A reader fills us in on the great Democratic gains in Alaska.
All Alaska State Senate and State House Democrat incumbents were reelected. We defeated one House R incumbent (Scott Kawasaki defeated Jim Holm) and one Senate R incumbent (Joe Thomas defeated Ralph Seekins) by large margins in both races. We also took two House open seats formerly held by R's (including electing Peace activist Andrea Doll by 61 votes in one seat). D seats in the House and Senate that were open due to retirement were won by Ds. Net gain of three in the house (now 17 D to 23 R -- though one D caucuses with the R's and would with us if we had 20 seats), and 9 Ds to 11 Rs in the Senate.
Here is the kicker. Because the Senate was so close the R's couldn't figure out their leadership. So one of the Senate President candidates (Lyda Green) crossed the aisle and joined with 8 D's to form a coalition.
That governing coalition in the Senate (with a conservative Republican, no less) means that Democrats will get to chair several committees in the Senate. It's not an outright takeover, but it's the next best thing.
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