Ellis, Huggins and 2 other state senators won’t seek re-election

Anchorage Democratic Sen. Johnny Ellis and Wasilla Republican Sen. Charlie Huggins announced they won’t seek re-election.

Ellis and Huggins joined two other senators — Chugiak Republican Bill Stoltze and Anchorage Republican Lesil McGuire — in deciding against running again.

Ellis said he felt a sense of accomplishment from the legislature passing the criminal justice overhaul aimed at reducing recidivism and the number of nonviolent prisoners.

But he also expressed disappointment that the legislature hadn’t passed a plan to improve the state’s fiscal outlook. “I felt … a great sense of frustration about the lack of a fiscal plan – progress on a fiscal plan this year,” Ellis said. “I think it’s a failure of this legislature.”

Democrats Tom Begich and Ed Wesley are running to succeed Ellis. Republicans Wasilla Rep. Lynn Gattis and David Wilson are running for Huggins’ Senate seat.

Palmer Rep. Shelley Hughes is running against Adam Crum and Steve St. Clair for the Republican nomination to succeed Stoltze. The winner will face Democrat Samantha Laudert-Rodgers and nonpartisan candidate Tim Hale.

Anchorage Rep. Craig Johnson will face Jeffrey Landfield and Natasha Von Imhof for the Republican nomination to replace McGuire. Roselynn Cacy and Forrest McDonald are competing for the Democratic nomination for the seat, while nonpartisan candidate Tom Johnson also is seeking to succeed McGuire.

In addition to the three representatives who are seeking to move up to the Senate – Gattis, Hughes, and Johnson – two other Republicans aren’t running for re-election to the House. They are Mike Hawker of Anchorage and Kurt Olson of Soldotna.

Andrew Kitchenman

State Government Reporter, Alaska Public Media & KTOO

State government plays an outsized role in the life of Alaskans. As the state continues to go through the painful process of deciding what its priorities are, I bring Alaskans to the scene of a government in transition.

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