In June, the Division of Elections rejected David Nees’ candidacy because his filing papers weren’t notarized. Now, the Anchorage Republican plans to run for State House anyway, even if it means a write-in campaign that could pit him against another member of his party.
Nees had originally wanted to participate in the party primary for House District 22. When he found out his candidacy had not been certified, he challenged the decision in court. A superior court judge denied his request for injunctive relief, but Nees is continuing his appeal in hopes of getting his name on the candidate list. With a final decision still outstanding and ballots scheduled to be printed in early September, Nees is preparing to run as a write-in.
“We’re still campaigning,” says Nees. “We just don’t know whether it’s going to be ‘write in David’ or if ‘David’ is going to be on the ballot. It’ll be confusing for voters because you’ll have two Republicans and a Democrat in that district.”
Nees – a former teacher who has previously run for Anchorage School Board – plans to go up against fellow Republican Liz Vazquez and Democrat Marty McGee in November. Vazquez is an attorney who once ran for State Senate. and recently edged out candidate Sherri Jackson in the Republican primary. McGee spent 17 years as Anchorage’s property tax assessor, and chaired the powerful State Assessment Review Board that determines the oil industry’s municipal property tax bill. He was controversially removed from the position early this year, because Gov. Sean Parnell believed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was being overvalued during his tenure. While McGee had previously been registered as a Republican, his firing became a rallying point for Democratic legislators and the party has responded enthusiastically to his candidacy.
District 22 covers the Sand Lake neighborhood of Anchorage. The area tilts conservative and is currently represented by Republican Mia Costello. But with Costello vacating the seat to make a bid for the State Senate, the District 22 House race is viewed as one of the more competitive contests this cycle.
Nees says one Republican group has discouraged him from running, out of concern that he could split the vote with Vazquez. Judy Eledge, president of the Anchorage Republican Women’s Club, is critical of Nees’ continued candidacy, and says Nees had a chance to run as a Republican candidate had he filed for office properly.
Nees says he’s not trying to “disrupt the Republican process” — he just thinks it’s better for voters to have more options.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” says Nees. “I think it’s very important that somebody go out and challenge the system.”
Nees says he plans to focus his candidacy on education and budget reform.
Democrat Marty McGee says he welcomes Nees to the race. Vazquez did not return a message left on her phone.