If you live in Juneau, your vote for state representative in Tuesdays primary election wont decide anything. The real race for the downtown House seat will be in November, and there is no opposition for the Mendenhall Valley House seat this year.
But you ought to vote, anyway, the candidates say.
It makes a difference anytime anybody votes, said Mike Race, who is the only candidate for the Republican nomination in the downtown Juneau House district.
It is a statement that you care about what's going on, he said.
Rep. Beth Kerttula, who is the only candidate for the Democratic nomination in the downtown Juneau House district, agreed voters should go to the polls.
Even though theres no opponent on the ballot, its still something people pay attention to, she said.
Race and Kerttula will face each other in the November general election.
Kerttula, who is finishing her first term in office, said she wants to build on the bipartisan relationships shes developed the past two years. She also wants to continue pushing legislation requiring cruise ships to disclose how much pollution theyre releasing and legislation limiting class sizes in schools. She advocates re-examining taxes the oil industry pays in light of todays high oil prices.
Race, a real estate agent, said hes unhappy with Kerttulas performance in her first term, noting only one relatively minor bill she sponsored passed. He said he advocates a strong education system, support for senior citizens, a road out of Juneau and responsible natural resource development.
In the Mendenhall Valley House district, Rep. Bill Hudson, a Republican, is unopposed in either the primary or the general election. Sen. Kim Elton, a Juneau Democrat, still has two years to serve before having to run for re-election.
Although Kerttula and Race arent facing each other directly next week, primary election results can help or hurt a candidate in the general election, said Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer, a former Juneau state representative.
If candidate A receives far more votes than candidate B in the primary, I can tell you it makes it a lot harder for candidate B to raise money, Ulmer said.
Voters statewide also will decide the Democratic nomination to the U.S. House seat Tuesday.
Clifford Mark Greene of Ketchikan, Dae Miles of Fairbanks and Frank Vondersaar of Homer are vying to run against incumbent Republican Rep. Don Young in November.
Anyone can vote in that primary, including Republicans, by simply asking for the open ballot, Ulmer said.
Alaskan Independence Party candidate Jim Dore of Anchorage, Libertarian Party candidate Leonard Karpinski of Anchorage and Green Party candidate Anna Young of Seward also will run against Young in November.
The other reason to vote Tuesday is that its just the right thing to do, Ulmer said; its one of the duties of citizens in a democracy. If you dont like the options presented, you can always write in your own choice, she said.
Even if there isnt a race, she said, people can express their opinion, let their voice be heard.