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Redistricting prompts candidates to move

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2001

Two Republican state lawmakers have moved to other districts to avoid running against like-minded incumbents in the primary under a new redistricting map.

Rep. Vic Kohring, a Wasilla Republican, moved rather than face fellow incumbent Rep. Beverly Masek, a Willow Republican. He now lives in another Wasilla district.

Kohring said the two share strong conservative views that accurately reflect their region. "It would be bad for the (Mat-Su) Valley if one of us was defeated," he said.

Kohring said he has not decided whether he will run in 2002.

The redistricting plan would require 20 Republicans to run against each other. It cut the Kenai Peninsula from the district held by Sen. Jerry Ward, an Anchorage Republican. So Ward moved to Nikiski, he said.

"In order to represent the people I wanted to, I moved where I needed to move," Ward said. "I was not going to lose the Peninsula."

Ward moved away from a possible challenge against longtime friend, Sen. John Cowdery, an Anchorage Republican. But he moved into District Q, which is held by Sen. John Torgerson, a Kasilof Republican. The district covers Kenai, Soldotna and most of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

"He's moving down to my country," Torgerson said. "If I decide to run, Ward would not be a barrier."

The new redistricting map is being challenged in court by numerous communities as well as Republican leaders. No Democrat incumbents were forced to face each other under the plan.

A candidate must be a resident of a district for one year before the deadline for filing for office, said the Division of Elections. The deadline for filing for legislative office is June 1, 2002.



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