Balance of power at stake for Alaska lawmakers

Posted: Monday, October 25, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Alaska Democratic leaders are expecting the general election to yield big gains for the party in both state legislative chambers, a confidence that gives Republicans pause.

Alaska GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich says that's an interesting concept, "just not well-founded in reality."

His own forecast is that Republicans will reclaim the majority in the 20-member Senate - whose power has been equally split - and add to their 22 seats in the 40-member House.

For at least one political observer, however, there is no crystal ball for this highly competitive election season in Alaska.

Jerry McBeath, a veteran political science professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says conditions here can't be compared to races in the lower 48, where the economy has fared far worse, fueling an anti-incumbent rage among voters.

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