Many, if not most Anchorage residents will tell you quality of life has gone down over the last five or so years. Many, if not most conservatives will point to the city’s worsening problem with homelessness as a root cause. As citizens we see open urination and defecation in public venues along with open air drug markets and the addiction and criminality that invariably follow. On top of this the city has undergone a self imposed economic crisis due to the different shutdowns that Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has implemented in response to Covid-19. You add to this a radical left-wing majority in the Anchorage Assembly that has spent more time virtue signaling to the resident Neo-Marxist crowd and you have a recipe for bad leadership.
The April 2021 election to succeed acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson — unless she decides to run herself — figures to be a prime opportunity for Republicans to make gains in municipal government.
So far there are three Republican candidates who have filed to run for mayor and, to my mind, one who stands out as someone who can win the race. That person is Mike Robbins, a longtime radio station owner, who has recently sold off the last of his radio interests to put together a campaign organization that will prove to be a formidable operation against some of the Berkowitz clones that will be running to his Left.
For starters, Robbins has endorsement of former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell after Robbins managed Treadwell’s unsuccessful run against Mike Dunleavy in the Republican Primary for governor.
As for those running on the Right, Robbins can establish himself as a rational Republican who can work with others across the aisle to get things done for the city. Second it means that Mike will be able to assemble a high quality team once elected to manage all aspects of city administration. Another point to note with Robbins candidacy is the number of business leaders who have endorsed his campaign and are out serving as his surrogates. The fact that he has such strong support from the business community means that he will be able to raise the funds necessary to have a functional campaign that will be competitive from the start of the race to the end of it. With the right people on the campaign team and what will turn out to be a strong fundraising advantage, what is the only thing that is holding back the campaign? The answer to that lies in the other two candidates that have entered the race and are now trying to build up support for their campaigns.
I know and have worked with both of the other two Republicans in the race so far and respect them both a great deal. Both Bill Evans and Dave Bronson are good men who have devoted a large part of their lives to public service and have always answered the call to serve our country and state in whatever capacity they were needed. But when it comes to the mayor’s race it is clear that Republicans in Anchorage need one horse in the race in order to win. Robbins is probably that guy and that the other two need to bow out and get behind him so that there is a clear shot to victory for conservatives.
Though the mayor’s race is technically non-partisan, all elections are partisan, and the Left finds itself with a number of candidates competing for the same votes as well. Assembly members Forest Dunbar and Eric Croft, along with current Municipal Manager Bill Falsey are all in the field with more likely to throw in before the Jan. 29 deadline.
The reality is with the Democrats having multiple candidates running for mayor the Left is going to be divided and that means conservatives cannot be divided but must have one candidate. Hopefully, what will happen sooner rather than later will be a meeting of the three declared candidates on the Republican side and from that meeting a commitment by the other two to support one candidate. If that does not happen then it will be another circular firing squad within the Republican Party that will hand the election over to a virtually hand-picked successor of Mayor Berkowitz.
The Republican Party can’t take any more losses at the municipal level in Anchorage and the city itself needs to change course to get on track to a more prosperous future.