Alaska Legislative races hold few surprises

Rep.-elect Justin Parish paces as he talks with the Alaska Dispatch News at Rockwell in Juneau on election night, Nov. 8, 2016. The Democrat held a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Rep. Cathy Munoz. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO - Juneau)
Rep.-elect Justin Parish paces as he talks with the Alaska Dispatch News at Rockwell in Juneau on election night, Nov. 8, 2016. The Democrat held a narrow lead over incumbent Republican Rep. Cathy Munoz. (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh, KTOO – Juneau)

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In the state Legislature, only two of the 50 seats up for election have likely changed party hands. Anchorage Republican Liz Vasquez lost House District 22 to independent Jason Grenn. Juneau Republican Cathy Munoz lost District 34 to Democrat Justin Parish.

Parish said agreeing to a state fiscal plan is a priority.

“It’s an awesome responsibility which the people of Juneau and the people of my district have given to me. And I hope to honor it,” Parrish said. “It felt pretty good, if I’m really candid, and I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to come to a solution which will work better for the people of Alaska and the people of Juneau.”

There were no changes in the state Senate. In the most hotly contested races, Republican incumbent John Coghill of North Pole defeated Democrat Luke Hopkins and Anchorage Republican Cathy Giessel defeated independent challenger Vince Beltrami.

Alaskans also voted on two ballot measures yesterday.

Voters passed Ballot Measure One, which means people who apply for a PFD will automatically be registered to vote unless they opt out. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, the measure is passing 64 to 36 percent.

Ballot Measure Two¬†was defeated. It would have amended Alaska’s constitution to allow the state to borrow money to pay for student loans. That in turn would have helped lower interest rates on student debt. But 56 percent of voters rejected the measure.

All 33 judges on the ballot were retained.