State Budget, Voters are Watching

Alaskan voters who watch state affairs brace for the coming legislative session and the fight over money, knowing the state faces a $3.5B+ deficit.10313974_291490021015562_5618556076462250486_a

I have been curious as to where alliances within Alaska’s 29th Legislature may be built to tackle the looming deficit and so many other major issues. Some of the question I have are:

  • Will the General Election’s vote for change make any difference to legislators?
  • Will those in the Republican Majority’s leadership positions drag their feet and stop any progress? If they want to, they can.
  • Will they instead choose to cooperate with the new administration; will they support the popular vote? They can do that as well.
  • Will the Republican Majority stand with their caucus, and vote accordingly – thus blocking all progress? They can do that too; they have done it before.
  • Will they vote in support of their district constituents? Those facing re-election might; we will have to watch and see.

Only time will tell us if a tiger can change it’s stripes, but the numbers can provide some clues.

I went back to the data from 2014 Governor’s race. I wanted to know the Senate District’s popular vote per the numbers; did Walker/Mallott, or Parnell/Sullivan, win at the District level? Who are the elected leaders in each District and what is their party affiliation?

The numbers across Alaska tell us:

The obvious: Alaska has 509,011 registered voters. I was not looking for, nor was I interested in, party affiliation by individual registered voter for this exercise. As we know, Republicans dominate state politics.

The numbers show, Alaska has 368,510 (72%) registered voters living in senate districts where Republican elected officials represent the district in the State Legislature. We have 140,501 (28%) registered voters living in senate districts where Democratic elected officials represent the district in Juneau.

Of the entire pool of registered voters, 279,958 (55%) voted and 229,053 (45%) chose not to vote.

Beyond the obvious, I wanted to know which senate districts, by popular vote, want change – away from the failed policies of former Governor Parnell – and for the leadership of candidates Bill Walker and Byron Mallott, and which voted to keep the tired status quo. This is a significant finding if a state legislator is facing re-election in 2016.

There may also be clues as to how the popular vote in the general election stacks up when looking for cooperation, alliances, and political support in the lean days, hard times, and tough decisions just ahead.

One cannot look just at the popular vote to assess the political environment of the 29th Legislature. One must also look at the Senate Majority’s leadership and committee organization. I can’t tell you how they make assignments, except that it has nothing to do with the popular vote. They meet secretly, pick their leaders, then make a public announcement. Three of these powerful leadership positions are held by district leaders where the majority of district constituents voted for keeping Parnell and his failed policies. Their names are bolded and their assignments are as follows: Kevin Meyer as Senate President, Majority Leader is John Coghill, Rules is Charlie Huggins, and Finance Co-Chairs are Anna Fairclough MacKinnon and Pete Kelly.

Chairs of powerful committees (the three names bolded represent districts where the majority of district constituents voted for Parnell in the General election):

Senators:

Clark Bishop, Community and Regional Affairs
Gary Stevens, Legislative Council
Lesil McGuire, Judiciary
Mike Dunleavey, Education
Bert Stedman, Health and Social Services
Cathy Giessel, Resources
Bill Stoltze, State Affairs
Peter Micciche, Transportation
Mia Costello, Labor and Commerce

List 1, just below, shows the Districts where Walker/Mallott prevailed in the Governor’s race. List 2, just following, shows the Districts where the Parnell/Sullivan ticket won in the Governors Race.

List 1, Walker/Mallott won.

A. Pete Kelly R, Scott J. Kawasaki D, 01 Downtown Fairbanks
Steve M. Thompson, R 02 Fairbanks/Wainwright

B. John Coghill R, Tammie Wilson R, 03 North Pole/Badger
David Guttenberg, D 04 Western Fairbanks

C. Clack Bishop R, Adam Wool D, 05 Chean Ridge/Airport
David M. Talerico, R 06 Eilson/Denali/Upper Yukon/Border Region

H. Bill Wielechowski D, Gabrielle LeDoux R, 15 Elmendorf
Max F. Jr Gruenberg, D 16 College Gate

I. Berta Gardner D, Andrew L. Josephson D, 17 University
Harriet A. Drummond, D 18 Spenard

J. Johnny Ellis D, Geran Tarr D, 19 Mountainview
Les S. Gara, D 20 Downtown Anchorage

K. Mia Costello R, Matt Claman D, 21 West Anchorage
Liz Vazquez R, 22 Sand Lake

L. Lesil McGuire R, Chris S. Tuck D, 23 Taku
Craig W. Johnson R, 24 Oceanview

N. Catherine A Giessel R, Lance Pruitt R, 27 Basher
Mike Hawker R. 28 South Anchorage

P. Gary Lee Stevens R, Paul Seaton R, 31 Homer/South Kenai
Louise B. Stutes R, 32 Kodiak/Cordova/Seldovia

Q. Dennis Egan D, Sam S. Kito D, 33 Downtown Juneau/Douglas/Haines/Skagway
Cathy E. Munoz R, 34 Mendenhall Valley

R. Bert Stedman R, Jona Kreiss-Tomkins D, 35 Sitka/Petersburg
Daniel H. Da Ortiz NA, 36 Ketchikan/Wrangell/Metlakatla/Hydaburg

S. Lyman F. Hoffman D, Bryce Edgmon D, 37 Bristol Bay/Aleutians/Upper Kuskokwim
Bob Herron D, 38 Lower Kuskokwim

T. Donald C. Olson D, Neal W. Foster D, 39 Bering Straits/Yukon Delta
Benjamin P. Nageak D, 40 Arctic

List 2, Parnell/Sullivan won:

D. Charlie Huggins R, Lynn Gattis R, 07 Gre+C57:C82ater Wasilla
Mark A. Neuman R, 08 Big Lake/Point MacKenzie

E. Michael J. Dunleavy R, Jim Colver R, 09 Richardson Hwy/East Mat-Su
Wes Keller R, 10 Rural Mat-Su

F. Bill Stoltze R, Shelley Hughes R, 11 Greater Palmer
Cathy Tilton R, 12 Chugiak/Gateway

G. Anna I. Fairclough R, Dan Saddler R, 13 Fort Richardson/North Eagle River
Lora Reinbold R, 14 Eagle River/Chugach State Park

M. Kevin Meyer R, Charisse E. Millet R, 25 Abbott
Bob Lynn R, 26 Huffman

O. Peter A. Micciche R, Charles M Chenault R, 29 North Kenai
Kurt E. Olson R, 30 Kenai Soldotna

All data was extracted from the State Division of Elections, as of November 25, 2014.

Interesting side note, the geography of Parnell’s winning districts as shown in list 2 reflect nothing remotely favorable for the needs of Alaska’s rural residents.

It is also an interesting contradiction that Democratic elected leadership holds the majority of leadership at the District level, in the House; 57% to be exact. Not a single one of these Districts are within the geographic area where Parnell prevailed in the general election.

That’s it in a nut shell; draw your own conclusions.

Sincerely,
LeadDog Alaska
Voters are Watching©2014

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