Election 2012: Democratic Senator Bettye Davis v. Republican Anna Fairclough for Senate District M
Yet another race that will determine the fate of the bipartisan coalition
ANCHORAGE - The fate of the bipartisan coalition in the state Senate could depend upon the outcome of a contest in parts of East Anchorage and Eagle River.
It’s an incumbent versus incumbent match-up -- one with nearly three decades in public office, the other with two decades.
Bettye Davis has been a political fixture. The Democrat from East Anchorage spent eight years on the school board and six years in the state House before being elected to the Senate in 2000.
But this year redistricting drastically changed her Senate district, taking away Airport Heights and UAA, and adding conservative Eagle River -- which Republican Representative Anna Fairclough has served for eight years on the Anchorage Assembly and six years in the House.
Fairclough’s challenge to Davis puts the Senate Bipartisan Working Group in jeopardy.
Fairclough said: "I wouldn't be part of the coalition as it exists in the Senate today. The gate-keepers on everything that's going forward may indicate that there's a bipartisan effort going forward, but if you're in the trenches, you know where the gate-keepers are at, and the gate-keepers are in the Rules Committee or in specific chairmanships. And the Democrats have control of the Senate."
Davis says it makes no sense for Fairclough to give up her vice chairmanship of the House Finance Committee.
"If she's running simply because she's trying to replace me as a Republican, because it is the goal of the Republican Party to break up the coalition that we have on the Senate side. And she's carrying the water for them."
And while the candidates are both women, Davis says there's another demographic consideration. "As far as minorities, you've got seven Natives, one African American, one Asian. I think our Legislature should be comprised of people we represent throughout the state."
Fairclough says she's more focused than Davis on long-term fiscal policy. "I don't hear a lot from my opposition about how we're planning to sustain the current budget that we have."
But Davis noted the state now has $16 billion in budget reserves. "We're doing well. And the one thing the bipartisan group did, they saved before they spent."
Soon, one of them will have to leave the legislature.
Fairclough voted for Governor Parnell’s bill to reduce oil taxes by up to $2 billion a year.
Davis wants a guarantee of more production before there are tax cuts.
To see the full interview with Bettye Davis, click here.
To see the full interview with Anna Fairclough, click here.