Senate District C’s delegation is likely to return to Juneau with at least one, if not two new faces representing the district. The district combines parts of Fairbanks with rural Interior Alaska. It’s a cold and unruly place, with an incredibly involved and unpredictable populace. Talk to them one minute and you think you’re among ruby-red Republicans. Another and you’d swear that everyone’s a Karl Marx disciple. And let’s not forget the villages, which offer their own unique flavor of politics. It’s my idea of heaven, for one day anyway, in July, armed with bug dope.
Here’s an overview of the Senate race and the two House seats in the district, and my take on the state of the races, for what it’s worth:
Senate District C: Bishop v Shockley
The Senate seat in the district is held by Republican incumbent Sen. Click Bishop, who’s being challenged by Democrat Dorothy Shockley.
Prior to winning his Senate seat, Bishop was a business agent for Operating Engineers 302 and served as Gov. Parnell’s commissioner of Labor. Shockley is an Alaska Native and has been a legislative staffer and has been very active in the community and with the Tanana Chiefs Conference. This is Shockley’s first run for political office. Bishop’s wife, Darlene, is Shockley’s cousin.
In addition to sharing family ties they share the same position on two of the three ballot measures, both candidates oppose the legalization of marijuana and support increasing the minimum wage. They differ on Ballot Measure 4. Shockley supports requiring a legislative vote to approve granting permits for the Pebble Mine, while Bishop opposes the measure. The other major issue is SB 21. Bishop was the 11th vote to secure passage of the new oil tax bill which stood up to a referendum to repeal in this year’s primary. Although it lost overall, the repeal effort won in Fairbanks.
According to the last APOC filings, Bishop has raised $107,403. Shockley has raised $8,520.
Current state of the Senate District C race: Bishop has been working hard. In many ways, he’s the perfect candidate for this district: He’s a Republican, but has quite a bit of Democrat in him. He’s got a union background which helps greatly in this election cycle, when unions are playing hard, and has a real asset in his wife, Darlene, who is an Alaska Native and educator. Also, he’s just odd enough to appeal to the odd Fairbanks. Absent some huge gaffe, the Republicans can put this Senate race in the win column with Bishop.
House District 5: Higgins v Wool
This district consists of Geist, Lakeview, Chena Ridge, University West, Shanly, and Richardson neighborhoods. The race is between the Republican incumbent Rep. Pete Higgins and the Democrat’s Adam Wool.
Higgins was first elected in 2012 and has served as the House chair of the Health and Social Services Committee. He is a businessman and a dentist.
Higgins appeared to be on a path to an easy victory against the Democratic nominee Elizabeth Clark. In fact, it appeared that he was taking it for granted raising only $4,083. However, Clark withdrew immediately after the primary and Democratic Party officials replaced her with Adam Wool. Higgins has now raised about $28,800 according to his most recent APOC filing. About $7,420 of that was his own money.
Adam Wool is the proprietor of the Blue Loon, which has been described as the cultural epicenter of Fairbanks, offering music, movies, dining, and dancing. He was also involved with starting Hot Licks Ice Cream with his brother. Unlike Higgins, he opposes SB 21, which the constituents of this district voted to repeal by a 3 – 2 margin. Wool says that the state budget, energy prices and education are the big issues facing the district. Wool has raised $31,949, according to the most recent APOC filing.
Here he is talking about his candidacy:
Current state of the race in House District 5: There’s considerable enthusiasm surrounding Adam Wool’s candidacy. I’d say the race is leaning his way.
House District 6: Talerico v Justin
House District 6 includes Cantwell, Healy, Nenana, Minto, Tanana, Rampart Beaver, Livengood, Venetie, Arctic Village, Circle, Eagle, Chicken, Tok, Dot Lake, Slana, Nabesna, Chistochina, Gakona, Copper Center, Kenny Lake, Chitna, McCarthy, and part of Glenallen, as well as other villages in the Ahtna and Doyon regions. This is a new and open seat created by redistricting.
The race is between Republican Dave Talerico and Democrat Wilson Justin.
Talerico is no stranger to politics or elected office. He has served as mayor of the Denali Borough for 10 years and is currently on the borough Assembly. He has also worked in Juneau as a legislative staffer. Prior to being elected as borough mayor, he served on the school board and was a member of the borough’s land use planning committee. He has been a coal miner and a small tourism business owner. According to his last APOC filing, he’s raised $26,392.
Justin is from Slana. He is the Tribal Administrator for the Cheesh’na Tribal Council, and has worked in the past as president/CEO of Ahtna. He has also worked as a big game hunting guide. He has extensive community service experience as well. His current APOC filing was unavailable as of this writing.
Current state of the race for House District 6: This race is leaning heavily Republican. Talerico is where I’d place my bet for now.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org