Likely winner emerges in rare Anchorage Assembly race

A ballot counting machine is unloaded at Anchorage’s election headquarters (Photo: Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

A special election for a seat on the Anchorage Assembly appears to have a decisive winner.

Listen now

After a snap campaign and mail-in vote this summer, attorney Austin Quinn-Davidson has an 18-point lead over her closest competitor to represent West Anchorage on the 11-member body.

Thirty-eight-year-old Quinn-Davidson positioned herself as a progressive candidate in the race, attracting support from prominent liberal and Democratic figures, as well as drawing donations from several union groups.

At a gathering of supporters in Spenard Tuesday night, Quinn-Davidson was confident her lead would hold as final votes are tallied.

“We just had such engagement on our campaign, and really I feel like this campaign was run by volunteers, and it was won by volunteers,” Quinn-Davidson said. “We just had a lot of people engaged, and I think it’s because they really wanted to see me win and bring their values to the Assembly.”

So far, voter turn-out in the unusual summer special election is just under 17 percent. That could go up slightly as several hundred last-minute ballots are processed by the municipal clerk’s office.

Quinn-Davidson currently has 49 percent of the vote, with conservative-leaning candidates Nikki Rose at 31 percent, and Sam Moore at just under 10 percent.

In June, sitting-Assembly member Tim Steele, representing West Anchorage, resigned, citing health reasons. That triggered the off-season vote to replace him.

Quinn-Davidson’s election isn’t expected to significantly change the Assembly’s current liberal-leaning composition or its general alignment with Mayor Ethan Berkowkitz’s administration.