Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Incumbents beware
I’ve been watching Alaska elections for the past 30 years, and based on that experience I made a really bad prediction.
I said Alaska incumbents have pretty solid job security. Well, the Alaska primary taught me a pretty humbling lesson.
Six incumbents were defeated by opponents, and a seventh is trailing by 3 votes.
What each of these incumbents had in common is that they there were all members of the Alaska House Majority.
A majority that went through a regular session in overtime, and two special sessions, and ultimately decided not to vote on a fiscal plan that included new sources of revenue.
Some of them took a gamble that doing nothing was a safer reelection strategy than doing something.
I believe those incumbents lost their seats directly, or indirectly, because of their failure to deal with our fiscal dilemma.
With a voter turnout of just 15 percent, those voters who did turn out were obviously motivated to do so.
And no doubt, there were unique circumstances in each race.
But I think one of two things happened. Voters either made a statement that they expect their representatives to get their hands dirty and make some hard decisions.
Or, because House members failed to get the job done, they were forced back to a Special Session in July, leaving their opponents free to go door to door and get to know their districts.
Either way, the incumbents who lost pretty much have themselves to blame.
And the house cleaning may not be over. The general election is coming.
The extremists on the right and left should be prepared to answer voters’ questions about their fiscal strategy, that goes beyond cutting our way out or waiting for oil prices to rise.
Who knows if after the dust clears there will be a majority in the House ready to work together to find common ground. But the chances are certainly a lot better than they were before the Alaska primary.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.