By Editor’s Note by Matt Hickman
So there I was, in the back of the banquet room at Coffee and Communitas, the faith-based coffee shop, etc. out on Old Seward between Klatt and Huffman. It’s been a long day for Anchorage Republicans, holding one district convention after another at spots around town — most of them on the southside, the long-assumed ‘Red’ part of town.
U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan hit up as many of these conventions as he could, and when he was done speaking with the District 26 group at Coffee and Communitas, the conventioneers prepped to go into closed session to determine rules and roles and whatnot, but not before the two Anchorage Assembly candidates present made a motion to give their elevator speeches.
First up was Christine Hill, who’s looking to unseat Democrat incumbent Felix Rivera in District 4. Striding to the front of the room in a white skirt and scarf matching in color and sass, Hill opened by saying the reason she was running for Assembly was to put an end to the ‘B.S.’
I assumed that wasn’t a euphemism for bullshit, but I was scrambling my brain to guess what those letters might stand for as Hill let her pregnant pause dangle.
“No more ‘Becoming Seattle’” Hill said.
Wait, I thought. Is that a bad thing? To my mind Seattle is a thriving international city that three of the world’s top five businesses call home, but OK, maybe that’s not for everybody. Let’s hear her out.
Hill’s reasoning fell along the same lines as fellow Assembly hopeful Rick Castillo, who’s trying to take out incumbent Suzanne LaFrance in District 6 — an Independent, who like many Independents in Alaska, is backed by the state Democratic Party, but for whatever reason is allergic to having a ‘D’ next to their name.
Castillo identified the pervasive ill facing Anchorage as homelessness and crime, especially Downtown and Midtown and a reluctance, even refusal to give police and prosecutors the powers they need to really do something about it.
It was clear in this moment that this 2020 Assembly race isn’t going to be about trash pickups, property taxes or the usual hyperlocal minutiae of municipal politics — no, these races are going to be about the culture wars of our modern times: City Mouse vs. Country Mouse, tradition vs. progress, yoga vs. church, conservative vs. liberal, Blue vs. Red.
And while national and state candidates are still in the preliminary fund-raising stages of their campaigns, for the candidates for Assembly and School Board, Election 2020 is on and it is on now.
In a vote-by-mail election, ballots will be going out in early March and the last of the returns are due by April 7.
Right now is high time for Anchorage to finally have a newspaper — not a blog, not a hub — a printed newspaper devoted to politics and the most vital election in recent memory. That’s why starting this week we’re launching The Eagle: Election 2020 to be distributed throughout the Anchorage area as well as Eagle River and the Mat-Su Valley.
This weekly publication will cover all the races and political matters going on nationally, throughout the state and first up, in the municipality and later the Mat-Su Borough. The Eagle: Election 2020 will provide an opportunity for candidates in all races and people and organizations with vested interests in the ballot initiatives to express their thoughts and argue their positions.
To ensure everyone gets a fair shot at getting their voice heard we’ve sent out questionnaires to all of the candidates for Assembly and School Board and will be doing the same for every state and federal office as well.
The first to respond is Nick Danger, a former professional wrestler and actor in a number of movies and TV shows including ‘Six Feet Under’, ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ and ‘Escape From L.A.’ and as such he graces this inaugural cover of The Eagle: Election 2020.
In District 2, the quite liberal and prosperous Turnagain area, Danger is running as the lone conservative against incumbent Austin Quinn-Davidson, and newcomer MoHagani Magnetek, who’s fairly well known in Anchorage Bohemian circles as, in her own words, a ‘writer, poet, activist, politician, force of nature.’
Quinn-Davidson’s seat ought to be considered a safe one this spring, but with two candidates vying for some of the same ideologies, Nick Danger could very easily overperform in what conservatives around town hope will be a year that sees the progressive hold on the Assembly shaken up, at least a little bit.
It’s going to be a fun ride all year long, and The Eagle: Election 2020 will be there for all of it.
We’re glad to have you on board.