Republicans nearly halfway to control of state House

Rep. James, Scalzi eliminated in primary

Posted: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Some of the faces changed Tuesday, but Republicans already hold nearly half the seats they will need to keep control of the state House.

Two incumbent Republicans will stay home, but barring losses in write-in campaigns, the GOP starts the general election season controlling 10 seats in the 40-member house. They will need to win 11 more to maintain their majority.

During the last session, Republicans held 27 House seats and were joined by Rep. Richard Foster, a Nome Democrat.

The incumbents sent packing were Rep. Jeannette James, a North Pole Republican, the House majority leader last session, and Rep. Drew Scalzi, a one-term GOP representative from Homer.

In the 20-member Senate, the GOP controls four seats and will need seven more to maintain a majority.

Five Republican state representatives faced no opposition in the primary and face none in the general election: Bill Williams of Ketchikan, Carl Morgan of Aniak, Jim Whitaker of Fairbanks, Kevin Meyer of Anchorage and Gary Stevens of Kodiak.

Three other Republicans appeared to fend off party challengers and will not face opposition in the general election.

With all five precincts counted, GOP Rep. Lisa Murkowski of Anchorage, narrowly led Nancy A. Dahlstrom in District 18, with some ballots still have to be counted. The district covers Elmendorf Air Force Base, Fort Richardson, and the north Muldoon and Government Hill sections of Anchorage.

Rep. Norm Rokeberg defeated Chuck Achberger, former head of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, in South Anchorage.

Valdez Rep. John Harris defeated Mike Pearson of Sutton and Scott Smith of Valdez.

Six other Republicans advanced Tuesday and face minor party candidates or nonpartisans.

Incumbent Rep. Vic Kohring, a Wasilla Republican, will face Alaskan Independence Party candidate Marci Schmidt, plus two nonpartisans, Peter Burchell and Linda Anderson.

Rep. Pete Kott, an Eagle River Republican, faces Jay Dulany, a nonpartisan.

In House District 16, covering the Chugiak and southern Matanuska-Susitna Borough areas, Republican Bill Stoltze faces AIP candidate Larry Wood.

District 29 in South Anchorage will be decided between Republican Ralph Samuels and Republican Moderate Ray Metcalfe.

In District 31, a South Anchorage district, Republican Bob Lynn took 53 percent of the vote and defeated attorney Mark K. Johnson. Lynn is a retired Air Force officer and special education teacher, self-described as pro-life and pro-capital move.

In District 32, covering parts of South Anchorage, Girdwood, Whittier and Hope, Republican Mike Hawker, a business and accounting consultant, faces nonpartisan Pat Abney.

And in District 34 on the Kenai Peninsula, covering Nikiski, Ninilchik, Sterling and Kasilof, incumbent Mike Chenault will face Republican Moderate James Price.

Rep. Richard Foster, the Nome Democrat who has joined previous Republican-controlled majorities, ran unopposed Tuesday and is unopposed in November.

House Democrats other than Foster controlled four seats as of Tuesday.

Rep. Carl Moses of Unalaska and Rep. Reggie Joule of Kotzebue faced no opposition.

Newcomer Les Gara defeated longtime party activist Jane Angvik for an open downtown Anchorage seat. He faces no opposition in November.

Democratic Rep. Mary Kapsner of Bethel defeated challenger Ivan Ivan, a former representative, by a 2-1 margin.

In the state Senate, Republicans Alan Austerman of Kodiak and Ben Stevens of South Anchorage ran unopposed.

Republican Scott Ogan, who represented Palmer in the House for four terms, defeated Joe Caswell for a Senate seat and will be unopposed in November.

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