Assembly Members Running for Higher Officer Could Mean Changes After November Election
ANCHORAGE - Six of 11 seats on the Anchorage Assembly are up for election in April.
But there could be an additional seat on that ballot depending upon legislative races this fall.
Assembly members Dick Traini, a Republican, and Harriet Drummond, a Democrat, are running for the state House.
Traini's assembly term is up in April, anyway, but Drummond's goes a year longer.
If one or both win their legislative races, the remaining assembly members most likely would replace them by making appointments from a pool of applicants.
Assemblywoman Jennifer Johnston says she wouldn’t expect much change in ideology.
"And as much as there are sort of discussions on the right and discussions on the left, and there's who's in charge, who's in the majority, who's in the minority, there are many things that many of us cross over on."
Assemblyman Patrick Flynn agrees: "Well, anything's possible, but for the most part, the assembly is a pretty centrist body. And generally ideology is not particularly important on the issues that we deal with. So it's hard to see it being particularly disruptive politically. I think on the whole we work together pretty well, and you wouldn't see any dramatic shifts in ideological activity."
In making an appointment, assembly members might have to choose between applicants who want just a brief caretaker role and those who would run for the seat in April.
"I could go either way,” Johnston said. “I think probably who applies will make a difference. It’s nice because you do have an election within three months, I think, after they end up going to Juneau. It gives the public a pretty quick time to weigh in to whoever the candidate is."
What voters decide in November will determine the choices for the assembly in January, which in turn will set the stage for voters again in April.
The assembly's vote on filling vacancies would be by secret ballot, according to Flynn.
Flynn says an alternative is calling a special election, but he says he would only want to do that if it's legal to hold it at the same time as the regular election.