ONE OF THE ABOVE: Assembly candidate wants voters to pick anyone but him

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 20:29

A candidate for the Anchorage Assembly has launched a “please do not vote for me” campaign, saying he wants to use the April election to advance a discussion on mental health issues and would prefer voters pick either of his opponents.

“My campaign will not seek to elect me but rather advance the cause for those who struggle with perceived mental health issues and are caught up in homelessness, corrections, or the judicial system,” Eagle River’s Roger Branson wrote in a statement sent to local media outlets Wednesday evening.

“I will advance their cause by engaging my constituents in conversations around healing and recovery and inviting my opponents into those conversations so that my peers may be better equipped to share/support each other.”

Branson’s opponents for the District 2, Seat C on the Anchorage Assembly are Jamie Allard and Stephany Jeffers. He said he’s met with both and considers them both to be solid candidates, but does not want “to be the spoiler.”

“As a result, I am launching my ‘Please do not vote for me’ campaign,” Branson wrote.

Branson has a lengthy criminal record that includes a third-degree sexual assault conviction in 1983. In 2010 he was charged with second-degree sexual assault — a charge that was later reduced to second-degree harassment for offensive physical contact. Court records show Branson hasn’t faced a criminal charge since 2011, though he has been the subject of at least two civil protective orders since then.

In 2018 Branson created a website, rogerbranson.com, in which he writes at length about his past issues and asks for forgiveness from the community. In an interview with the Star on Monday, Branson said he hopes to be held accountable for his actions.

“I started doing that publicly and openly a couple years ago just to get to the point i could start addressing the stigma,” he said.

In one post on the site titled “My Confession” Branson writes that his mental illness began in junior high and later resulted in people in Chugiak believing he may become a mass murderer.

“From that point forward my perception of reality became compromised,” he writes. “Subsequent events (to me) only seemed to confirm that lens of perception which in turn drove this anger which emanated from the depths of my being and manifested outwardly which those around me rightly perceived to be rage, pure and raw. In recent years that rage was displaced onto many within the Chugiak-Eagle River community, for that I am truly guilty.”

In his Tuesday statement, Branson said he will run a “low key and low budget” campaign with the goal of advancing the conversation on mental health. He said he plans to form an advisory board made up of donors who will eventually endorse one of the other two candidates.

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