ANCHORAGE -Tuesday's primary put a long-time capital-move proponent a step closer to returning to the Legislature.
Former Anchorage Rep. Terry Martin trounced former lawmaker Marco Pignalberi in the Republican primary for the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Tim Kelly. Martin, who has supported efforts to move the capital and the Legislature to Southcentral Alaska, won 80 percent of the vote. On the Democratic side, former Rep. Bettye Davis had 71 percent. The two will face off in the Nov. 7 general election.
In District E, which covers south Anchorage and the northern Kenai Peninsula, incumbent GOP Sen. Jerry Ward defeated Brad Brown with 59 percent of the vote. That sets up a confrontation in November with former Sen. Mike Szymanski, who won the Democratic primary with 79 percent of the vote.
In District G in Anchorage, Democrat Hollis French defeated Scott Heyworth with 57 percent of the vote in the race to tackle incumbent Republican Loren Leman.
Although 10 of the 20 seats in the Senate are up for election this year, only six were in play in the primary. Most of the races weren't close, but the contest in District S in Northern Alaska came down to the wire.
With 88 percent of precincts reporting in the district that stretches from the Canadian border to the Chukchi Sea, Donny Olson of Nome had 42 percent of the vote, Richard Glenn of Barrow had 31 percent and Andy Baker of Kotzebue had 27 percent in the Democratic primary.
The winner gets the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Al Adams, a Kotzebue Democrat, because no candidates from other parties are running. Six villages had not reported, said Virginia Breeze, a spokeswoman for the Division of Elections.
Four Senate elections this year had no primary races. Ten seats, including the one held by Juneau Sen. Kim Elton, a Democrat, are not on this year's ballot.
Republicans have held a 15-5 majority in the Senate for the past two years, an advantage that allowed the GOP to steamroll the Democratic minority by overturning some of the Legislature's standing rules.
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