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(I switched to the updated articles on the Daily News site)

It's 3am - could someone wake up Hillary and let her know, since she told us our 75% for Obama was useless because we'd never go Blue?

I know, I know, if I post this now it will never make the "recommended" list, but I just can't hold it in!  So many have worked SO HARD for this!!!!!

Yesterday was the Anchorage, Alaska Municipal Election and no, this is NOT a late April Fool joke!!!!!

Balance of Power in Assembly Tilts to Left

The political balance of the Anchorage Assembly swung from right to left Tuesday night as voters looked poised to elect four new members, according to early results.

Incumbent Paul Bauer, part of the Assembly's conservative majority in recent years, lost to challenger Mike Gutierrez in the East Anchorage race.

In another key race, self-described progressive Harriet Drummond defeated conservative Sherri Jackson to claim Republican Dan Sullivan's seat in the West.

The Paul Bauer upset is HUGE!  

While Assembly seats are considered nonpartisan, factions form along party and ideological lines, and Tuesday's election marked a potential shift in leadership. The new lineup includes six candidates who lean to the left - all are Democrats, as is Mayor Mark Begich - and five who lean to the right.

As the election results poured in, two conservatives, Bill Starr in Eagle River and Chris Birch in South Anchorage, were on pace to fend off challengers and keep their seats . Six of the Assembly's 11 seats were up for grabs, with races in every part of town. In Midtown, Elvi Gray-Jackson unseated incumbent Dick Traini after a bizarre race that included a court case challenging Traini's ability to serve another term because of term limits.

A Midtown resident and Gray-Jackson supporter sued the city in February, saying Traini clearly couldn't run again because he had been elected three times already. A Superior Court judge agreed, but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling just five days before the election, saying that Traini served just one year after the first of those elections rather than the full three years.

That means Traini legally could have won the election Tuesday. After the ruling, he said confusion over the court case skewed the election and that he might protest the results if he lost.

He doesn't want acknowledge the REAL reason -- that his name came up on a tape accidentally (karma?) left on the voice mail of the main Progressive Assembly member (Alan Tesche) by the cell phone of the Conservative Assembly Chair (Dan Coffey).
(We call it "butt dialing")

From the transcript:

Mr. Coffey:  "Oh, we're really cranking.  I took -- I took 1500 in for Sherri Jackson, and I -- I gave it to Sully (ph) and asked her [sic] to give it to her, and I took some, I took 1250 in to Tesche -- not Tesche."

Bill Starr:  "Traini?"

Mr. Coffey:  "Traini, and -- oh."

Bill Starr:  "(Indiscernible) Dan Coffey (indiscernible)?"

Mr. Coffey:  "Yeah, I'm -- I'm doling it out 250 at a crack."

Back to the Daily News article:

Incumbent Bill Starr, a Republican who led a review of Begich's budget last year, looked poised for an easy win until a tape of Starr and Assembly chair Dan Coffey talking about campaign contributions and a police endorsement aired on talk radio.

A former Starr opponent, Janet Brand, stepped in the race as a write-in candidate.

Still, Starr looked poised to keep his seat Tuesday night - outpacing the number of write-in votes, and far ahead of challenger Anthony Lemons.

What they don't tell you -- Anthony Lemons is a "colorful character" (code for wing-nut - he never would have gotten 11% before the tape) and that I don't believe any other write-in candidate has ever come that close to winning.

Two Assembly members - Democrat Allan Tesche and Republican Dan Sullivan - couldn't run again because they had served three consecutive three-year terms.

"We're seeing a couple of very strong personalities with very strongly held beliefs leaving the Assembly, and a lot of new people coming in," said Patrick Flynn, who easily won election to replace Tesche as downtown's sole Assembly member. He said he wants to bring a collaborative style to the Assembly.

So, the final count:

Assembly Members termed-out:

Tesche (Progressive) replaced by Flynn (Progressive)
Sullivan (Conservative) replaced by Drummond (Progressive)

Incumbent Assembly Members defeated:

Traini (Conservative) by Gray-Jackson (Progressive)
Bauer (Conservative) by Gutierrez (Progressive)

With Matt Claman and Sheila Selkregg already on the Assembly, it's now 6 Progressives to 5 Conservatives!!!!

Believe it or not, that's not the biggest miracle:

Proposition 1, which would replace and repair roofs at Sullivan Arena, city libraries and the Anchorage Museum, also has a comfortable lead of 56 percent to 43 percent.

Two school bonds also are getting the go-ahead. The $34.3 million Proposition 2, which will renovate two elementary schools and design a Girdwood K-9, has more than 57 percent of the votes, and Proposition 3, $9.4 million for maintenance and smaller repairs at schools across the city, is almost as popular.

It's usually REALLY hard to get bonds through in this town because a lot of the vocal Conservatives (my brother-in-law) hate public schools.

As Mayor Begich said when he was interviewed at Election Central, it shows that the citizens are willing to "take Anchorage forward" into the next century.  (For those of you who don't know, Mayor Mark Begich is also a Progressive who has "officially" formed an "exploratory team" for a run against Ted "Tubes" Stevens in November.)  

Anchorage going Blue is huge because Repubs and Demos alike said that it couldn't happen...in the same breath claiming that it also couldn't happen in the state.

I think that argument has been considerably weakened.

Originally posted to Celtic Diva on Wed Apr 02, 2008 at 12:38 AM PDT.

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