No one challenging Hudson - yet

Half of 40 House seats still uncontested

Posted: Tuesday, May 30, 2000

As of today, nobody had filed to challenge Republican Rep. Bill Hudson for his legislative seat in the Mendenhall Valley.

It's not a unique situation. Nobody's filed with the Division of Elections to challenge incumbents in half of the 40 House seats up for a vote in November. Also, incumbents are unopposed in four of the 10 open Senate seats.

The filing deadline is Thursday at 5 p.m.

Cindy Spanyers, a Juneau resident and vice-chairwoman of the Alaska Democrat Party, said it's been difficult finding someone who's willing to take on Hudson.

``We are making every effort to do so, but what we're finding is that people are pretty intimidated about running against an incumbent,'' she said. ``It takes a lot of money.

``We're having the same problem statewide.''

So far, one GOP candidate has filed to oppose Rep. Beth Kerttula, a downtown Democrat. That challenger is Mike Race, a local businessman who has been critical of Kerttula's ability to get things done in the House.

Chip Wagoner, a Juneau resident and Republican national committeeman, said the GOP's majority dominance of the Legislature -- with 15 of the 20 Senate seats and 26 of the 40 House seats -- is probably safe for 2000. There'll be some surprises, he said, but he's not expecting to see a major shift this year.

``The numbers may change, but I don't see the majority changing at all,'' he said.

Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, is halfway through is four-year term. Though he doesn't have to run for re-election this year, he said he'd be campaigning against a ballot initiative that would cap property taxes across the state.

In the Senate, Republican incumbents Loren Leman, of Anchorage, and Gary Wilken, of Fairbanks, are currently unopposed. Rep. John Cowdery, an Anchorage Republican bidding to fill the seat left open by retiring Republican Sen. Sean Parnell, is also unopposed as of today.

Cowdery may yet face a primary challenge, however. Rep. Con Bunde, the Republican incumbent in House District 18, has filed for re-election but said he is mulling withdrawing that in favor of running against Cowdery for Parnell's vacant seat.

``I'm weighing my options,'' Bunde said.

Democrat Greg Brown, meanwhile, has signed up to run for Bunde's House District 18 seat.

There appears to be some interest in the race for the Anchorage seat held by Republican Rep. Jerry Sanders. He is running for re-election, but is opposed by GOP Anchorage Assembly member Kevin Meyer and a Democrat -- Patty Higgins, whom Sanders defeated two years ago.

Former state Rep. Terry Martin, a Republican, is running for the Anchorage Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Tim Kelly, also a Republican. So far, Martin is unopposed in the primary, but three Democrats - former Rep. Bettye Davis, Hugh Wade and William R. ``Will'' Theuer - have filed for the seat.

In Senate District E, incumbent Republican Jerry Ward is challenged by Republican Bradley Brown. There were no Democrats signed up.

In Northwest Alaska, Richard K. ``Savik'' Glenn of Barrow is running against Andy Baker of Kotzebue for the seat held since 1988 by Democrat Al Adams. No Republicans had signed up for Adams' seat.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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