Bronson takes a slim lead in the Anchorage mayoral runoff

Two white men in a side by side photos. One is younger and wearing a black work jacket, the other speaking in a microphone wearing a suit and tie
Assemblyman Forrest Dunbar (left) and former pilot Dave Bronson at their respective election night gatherings on May 11, 2021. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media)

Retired commercial pilot Dave Bronson took a slim lead in the runoff election for Anchorage mayor on Wednesday. With about 76,000 votes counted, Bronson leads over Assembly member Forrest Dunbar by 278 votes. Only about 4,000 votes were added to the count between Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Dunbar held a lead of 114 votes after initial results were released on Tuesday evening, but Wednesday’s tally put Bronson ahead.

By Tuesday night turnout in the runoff had already surpassed the general election in April. Deputy municipal clerk Erika McConnell said the elections center had received just over 80,000 ballots by Tuesday afternoon. She said they don’t have an estimate of the total number of ballots cast in the runoff yet, but votes cast on Election Day and by mail are still arriving. 

“We’re definitely going to break a vote-by-mail record. I haven’t looked back at the history of elections in Anchorage since 1975, since unification, but it’s gonna be up there,” she said. “It looks like we’re on track to break records.”

McConnell said observers from both the Dunbar and Bronson campaigns have been stationed at the elections center to watch ballot processing. Each campaign is allowed four trained, registered observers in the building. 

McConnell said the elections center is aiming to update results daily. Results are scheduled to be certified by the Assembly on May 25.