Alaska Politics

Political news coverage from the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Dean Westlake is challenging Barrow Rep. Bennie Nageak in the Democratic primary; in 2014, Westlake lost the race by 131 votes. Photo: Rachel Waldholz/Alaska’s Energy Desk

Democrats are hoping to take control of the state House this year. To achieve that, they're gunning for two lawmakers who run as Democrats but largely vote with the Republicans. One is Rep. Bennie Nageak, D-Barrow, who represents House District 40, which stretches from Kotzebue to Kaktovik.

State legislators who aren’t running for re-election have created openings drawing big spending ahead of the primary election next Tuesday. A quarter of all spending by legislative candidates has been in just three races for open seats. But it’s not clear whether those who’ve spent the most will be able to convert that into votes. Listen now

Candidates question party loyalty in Bethel-area House race. Listen now

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is running a multimillion-dollar campaign. But have you met the Republicans running against her? We tried. We found two undaunted optimists running on their shoestrings, and a third candidate who rebuffed our interview request on the grounds that he had too much to say.

Tom Begich and Ed Wesley are vying for the seat held by Johnny Ellis for more than two decades. Listen now

Republican primary challengers in some races for seats in the Alaska House of Representatives fear that Republican control is threatened by members of their own party. Listen now
Alaska News Nightly by Alaska Public Media

Gov. Bill Walker has appointed his Arctic policy advisor to lead the state's Washington, D.C., office. Listen now
Alaska News Nightly by Alaska Public Media

Alaska’s congressman and both U.S. senators are among the Republican lawmakers criticizing remarks Donald Trump made about the family of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American Army officer killed in Iraq. Listen now

A Skagway Borough Assembly member and businessman convicted of failing to file his income taxes is being ordered to spend just over a year in prison. Listen now

After lengthy discussion Monday, two tax items on the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly agenda each were postponed: an increase to the sales tax cap and a tax on retail marijuana.

State Democratic Party officials are backing challengers to two Democrats who caucus with the Republican-led House majority. The challengers and party officials say this will increase the chances for a bipartisan coalition. Listen now

A bill that puts local school boards in charge sex education will become a law, after Governor Bill Walker decided against vetoing it Thursday. House Bill 156 requires that school boards approve any sex education curriculum, as well as any teachers who aren't employed under a contract with schools. Listen now

PHILADELPHIA - The new chairwoman of the Alaska Democratic Party says supporters of Bernie Sanders are re-invigorating the party. But along with the new enthusiasm, the Alaska Sanders supporters also bring deep wells of dissatisfaction. Listen now

Delegates at the Democratic National Convention today officially nominated Hillary Clinton for president,to widespread cheering. But outside the arena, thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters banged on security fences, shouting "election fraud." Alaskans attending the convention in Philadelphia say what Sanders voters do after their disappointment could turn the tide of history.
Sens. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, and Charlie Huggins, R-Wasilla, linger after the Senate adjourned sine die, July 18, 2016. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Alaska's credit rating for the second time in six months, citing the state's massive budget deficit and its failure to find a long-term political solution. It's the fourth time since January the state has been downgraded by one of the three major ratings agencies. Listen now

In a move that may come as no surprise to a cash-strapped state administration, the commissioner of DOC Tuesday announced the shuttering of Palmer Correctional Facility. Listen now

The criminal justice reform bill recently signed into law is intended to save money and reduce the state’s prison population by eliminating the factors that contribute to recidivism, or the revolving door of offenders repeatedly returning to prison. Listen now

One of the issues dividing Alaska’s legislators is the level of state spending. Some lawmakers want to continue to cut spending before considering introducing or raising taxes, or making long-term cuts to Permanent Fund dividends. Others are concerned about the loss of services and the effect on the state’s economy from deeper cuts. So, how high is Alaska’s spending? It's a complicated issue. Listen now

Sen. Bernie Sanders faced a ballroom full of his delegates and tried to rally them to support Hillary Clinton. A few of Sanders’ Alaska delegates later spoke with a mix of sadness and pragmatism. Listen now

Homer resident Taz Tally is one of 20 delegates representing Alaska at the Democratic National Convention underway in Philadelphia. He says it is an honor to represent the state.