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Update (12:25 a.m.) – Kavitha George
The next state House District 33 representative will be Sara Hannan, replacing Rep. Sam Kito III. Hannan, who ran as a Democratic Party candidate, will represent Skagway, Haines, Klukwan, Gustavus, downtown Juneau and Douglas, starting January 15, 2019. She will serve for two years.
She says that having won in a difficult four-way primary against three other Democrats helped her hone her message. “I had to explain to voters why I was a better choice. It wasn’t about a position on a single issue,” she said. “I think that helped translate in the general (election), to the skills that I think I have that will make me successful in the job.”
Hannan ran on a progressive platform prioritizing a balanced state budget, affordable and accessible health care, renewable energy and public education. “I had hoped to be working with a progressive governor, where we could make some real substantive change in health care issues and education,” she said. “I think with the governor who’s being elected, we’re going to be playing a little bit more of a defensive game, working to protect Medicaid expansion and the level of services of schools … just protecting things that I think are really critical to the future of Alaska.”
Her win comes as something of a surprise since her opponent, Chris Dimond, outraised her campaign by more than $17,000, pulling in a total of $80,677.97 compared to her $63,541.93.
Dimond said he feels good about what his campaign has accomplished in the race, even as Hannan’s victory was looking probable. “Win or lose, we’ve run a hard campaign,” he said. “I have no regrets. I still feel good. No matter what, I’m gonna go home and feel good tonight.”
Update (10:25 p.m.) – David Purdy
With about 82 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Sara Hannan is currently in the lead with 54 percent of the votes counted, compared to independent candidate Chris Dimond with about 42 percent of the votes counted.
There are two candidates in the race for House District 33, representing Skagway, Haines, Klukwan, Gustavus, downtown Juneau and Douglas.
Sara Hannan, the Democratic nominee, is running on a platform prioritizing a balanced state budget, affordable and accessible health care, renewable energy and public education. She was also the only Juneau area legislative candidate in support of Ballot Measure 1, which would increase protections for salmon and other anadromous fish habitats. Hannan is a retired public high school teacher and owns a small business with her husband selling locally-caught fish. She is also a former legislative aide and in 1994, organized Fran Ulmer’s successful campaign for lieutenant governor.
Chris Dimond, an Independent, comes from a background in union organizing, serving in an elected position in the regional carpenters’ union. In that vein, he has continually stressed the importance of securing good-paying jobs as his number one priority for Alaskans, and secured the endorsements of more than a dozen local workers’ unions. His platform also includes balancing the state budget and investing in infrastructure and capital projects. If he wins, Dimond will be the first non-Democrat to represent the Juneau area since 1974. Last week, he earned the endorsement of Gov. Bill Walker.
Both candidates share similar views on most issues, including supporting an income tax, funding fast ferries on the Alaska Marine Highway System and investing in early education. Their widest difference comes in their approaches to infrastructure development — unlike Dimond, Hannan does not support a Juneau access road.
Polls close Tuesday night at 8 p.m.
This story will be updated as election results come in.
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