the loss continued at a Public Safety Commission meeting this week.
- A new study from a Alaskan epidemiologist looks at infants who were exposed to opiates before birth. Unlike previous studies, it goes beyond the sharp rise in cases for a portion of the population to explore what happens next.
- Commercial fisheries in Southeast Alaska have survived two years of state budget cuts but not without some changes. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Commercial Fisheries has cut some positions, ended some monitoring programs, and found some new funding sources.