Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Slight Right Turn in Mat-Su- Valley Elections

Preliminary election results from Tuesday's local elections for Borough Assembly and School Board seats, and on some important voter initiatives, show a slight move to the right, particularly with one of the school board seats.

Though voters (18.36% turnout) turned down two initiatives that were inspired by petitions submitted by GOP-supported groups, a right-leaning candidate, Lynne Gattis, narrowly beat incumbent populist reformer Myrl Thompson for School Board Seat G. Though Gattis and Thompson seemed a lot alike in their performances during voter forums held in the Valley this fall, Gattis now owes her allegiance to a barely disguised, GOP-funded ad campaign on her behalf, which helped tremendously in raising her profile, compared to the well-known and fairly popular Thompson.

The two important initiatives that were soundly rejected were in support of a strong-mayor form of Borough government, that would have diminished the authority of the Borough Manager and of planning agencies; and in support of exempting elected officials in the Mat-Su Borough from stringent ethics requirements.

Tea Party-endorsed George Rauscher was beat by the pragmatic Warren Keogh for Assembly District 1's seat. But in Palmer, the ill-advised entry into the race by meteoric, yet erratic activist, Kevin Brown cost the left and center the mayor's seat, as Brown's entry split the left and moderate vote between him and former School Board chair and steadfast community organizer, Mike Chmielewski. Together, Brown and Chmielewski took 47% of the vote. The seat went to right-wing shill, DeLena Johnson, who garnered less than 42%.

One commenter at today's Anchorage Daily News article on the Valley elections characterized the Palmer race:

The Conservative Patriots and the Republicans turned this into a partisan race. That's especially true in the Palmer race -- where the Republicans went all out to attack Kevin and Mike. They engaged in vicious whisper campaigns, attacking family members, denigrating years of service, spreading paranoid rumor... They tore Palmer apart, and we'll have to see if it can ever be whole again.

The important school bond for facility improvements, many of them safety-related, passed. Considering that this area sometimes seems to have become Tea Party Ground Zero, that bond's passage is one of the most reassuring signs in this election that Valley voters can have common sense when it matters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You forgot that left leaning Pete Houston was soundly trounced by Noel Wood in the Palmer area.