Alaska senate incumbents dominate ballot

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August 9, 2010

By Geoff Pallay

In the Alaska State Senate, a state with no term limits, incumbents factor heavily on the ballot in this fall's election, according to a Ballotpedia analysis.

According to the data, states with term limits have a much higher rate of turnover than non-term limited states. Nationwide, 18 percent of seats are considered open -- where there is no incumbent running for re-election. But in states with term limits, that number jumps to 48.51 percent. In states without term limits, only 13.78 percent of seats are open.

In Alaska, there are 10 seats up for election. Incumbents are running for re-election in 90 percent of those seats. Of the 9 seats where an incumbent is running, 5 of them face no primary or general election challenge (2 Democrats and 3 Republicans). Only incumbent Con Bunde did not seek re-election. Bunde said he is not running again because he is displeased with the legislature's failure to get meaningful work done.[1]

With a currently evenly split state senate (see below), this fall's race will weigh heavily on the partisan balance.

Party As of August 2014
     Democratic Party 7
     Republican Party 13
Total 20

According to Louis Jacobson, a political analyst with Governing magazine, the Alaska Senate is considered a tossup in this fall's election.[2]

Additionally, none of the incumbents in Alaska faced a challenge in the primary. Across the country, only 21.44% of all incumbents are facing a challenge in the primary. Fifty percent of incumbents in Alaska faced no challenge in the primary or general election. Nationally, 24.86 % of incumbents are not facing any primary or general election challenge.

Partisan incumbents

Across the country, more Democrat incumbents are not running for re-election than Republicans. Additionally, more Democrats are facing primary opposition.

Category Democrats in Alaska Republicans in Alaska Democrats nationwide Republicans nationwide
Incumbent seats open 0 1 TBD TBD
Incumbents facing primary 0 0 TBD TBD
Incumbents running unopposed in primary and general 2 3 TBD TBD

See also