Election may strengthen GOP presence in the Alaska Senate

Posted: Wednesday, November 03, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Republicans will again control the Alaska state Senate and have a chance to add to their majority in 2005.

All six Republican incumbents retained their seats.

In three other races, with 82 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, Republicans trailed Democrat opponents.

In Alaska's northernmost Senate district, Sen. Donny Olson, D-Nome, held a 3,208-1,828 lead - with 61 percent of precincts reporting - over Tara Mac Lean Sweeney of Barrow, who ran as a nonpartisan.

Mac Lean Sweeney is a former special assistant to Gov. Frank Murkowski for rural affairs and education. She is the daughter of Eileen Panigeo Mac Lean, a state representative.

In District K, covering part of the east Anchorage, incumbent Democrat Bettye Davis led challenger Ken Flynn 5,487-5,020 with 93 percent of precincts reporting. Davis is a retired nurse and social worker. Flynn is an advertising agency owner and former radio broadcaster.

And in a seat vacated by Sen. Georgianna Lincoln, D-Rampart, Democrat Albert Kookesh held a 4,990-4,197 lead over Republican Carl Morgan with 81 percent of precincts reporting. Kookesh is a state representative and lodge owner from Angoon. He is co-chairman of the Alaska Federation of Natives. Morgan is an electrician and state representative from Aniak.

Republicans started the night with a 12-8 majority. Six of their seats were up for re-election although one, held by Sen. Fred Dyson, R-Eagle River, had no challenger.

In the other races, incumbents prevailed or were leading.

In Fairbanks, Republican Sen. Gary Wilken, owner of a wholesale food distribution company, defeated Rita Allee, an attorney.

In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Republican incumbent Lyda Green of Wasilla defeated Democrat Gini King-Taylor, a retired teacher who worked in Sand Point, Kodiak Island villages and the Matanuska-Susitna School District.

In District M, covering the Spenard and Turnagain neighborhoods of Anchorage, Democrat Hollis French, 46, a former state prosecutor, won his second term, defeating Republican Paula Pawlowski, a training coordinator for Northwest Technical Services.

In District O, covering parts of south Anchorage, incumbent Republican John Cowdery, 74, defeated Democrat Lynda Zaugg, a former director of the Division of Community Corrections, and Alaskan Independent Eddie Burke.

On the Kenai Peninsula, Republican Sen. Tom Wagoner of Kenai defeated Democrat Bob Merchant.

In Southcentral Alaska, Republican Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, held a 6,419-4,322 lead, with 72 percent precincts reporting, over Democratic challenger Michael Yourkowski, a Homer city councilman, former commercial fisherman and owner of Research Vessels of Alaska, a charter service.

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