Will Assembly move to the right?

Early voting begins today in Anchorage’s April 4 nonpartisan – nudge-nudge, wink-wink – municipal election, with races in each of the city’s six election districts.

There are four seats open, and Assembly incumbents Tim Steele, a darling of public employee unions, and Pete Petersen are trying to get re-elected. Turnout is expected to be lousy because there are no huge issues or other elections on the ballot and a small turnout favors organized groups such as city employee unions.

The Assembly’s left-leaning makeup is unlikely to change in four of the races, but in two of them – there are also School Board races and ballot questions on the ballot – conservatives could push the makeup of the Assembly more to the right.

In consistently left-leaning District 1, Downtown, liberals Christopher Constant, David Dunsmore, and a field of political newcomers and unknowns, are splitting the left’s vote, allowing conservative long shot Christopher Cox a chance at the seat now held by Pat Flynn.

In Midtown, District 4,  Felix Rivera, formerly campaign manager for union boss Vince Beltrami’s legislative bid, and a guy who worked for Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, is facing off with Marcus Sanders, 34, Anchorage businessman Ron Alleva, and political veteran, anti-tax activist and father of Anchorage’s tax cap Don Smith. Smith has spent 18 years holding seats in the Legislature, Assembly and School Board.

Count us among those would like to see the entire Assembly include nothing but conservatives, but the reality is that is unlikely to ever happen, but what voters in at least two of the city’s most liberal districts have in this election is a chance to rein in government and taxes.

Will they? We will all know soon enough.

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