It’s been almost three years, but the Alaska Redistricting Board is now one step closer to finalizing the state’s political boundaries. APRN’s Alexandra Gutierrez has more on the “concept plan” released on Sunday.
The plan addresses a variety of legal complaints against the interim map that was used for the 2012 election. One of the biggest criticisms of that map was that it linked up communities in the Fairbanks area with a mostly rural district that extended out to the Bering Sea. In the new plan, those areas are separated. The changes to the Interior also create an open district covering Healy, Eielson Air Force Base, and more than a dozen Native villages.
In Southeast, the plan takes Petersburg out of Juneau’s district and pairs it with Sitka and Hoonah. And in Southwest, the Aleutians are linked once again. Those changes also resolve some concerns about the constitutionality of the interim map.
What the plan will do to the political makeup of the legislature is unclear. It creates one open House district by pitting North Pole Republicans Tammie Wilson and Doug Isaacson against each other. It also creates a new Senate seat in the Mat-Su region, now that Eagle River Republicans Anna Fairclough and Fred Dyson are in the same district.
The plan also requires four incumbent senators who previously didn’t need to run to campaign for reelection. Those are Click Bishop, a Republican from Fairbanks; Lyman Hoffman, a Democrat from Bethel; Peter Micciche, a Republican from Soldotna; and Fairclough.
The redistricting board is scheduled to meet on Sunday to get a legal opinion on the new map.