The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Valdez Star 

Primary candidates for upcoming elections set in bid to become a lawmaker

Names familiar to Valdez will be on the ballot for the Alaska House and Senate


The upcoming primary election got competitive.

While Friday's news that Mark Begich, the former US Senator and Anchorage mayor, was entering the governor's race as a Democrat dominated headlines, the race also widened for the Alaska Senate and Alaska House districts that include Valdez.

The deadline for hopefuls to file the paperwork needed to declare their candidacy and have their names included on the ballot passed Friday – and a number of familiar faces have tossed their names into the hat to run for a term in Senate District E and House District 9.

Four Republicans and one Democrat have declared candidacies for Alaska House District 9 and will be on the primary ballot.

On the republican side, incumbent George Rauscher is seeking a second term in the Alaska House. He is being challenged by Pamela Goode of Delta Junction, Vicki Wallner of Palmer, and an old foe, former Rep. Jim Colver, who Rauscher bested two years ago in a highly contested race. Colver had lost party support for alleged bipartisanship with House Democrats.

Wallner, who has close ties to Valdez, was also shortlisted as a candidate for the Alaska Senate and has now decided to run for Alaska House.

Bill Johnson of Fairbanks is the lone candidate running for the Democrats.

"The next primary election will be held on August 21, 2018," the Division of Elections said on its website.

Barring an unlikely undeclared candidate winning as a write-in, Johnson will automatically compete for the House seat against the winner of the Republican ballot.

The race to win a term on the Alaska Senate narrowed after Rauscher withdrew his name for consideration in the race and instead opted to run for a second term in the Alaska House.

The incumbent, Sen. Mike Shower, is competing for votes for the Republican nomination against Randall Kowalke of Willow.

Kowalke was appointed by Gov. Walker last February to fill the Senate District E vacancy that was created when Mike Dunleavey resigned the post to run against Walker in the governor's race. However, Kowalke's appointment was rejected by fellow Republicans despite the fact his name was on an approved list of candidates presented to Walker by the party.

Source: Alaska Division of Elections

Declared candidates for Senate District E – which includes Valdez.

Shower, of Wasilla, was later appointed to the seat.

The winner of the Republican nomination in the primary will face off against Susan "Su" Kay (D-Wasilla) in the general election slated for November 6.

Despite the candidacy deadline passing Friday, candidates can still drop out of the race. According to the Division of Elections, candidates have until July 2 to withdraw as a candidate, but no new candidates can make it on the ballot, though candidates can still run write-in campaigns.

"Currently there are no ballot measures scheduled for the August 21, 2018 Primary Election," the Division of Elections said.

So far, the same holds true for November's general elections.


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