Juneau municipal elections are still more than three months away, but now that candidate nomination forms are available, October seems a little bit closer.
City Clerk Laurie Sica said forms that candidates for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and the Juneau School District’s Board of Education must use to gather signatures were made available at City Hall and on the CBJ election website this week.
The forms were posted “so people will have at least a month to think about running,” Sica said.
Assembly Member Ruth Danner is taking advantage of that time. She said she has not decided whether she will seek a second three-year term in her District 2 seat.
“I’m still thinking about it,” said Danner, who also works as a senior accountant at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. She said she expects to announce her plans in early August. “Life is kind of too busy to spend much time worrying about something I don’t have to deal with until six weeks before the election,” she added.
The soonest candidates can file their papers with the city clerk’s office is Aug. 3. Filing closes on Aug. 13, just seven weeks before the Oct. 2 election.
“I think it’s part of the ethos of politics here in Juneau to not stretch the election (season),” Danner said.
While Danner is publicly undecided about the election, a top prospect in the mayoral race has not been shy about his plans. Former Assembly Member Merrill Sanford announced in March that he intends to run for the office being vacated by Mayor Bruce Botelho, who is term-limited after serving nine consecutive years.
Upon learning that the nomination forms had become available, Sanford said, “I’ll run up there and get mine and start filling it out.” He said he has already sent a letter of intent to the Alaska Public Offices Commission.
Like Botelho, District 1 Assembly Member David G. Stone is term-limited this year. If Danner does not run, that would mean for the second year in a row, no incumbent would be running for any of the three Assembly seats up for election.
“It rotates quite a bit, I think,” Sica said of the Assembly.
Voters will also elect three people to the school board on Oct. 2. Andi Story, Phyllis Carlson and Mark Choate are the members whose seats are up this year.
Story, vice president of the school board, said she “would like the honor of serving again.”
Neither Carlson and Choate have decided if they will run for reelection, they said. Carlson serves as director of rural education in the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, while Choate heads up the Choate Law Firm.
School board members, like members of the Assembly, serve three-year terms – but unlike Assembly members, they have no term limits.
Candidates for both the Assembly and the school board are required to submit at least 25 signatures from qualified voters, who must reside in the CBJ for at least 30 days prior to the Oct. 2 election, in order to appear on the October ballot. Danner said that with such a low bar to clear, the process is essentially “a formality.”
Sica said that the city clerk’s office held off on making the nomination forms available until after Monday evening’s Assembly meeting. At that meeting, the Assembly adopted a resolution keeping Juneau’s two Assembly districts’ boundaries the same.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.