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One of the mostly closely watched races in Tuesday's statewide primary election is in Senate District S, which sprawls across northwestern Alaska and the North Slope.
Democrats Richard "Savik" Glenn of Barrow, Donny Olson of Nome and Andy Baker of Kotzebue are the only candidates in the race to replace retiring Sen. Al Adams, a Kotzebue Democrat.
Baker and Glenn each have raised more than $50,000 for the campaign, while Olson had amassed $31,450 by last month, according to disclosure statements filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. However, a three-person race likely will turn on local support. That could give Baker the advantage because Kotzebue is the biggest community in the district. With no Republicans running, the primary victor wins the race.
The retirement of veteran GOP Sen. Tim Kelly in east Anchorage sparked a battle for Senate District K.
Former lawmakers Marco Pignalberi and Terry Martin are vying for the Republican nomination, while former Rep. Bettye Davis takes on newcomers Bill Theuer and Hugh Wade for the Democratic nod.
Martin, who retired from the House in 1998, is a fiscal conservative whose unyielding stands on budget issues often alienated some of his colleagues.
Pignalberi is almost the opposite in style. As an aide to Rep. John Cowdery, he has been a pragmatic behind-the-scenes operator in the Capitol in recent years. Elected to the House in 1984, he was later thrown off the ballot for failing to report personal loans he received from lobbyist Lewis Dischner.
In Senate District E, which includes south Anchorage and the northern part of the Kenai Peninsula, the primary previews what promises to be a tough battle in the fall. Sen. Jerry Ward, an Anchorage Republican, faces retired Alaska State Trooper Brad Brown, a political newcomer.
Ward's real challenger is on the Democratic side, where former Sen. Mike Szymanski is already running a campaign aimed at unseating Ward, a combative conservative with a reputation for bare-knuckles campaign tactics. R. Michael Allegrucci of Anchorage and Kurt Melvin of Nikiski also have filed for the Democratic nomination, but have shown little campaign activity.
Senate District G features a Democratic primary for the right to challenge west Anchorage Republican Sen. Loren Leman.
Scott Heyworth, a longshoreman who lost a bid for the Anchorage Assembly last year, takes on Hollis French, who left his job as a state prosecutor this summer to run for office.
In Senate District A, which covers Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg and Sitka, veteran Republican Sen. Robin Taylor of Wrangell faces a strong primary fight from former Wrangell Mayor Bill Privett, a wealthy businessman. The winner takes on Democrat Greg Middag, a teacher who lost to Taylor four years ago.
In District C, a crowded field is trying for the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Senate Majority Leader Jerry Mackie, a Craig Republican. Skagway Mayor John Mielke, Tim June of Haines, John Waldron of Yakutat, Aaron Isaacs of Klawock and A. Webster Demmert of Klawock are all competing for the chance to run against Republican Rep. Alan Austerman in November.
In all, six Senate seats will be affected by the primary. Four others have no competitors.