Midterm elections: UAA community weighs in before, after

On Election Day last week, I asked five members of the UAA community five questions about how they voted. Each participant was also asked to predict election outcomes, then asked to reflect on election results the following day.

 

Grace Kubitz voted for Mark Begich (D) for governor, Alyse Galvin (D) for Congress, Matt Claman (D) for House District 21, Sam Cason (D) for Senate District K and “yes” on Ballot Measure 1.

Kubitz, who just moved back to Alaska after obtaining her undergraduate degree out of state, is currently pursuing a master’s in public administration at UAA. Kubitz, a supporter of Begich, explained that she was drawn to his platform largely by his support for women’s rights and a constitutional PFD.

 

PREDICTIONS

“I think if Begich wins, it will be very close,” said Kubitz.

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On local elections, Kubitz was also confident in Claman’s chances of being re-elected in the House but less hopeful about Cason’s bid for Senate District K.

 

REFLECTIONS

After the election, Kubitz was disappointed.

“I was surprised at the margin at which [Dunleavy] won… I was also surprised at the low number of people who voted for Governor Walker,” she said. “I was expecting more votes to be lost there.”

Kubitz was also disappointed about the congressional race and Ballot Measure 1.

“Alaska has this obsession with Don Young… I don’t understand it, but I think that [Galvin] really gave him a [run] for his money and made him nervous, so that’s something,” she said.

“I think going up against oil companies and all the money that they have… I’m really not surprised,” Kubitz said about Ballot Measure 1.

On the new Dunleavy administration, Kubitz was unsure about the PFDs.

“I don’t think people are going to get the PFDs that they lost back… I think that will be a point of contention between the people and the new governor,” she said.

Jaydon Hodgson, a senior studying political science, voted for Begich, Galvin, Charles Kopp (R) for House District 24 and “no” on Ballot Measure 1.

Hodgson initially supported Gov. Walker before he dropped out of the race but ultimately voted for Begich.

Hodgson was drawn to Galvin by her platform on health care.

“I’ve interned in Congressman Young’s office… but I don’t really like that Don Young doesn’t look at nationalized health care policies like [Galvin] does,” he said.

Hodgson supported Kopp in his re-election campaign for a few reasons.

“The main issue with the state this year is SB 91… [Kopp] was fairly bipartisan in [drafting] that legislation,” he said. “I liked that, and I like how he worked closely with Democrats on like a middle ground approach.”

 

PREDICTIONS

Hodgson predicted Begich would win by a slim margin.

“I think it will be very narrow, like half and half,” he said.

Hodgson also predicted Galvin would beat Young.

“I really like Alyse Galvin. I’d be saddened if she lost, but I don’t think it’s going to be the end of the world,” Hodgson said.

When it came to Ballot Measure 1, Hodgson predicted the initiative would be “voted against heavily.”

 

REFLECTIONS

After the election Hodgson shared his thoughts.

“I think it will be better for the Republican Party — the state itself possibly — because the Republicans control the State House, [Senate] and governorship… Basically, they can do what they want,” Hodgson said.

Hodgson was also not surprised by the failure of Ballot Measure 1.

“I think it lost because you had major money backing [the ‘no’ campaign]… That can’t be a coincidence there,” he said.

Yet, Hodgson is optimistic about the future.

“In two more years, [we] can elect people who are better. I don’t think it’s going to be terrible.”

 

Chaz Rivas voted for Mike Dunleavy (R) for governor, Don Young (R) for Congress, Connie Dougherty (R) for House District 23 and “no” on Ballot Measure 1.

Rivas, who graduated from UAA this past spring, served as campaign manager for Sarah Rasmussen (R) in her bid for House District 22. On election night, Rivas was optimistic.

“Statewide, I think that the Republicans are going to do very well,” said Rivas.

 

PREDICTIONS

Rivas predicted Dunleavy would win and that Republicans would retake the House. On the congressional race, Rivas had reservations but predicted Young would overcome his challenger.

“If anybody could beat [Young], [Galvin] is going to be the closest, but I don’t think that she’s going to cross the finish line,” Rivas said.

 

REFLECTIONS

“I thought maybe it would be closer, but with Walker dropping out only three weeks before the election, that’s not enough time… to create a coordinate effort,” Rivas said on the gubernatorial election.

On the congressional race, Rivas also shared his thoughts.

“I thought it would be a little closer since [Galvin] was pretty energized… but Independent candidates did very poorly this election,” Rivas said.

For Rivas, there was one major takeaway from the election cycle.

“I think Alaskans are fully expecting 100 percent that [Republicans] repeal and replace SB 91… Crime is the number one thing Republicans have to get a grip on,” Rivas said.

 

Maggie Lamborn, a junior studying political science, voted for Begich, Galvin and “no” on Ballot Measure 1.

Lamborn gravitated towards Galvin largely due to her platform on affordable health care.

“That’s a big issue from a personal standpoint,” Lamborn said.

 

PREDICTIONS

“I’d like to think Begich has it in the bag. I would be sad if Dunleavy won,” Lamborn said.

For Ballot Measure 1, Lamborn confidently predicted a majority “yes” vote.

“That’s going to pass. The amount of people I’ve seen picketing for it makes me super happy,” she said.

 

REFLECTIONS

Lamborn had thoughts on voters’ outing of Judge Michael Corey.

“I was amazed that [Judge] Corey got kicked out. I didn’t think that it would happen… It means Alaskans were paying attention,” said Lamborn.

“I’m sad Dunleavy won… I wish he hadn’t,” she also said. “I’m not heartbroken that Don Young won even though I voted for [Galvin].”

For Lamborn, the failure of Ballot Measure 1 was a personal disappointment.

“[The outcome was] heartbreaking, and you would think Alaskans would care about their natural resources,” said Lamborn.

 

Megan Warren, a political science major, voted for Begich, Galvin, Amber Lee (D) for House District 28 and “yes” on Ballot Measure 1.

Warren strongly opposed Dunleavy for his proposed ideas for “hub-schools” in rural communities.

“Begich has always been supportive of indigenous people, so that was a big factor in my vote,” Warren said.

 

PREDICTIONS

“I want to say that [Galvin] and Begich will win… I think it’s more likely for [Galvin] to win than Begich. His late entrance into the race was a big disadvantage,” Warren said.

Additionally, Warren was hoping to see a movement against the Trump administration.

“I feel that a lot of the policies they’ve initiated have not been beneficial for minority populations… They’ve been actively oppressive to communities like the trans community and the gay community,” she said.

 

REFLECTIONS

After the election, Warren was disappointed mostly by the overwhelming “no” vote on Ballot Measure 1.

“We’ve had so many salmon crises in the last 5-10 years… We should really value subsistence resources and the cultural traditions of indigenous people,” she said.

“I don’t think Dunleavy and Don Young care about our environment,” she added.

On the congressional race, Warren was also disappointed but not surprised.

“There was such a wave of women being elected in this midterm, and I really really thought that Galvin could be one of them… Alaska’s just not there yet,” she said.

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