Live Blog: Analysis of Alaska’s Races

By November 6, 2012Election Coverage

This blog will give you one more look at the results of the Alaska elections Tuesday night as the votes are being counted.

I’ll start putting information on the site as it develops, but I don’t expect anything meaningful to cross my screen until well after the polls close at 8:00 pm.

While there are only a few statewide elements to watch,  one question will hang around unanswered for several days:  Will the Senate be run by a bi-partisan coalition for the next two years?

Governor Parnell and the low-tax part of the Republican Party have set a goal of voting out those Senators who might opposed the petroleum tax cuts the administration has tried to get past the legislature for two years now.  They picked up the support of oil companies and their commercial allies and directed a lot of money into some of the individual races.

A grassroots effort to praise the bi-partisan Senate members led by unions and the old-guard Backbone supporters directed vocal support in several of those races.

The interest will be in the totals Democrats and Bi’s that last through the night.   The old D-R distinction won’t really matter this time in the Senate.

Unless the incumbent Senators of both parties are totally trounced election day – and that would be a surprise – there is every expectation that an attempt to reorganize will occur by the end of the week.  While there are important district races on personal and local-interest levels,   the overriding question of the election season won’t be answered until the organization is complete.

A few other interesting topics are worth a look.  The state wants to issue bonds for a long list ($453-million) of transportation and ports projects.  The only item on that list getting statewide attention is the money to continue work on the Port of Anchorage.

The other statewide question is whether to hold another Constitutional Convention.  That’s automatically put on the ballot every ten years.   There’s been a lot of talk about the subject,  but no organized support or opposition has stood up on the subject.

And finally,  Anchorage Superior Court Judge Sen Tan is up for a retention vote this year.  He’s drawn opposition from anti-abortion elements who lost some arguments in his court.  It will be decided by voters from Anchorage and SouthCentral Alaska who live in that judicial district.

We’ll be back Tuesday night,  keeping you up to date as the votes are tallied.

Recent headlines

Dave Donaldson November 6, 201211:31 pm

That’s it from here. You can keep getting updates from the Division of Elections website at
The most interesting stuff will happen later in the week as the winners get together to organize their caucuses. The House will feature 25 Republicans with a few Democrats joining with them. It depends on how many D’s cross the aisle but there is a real risk of there not being a recognized minority in the House.
The Senate — well, they have to finish counting the ballots to see who gets invited to the party.
I’ll keep watching it. And KTOO will, too.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 201211:14 pm

Sitka Republican Bert Stedman has defeated Democrat Albert Kookesh. Both were members of the Senate majority so that issue wasn’t in play during the campaign. It looks like geography wins. Sitka also is very close to having a Senator and a Representative as Jonathon Kreiss-Tomkins has a small (1%)lead over Haines Republican Bill Thomas. Thomas is Finance co-chair.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 201211:07 pm

Both the Joes have lost their Senate seats in Fairbanks. John Coghill is comfortably ahead of Democrat Joe Thomas with 59% of the vote. And former Senator Pete Kelly — with all the votes counted — has 53% of the vote in his district.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 201211:04 pm

A couple of surprises in the results this evening. The most recent numbers in the Senate J race show Democrat Hollis French ahead of Bob Bell by 17 votes. There are still two precincts to figure in — and you can’t call this one until the absentee ballots come in.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20129:42 pm

We’re still waiting for more results here in Juneau. It’s been 45 minutes since we saw an update from the Division of Elections. We’re stuck right now at 116 precincts reporting — 26.48% — and looking for something more complete.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20129:34 pm

One of the problems with being able to guess the results in a race is that, this early, we don’t know the geography of the votes that have been counted. Example: Senate Q in Southeast. Eighteen votes separate Bert Stedman and Albert Kookesh. The question is that we don’t know if the votes counted are from Sitka or from the Islands part of the district. So far, the split in vocal support has been along those lines — so the geography matters if you want to see where the races might wind up.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20129:17 pm

We expected the Senate J seat to be close — and it is. With nearly half the vote in, Democrat Incumbent Hollis French is ahead only by only 60 votes.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20129:14 pm

There’s only 26% of the precincts counted, but I don’t see any surprises yet.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20129:13 pm

Ballots are starting to come in: nowhere near any meaningful results right now, but a couple of high points away from the legislature. Judge Sen Tan is holding on right now in his fight to win a retention vote. It’s a real close count with a lot of precincts not reporting yet. Also, no constitutional convention — although that one hasn’t had many votes in either. I wouldn’t mind predicting the bond measure — $453-million — will pass.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20128:48 pm

A lot of people have been saying that the election is not over until the House and Senate are organized. Those will start tomorrow — and you can bet some of it has already begun. They aren’t public meetings, but very tight, very heated meetings to elect the leaders, the committees, everything that will influence the direction of the state.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20128:06 pm

The polls closed by the way. We’re waiting for the first numbers — figure about a half hour.

Dave Donaldson November 6, 20128:04 pm

That partisan thing is important because there could be NO legal recognition of a minority — like in the Senate last year. That break comes at 25% of the membership.
For the reality base here, that means that if the House majority gets 31-members, there will be no legal minority. No requirement that they be on committees, that they get extra staff, nothing except that they get paid and are allowed into the lounge at lunch time.
Good things come from that position, but it’s personality more than anything formal.

daved November 6, 20128:00 pm

Looking at state legislative races: Remember that Party Labels are not so important. The House Republican Majority last year had four Democrats in it. The Senate fell to non-partisan control ten years ago.

daved November 6, 20127:57 pm

Once the votes start coming in, you can get them yourself at Keep this page open in a tab though. There might be something interesting here.

daved November 6, 20127:46 pm

Most national media is declaring victory for Obama. It will be interesting to see how Alaska gets along with the federal government for the next four years. Polls close at 8:00 here.