Voters settle primary fights
Lora Reinbold’s dramatic win in the Republican District 26 House primary election Tuesday night was a family affair.
“We went in as a team,” Reinbold said after garnering more than 45 percent of the vote in her three-person race. “We went in as a family.”
Accountant Kim Skipper and Attorney Larry Wood split the remaining 55 percent of the vote roughly down the middle, with Wood taking second by just 24 votes out of approximately 2,800 counted Tuesday. Absentee and questioned ballots have yet to be tallied.
Flanked by her husband, Eric, and son, Rydell, Reinbold said she believed the Eagle River community rallied behind her message of “bold” conservative leadership.
“We had a killer team from the beginning,” she said.
Reinbold easily outdistanced Wood and Skipper to earn the Republican nomination. As the votes trickled into election central, Rydell said even his brother Zachary — who’s studying engineering at college — was watching online from Colorado.
“He’s been watching all the stats the whole time,” Rydell said.
Reinbold’s win in the primary earned her the right to face Democrat Roberta Goughnour — who ran unopposed — in the Nov. 6 general election.
The District 26 race was a contentious, bruising battle in which all three candidates tried their best to separate themselves from the pack — often by highlighting their opponents’ perceived weaknesses. Reinbold said she felt Skipper crossed the line with some of her ads, while she tried to stick to a strategy of staying on message.
“Politics gets a little muddy,” Reinbold said. “You put on your Xtratufs and you move forward.”
On Tuesday night, a disappointed Skipper denied any claims of running a negative campaign.
“They’re claiming I went negative first, but that’s not the case,” she said by phone from her home in Eagle River.
Skipper, a former legislative aide to Anna Fairclough, said she enjoyed the campaign process in spite of the outcome.
“It’s been almost a year-long adventure,” she said.
Wood, too, said he was disappointed in the outcome, and also said he felt Reinbold’s campaign had a negative edge.
“I am concerned about the way her campaign was conducted,” he said. “It gives me great pause and concern.”
But to the victor go the spoils, and Reinbold said with a double-digit win in hand, she plans to attack the general election campaign with the same zeal that earned her the primary win.
“We need to unify and we need to move forward as a community,” she said.
Other area Republican primaries weren’t as hotly contested. Incumbent Rep. Bill Stoltze (House District 11) won 82 percent of the vote in his contest against challenger Thomas Connelly, while fellow incumbent Rep. Dan Saddler (District 12) took a whopping 88 percent of the vote over Glen Eichenlaub.
Both men will run unopposed in the general election, meaning they’re near locks to return to Juneau. Stoltze said he was happy to see a challenger in his race.
“That’s what America’s all about,” he said.
Chugiak’s Stoltze said he’ll turn his attention to helping Republican Anna Fairclough of Eagle River in her race for the State Senate. Fairclough ran unopposed in Senate District M.
“My top priority for local races is to help Anna Fairclough on her Senate race,” Stoltze said.
Fairclough will likely face incumbent Democrat Bettye Davis, who appeared to have won a narrow victory over fellow Anchorage Democrat Harry Crawford. With all 15 precincts reporting, Davis had 1,294 votes to Crawford’s 1,219.
Davis, the longest-serving female in the Legislature, said she’ll run against Fairclough on a platform of her past history of service in the Senate.
“I have a proven track record,” Davis said.
In the area’s other Senate primary, Senate District F, both incumbent Republican Fred Dyson and Democrat Martin Lindeke ran unopposed and will square off in November.
As the winners and their supporters smiled for the cameras inside the Dena’ina Center, the defeated candidates said they would accept the voters’ decisions and planed to find other ways to serve their community.
“You win some and you lose some,” Skipper said.
For complete results, visit www.elections.alaska.gov.
Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or firstname.lastname@example.org