Incumbent vs. Incumbent: Petersen, Pruitt Vie in House District 25
One Alaska race where each candidate has a record to examine
ANCHORAGE - If you live in House District 25 and feel like voting against an incumbent legislator, it will be easy -- in fact, when you go to the polls, you will have no choice.
That's because in Muldoon, there are two representatives vying for the same seat.
Said Lance Pruitt: "You work with someone and then you have to turn around and run against them. It is very different."
His opponent, Pete Petersen, said, "Well, it's a little bit awkward. You know, Representative Pruitt and I have been on committees together over the last couple of years, so obviously we know each other."
First-term Representative Lance Pruitt and second-term Representative Pete Petersen were pushed into the same House district when the post-Census legislative boundaries were redrawn.
Now voters in Muldoon must choose between Pruitt, the Republican, and Petersen, the Democrat. As is typical of this election season, their biggest difference is over Governor Parnell’s failed bill to reduce oil production taxes.
Petersen said, "I didn't feel it was the right way to go to give a couple billion dollars a year to the oil companies without some sort of guarantee that they would invest that money in Alaska. I thought that was too risky for Alaska."
But Pruitt says oil company executives have convinced him lower taxes would lead to new investment. "And these are people that I’ve grown up with, that I trust. This was something that it wasn't just an executive I met as a legislator who would say, 'I'm going to tell you what you want to hear.'"
He says he thinks there are potential compromises but says they must be achieved before there can be progress on a natural gas pipeline. "We shouldn't even be talking about gas until we solve the oil issue."
But Petersen is impatient.
"I think if the state of Alaska has to step forward and say we'll put our good faith and credit on the line and let's finance this thing and build it, the companies would feel like they'd have to come forward and make a commitment."
Two incumbents; two different approaches to oil and gas.
Pruitt, who was interviewed second for this story, said that Petersen has been warning residents to expect a smear campaign from him.
Petersen did not return a call today seeking comment on that.
To view the full unedited interview with Pete Petersen, click here.
To view the full unedited interview with Lance Pruitt, click here.