Dave Bronson was elected mayor of Anchorage in a runoff election held on May 11, 2021. Bronson took 50.66% of the vote, defeating his opponent, Forrest Dunbar, by 1,193 votes. Only 38.36% of registered voters turned out. Bronson will take office on Jul. 1. During the transition period, ongoing until Bronson takes office, he and his transition team will work with the current Mayor: Austin Quinn-Davidson.
Bronson campaigned on removing all restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and using state and federal funds to stimulate local businesses that were affected by those restrictions. He also targeted homelessness, promising specifically not to ever use hockey rinks to house the homeless, seeking instead to partner with faith-based organizations for housing, and declared that the homeless will be “removed” from parks, businesses, and streets. Bronson has also stated a desire to intensify police presence in Anchorage. He promised to cut spending within the municipal government and not to implement a sales tax.
The mayor-elect has not yet made public his stances on education, climate change, public transportation and clean energy.
Larry Baker, an Anchorage businessman and former Anchorage assemblyman, and Craig Campbell, head of the Alaska National Guard and former lieutenant governor were named to Bronson’s transition team.
Bronson’s transition plan was released publicly on May 17, describing five teams dedicated to establishing action plans for policy, economic recovery, organizational structure, budget and public safety. Stated objectives are to identify policies to change, take action to revitalize downtown Anchorage and encourage tourism, restructure the municipal government and reduce roles within it, review and adjust the current budget and develop plans to give resources to the Anchorage police and reduce homelessness.
Dunbar conceded the race May 21, stating in a Facebook post “it is clear that Dave Bronson will be Anchorage’s next mayor”
In his concession statement, Dunbar went on to attack Bronson for lying about the COVID-19 pandemic and called out the Bronson campaign for casting doubt on the election despite winning it, suggesting that this may be the beginning of an attempt to repeal Anchorage’s Vote By Mail system. Dunbar also expressed concern that Bronson would appoint political extremists as heads of departments. After losing the mayoral election, Dunbar will remain in his Anchorage Assembly seat, and he promises to continue to serve the community.
The mayor of the Municipality of Anchorage is the chief executive of the city. The mayor of Anchorage is responsible for appointing individuals to various positions within the municipal government. These positions include heads of municipal agencies, including the police and fire departments. The mayor also proposes the budget, signs bills passed by the assembly and oversees the day-to-day operation of Anchorage.