Legislative Lowdown: Identifying competitive Alaska elections in 2014

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June 10, 2014

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2014 Alaska Legislative Lowdown

Table of Contents
Majority control
Margin of victory
Competitiveness

Other 2014 Election coverage
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By Ballotpedia's State legislative team

Alaska underwent redistricting in 2013, so this year's elections will be the first with the new maps. As a result, many incumbents are running in districts other than the one they currently represent. In the House District 3 race, this caused two Republican incumbents to be drawn together. District 1 incumbent Doug Isaacson and District 2 incumbent Tammie Wilson will meet in the August 19 Republican primary. District 3 is currently represented by Steve M. Thompson (R), who is running for District 2 this year. A total of eleven incumbents (three in the Senate, eight in the House) will run in a new district previously held by the opposite party.

June 2 was the signature filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for Alaska State Senate and Alaska House of Representatives. Elections in 14 Senate districts and 40 House districts will consist of a primary election on August 19, 2014, and a general election on November 4, 2014.

See also: 2014's state legislative elections, Alaska State Senate elections and Alaska House of Representatives elections

Majority control

Heading into the November 4 election, the Republican Party holds a majority in both state legislative chambers. Alaska's office of governor is held by Sean Parnell (R), making the state one of 23 with a Republican state government trifecta.

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is six seats, or 42.9 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are ten districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[1]

Alaska State Senate
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 7 6
     Republican Party 13 14
Total 20 20

The difference in partisan composition between Democrats and Republicans in the House is twelve seats, or 30.0 percent of the seats up for election in 2014. There are 28 districts where two major party candidates will appear on the general election ballot.[2]

Alaska House of Representatives
Party As of November 3, 2014 After November 4, 2014
     Democratic Party 14 16
     Republican Party 26 23
     Independent 0 1
Total 40 40
2015
2013
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Competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, Ballotpedia staff analyzes each district's election to look at the following circumstances:

  • Is the incumbent running for re-election?
  • If an incumbent is running, do they face a primary challenger?
  • Are both major parties represented on the general election ballot?

In Alaska's 2014 elections, those circumstances break down as follows:[3]

  • There are 8 open seats (14.8%) in the two chambers.
  • A total of 6 incumbents (13.0%) face a primary challenger.
  • 38 districts (70.4%) will feature a Democratic and Republican candidate on the general election ballot.

The following table puts the 2014 data into historical context. Overall index is calculated as the average of the three circumstances.

Comparing Alaska Competitiveness over the Years
Year  % Incs retiring  % incs rank  % Incs facing primary  % Incs primary rank  % seats with 2 MPC  % seats with 2 MPC rank Overall Index Overall Index Rank
2010 10.0% 34 17.8% 23 58.0% 30 28.6 31
2012 18.6% 25 32.1% 16 67.8% 22 39.5 16
2014 14.8% Pending 13.4% Pending 70.4% Pending 19.5 Pending

Senate

The following table details competitiveness in the Alaska State Senate.

Alaska Senate Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
14.3% 7.1% 71.4% 30.9

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 4 of the 14 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Three Democrats and one Republican are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances. Candidates from both major parties will face off in the general election in 10 of the 14 districts up for election. Redistricting occurred in 2013, causing many incumbents to change districts.

Primary challenges

One incumbent will face primary competition on August 19. Two incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 11 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition.

Retiring incumbents

Six incumbent senators, three Democrats and three Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 8 (57.1%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
John B. Coghill Ends.png Republican Senate District A
Charlie Huggins Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District E
Fred Dyson Ends.png Republican Senate District F
Bill Wielechowski Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District G
Johnny Ellis Electiondot.png Democratic Senate District I
Lesil McGuire Ends.png Republican Senate District K

House

The following table details competitiveness in the Alaska House of Representatives.

Alaska House Competitiveness
 % Incs retiring  % Incs facing primary  % seats with 2 MPC Overall Index
15.0% 12.5% 70.0% 32.5

Candidates unopposed by a major party

In 12 of the 40 districts up for election in 2014, there is only one major party candidate running for election. Nine Democrats and three Republicans are guaranteed election in November barring unforeseen circumstances. Candidates from both major parties will face off in the general election in 28 of the 40 districts up for election. Redistricting occurred in 2013, causing many incumbents to change districts.

Primary challenges

Four incumbents will face primary competition on August 19. Five incumbents are not seeking re-election in 2014 and another 31 incumbents will advance past the primary without opposition. The state representatives facing primary competition are:

Retiring incumbents

Five incumbent representatives, all Republicans, are not running for re-election, while 35 (87.5%) are running for re-election. Those retiring incumbents are:

Name Party Current Office
Bill Stoltze Ends.png Republican House District 11
Lindsey Holmes Ends.png Republican House District 19
Mia Costello Ends.png Republican House District 20
Peggy Wilson Ends.png Republican House District 33
Alan Austerman Ends.png Republican House District 35

See also

External links

References