In contentious Eagle River Republican Senate primary, Reinbold triumphs over Saddler

Rep. Lora Reinbold addresses the Alaska House of Representatives on April 10, 2014. Reinbold is the Republican nominee for Senate seat G. (Photo by Skip Gray, Gavel Alaska – Juneau)

In a competitive Republican primary for a senate seat representing north Anchorage communities, the insurgent candidate won a decisive victory over the party insider.

Representative Lora Reinbold holds a double-digit lead over fellow House member Dan Saddler. Incumbent Anna McKinnon opted not to run again, and both representatives from the Chugiak-Eagle River area ran to replace her.

While both candidates touted their conservative credentials, Saddler campaigned on his record of working within the Republican party caucus to achieve results, and had received endorsements from several prominent GOP figures. By contrast, Reinbold stood by her past decisions to break with the caucus when she disagreed, which caused her to be booted from the majority in 2015. She says she was sticking with her principals, and attributes her win to that record of consistency, as well as her vocal opposition to Senate Bill 91, the omnibus crime reform bill.

“Probably the most important issue in my community was crime,” Reinbold said. “Crime was a huge issue.”

Saddler originally voted for the reform bill, but changed his position and campaigned on its full repeal. District G is one of the most conservative constituencies in the state.

Reinbold will face a relative newcomer in November, Marine Corps veteran Oliver Schiess, who is running as a Democrat.