3 file for city race

McConnochie, Zimmerman back in the running for assembly

Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2000

PeggyAnn McConnochie, Ken Koelsch and Patty Zimmerman have officially declared their candidacy for seats on the Juneau Assembly by filing letters of intent with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

A candidate may not raise funds for a campaign unless the letter has been filed.

Voters will decide this fall who occupies three of the assembly's nine seats, as well as who is to be mayor.

District 2 member Dwight Perkins, deputy labor commissioner for the state, announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election this fall. Areawide member Tom Garrett resigned his seat July 10 to move to Arizona. Whoever wins the areawide race would serve out the last two years of Garrett's three-year term.

This is the second candidacy for both McConnochie and Zimmerman. Koelsch is a District 1 incumbent.

McConnochie lost to areawide incumbent Jim Powell by 550 votes in 1998. In that race, Powell broke a city record by spending $42,000 to hold onto his seat. McConnochie spent $24,000.

McConnochie has not declared which seat she's after. She owns Alaska Coast Homes, a real estate consulting firm, and is a past president of both the Juneau Chamber of Commerce and the Juneau-Gastineau Rotary Club. She also chaired the housing subcommittee of the Alaska Committee.

Zimmerman, a marketing consultant, has identified her target as the areawide seat, a position she challenged Garrett for last fall. In that three-way race, Zimmerman's 972 votes were widely thought to have spoiled fellow-candidate Jim Demers' effort to unseat Garrett. Demers -- charged recently with embezzling Alaska Folk Festival funds -- lost to Garrett by 101 votes.

``Publicly open accounting of city finances will be my main issue,'' Zimmerman said. ``And I believe kindness and courage are essential for holding public office.''

Zimmerman is also thinking about challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski in 2002, a prospect that makes it essential that she win an election beforehand, she said.

``Most of my verbal support comes from Republicans to run against Frank,'' she said.

Koelsch, a retired teacher now working for the U.S. Customs Service, won his assembly seat in 1997 by defeating Downtown Neighborhood Association President Kim Metcalfe Helmar. That race featured accusations by both candidates that the other was campaigning negatively.

Koelsch, Mayor Dennis Egan, manager of KINY and KSUP radio stations, and McConnochie did not return the Empire's calls for information on their respective candidacies or intentions. If Egan runs, he will face a challenge from photojournalist Mark Farmer, who recently announced his candidacy.

Public offices commission intent letters are often the first step a candidate takes before running for city office. To get on the ballot, candidates for assembly and school board must file petitions with the city clerk between Aug. 14 and 24. The election is Oct. 3.



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