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Alaska Democratic Party

Alaska Democratic Party
Chairperson Michael Wenstrup
Senate leader Berta Gardner
House leader Chris Tuck
Headquarters Anchorage, Alaska
National affiliation Democratic Party
Seats in the Upper House
6 / 20
Seats in the Lower House
17 / 40
Politics of the United States
Political parties

The Alaska Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the state of Alaska, headquartered in Anchorage.

It is one of the two major parties in Alaska. At the federal level, Democrats hold no federal seats. At the state level Democrats hold 6 of the 20 seats in the State Senate and 17 of the 40 seats in the State House.[1]

The state's most prominent Democrat is former U.S. Senator Mark Begich, the former Mayor of Anchorage who narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Ted Stevens in 2008. Other notable Democrats from Alaska include former Governor Tony Knowles. Currently there are over 71,000 registered members of the Alaska Democratic Party.[2]

In the 2014 Election the Unity Ticket of Bill Walker and Byron Mallott defeated incumbent Governor Republican Sean Parnell and his running mate Dan Sullivan.[3] U.S. Senator Mark Begich lost by 6,000 votes to Republican Dan Sullivan.[4] U.S. Representative Republican Don Young defeated challenger Democrat Forrest Dunbar despite Young's series of missteps regarding comments he made about suicide.[5] In the State Senate Democrats failed to keep the open seat vacated by former State Senator Hollis French and lost 1 seat in the State Senate reducing the number of Democrats in the State Senate to 6.[6] In contrast to the State Senate, Democrats picked up 3 seats in the State House in districts 21 Matt Claman (West Anchorage), 5 Adam Wool (Fairbanks), and 36 Dan Ortiz (Ketchikan).[7]

In 2015 Former House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz made a late entry into the race for Mayor of Anchorage.[8] Berkowitz received the most votes in the April 7th Anchorage Mayoral Election but failed to secure enough votes to avoid a runoff against Amy Demboski.[9] In the May 5th runoff Election Ethan Berkowitz defeated Amy Demboski by more than 20%.


Democrat Barack Obama received 37.89 percent of the total statewide vote in Alaska and lost the state to Republican John McCain in 2008, who selected former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential running mate. In 2012, President Obama lost the state to Republican Mitt Romney yet increased his percentage of the statewide vote to 40.81%.

No Democrat has carried Alaska in presidential elections since 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson had his landslide victory over Barry Goldwater.

Party organization

Party leadership

The Executive Committee of the Alaska Democratic Party consists of the following individuals:[10]

  • Chair - Michael Wenstrup
  • Secretary - Lynda Zaugg
  • Treasurer - Geoff Bacon
  • Vice Chair Interior Female - Diane Fleeks
  • Vice Chair Interior Male
  • Vice Chair Matsu Male - Harvey Tanttila
  • Vice Chair Matsu Female (1st Vice Chair) - Casey Steinau
  • Vice Chair Southeast Male - Tom Schulz
  • Vice Chair Southeast Female - Cindy Spanyers
  • Vice Chair Rural Male - Charles Degnan
  • Vice Chair Rural Female - Angela Cox
  • Vice Chair Anchorage Female - Anita Thorne
  • Vice Chair Anchorage Female - Barbara Gazaway
  • Vice Chair Anchorage Male - Rod McCoy
  • Vice Chair Anchorage Male - Ray Metcalfe
  • Vice Chair North Gulf (Kenai Pen and H 35) Vacant
  • Vice Chair North Gulf (Kenai Pen and H 35) Vacant
  • Immediate Past Chair - Don Gray
  • National Committeewoman - Kim Metcalfe
  • National Committeeman Ian Olson
  • Finance Committee Chair - Rocky Plotnick
  • State House Representative - Chris Tuck
  • State Senate Representative Berta Gardner
  • Executive Committee At-Large - Deborah Vogt
  • Young Democrats Chair Joe Samaniegogn Committee (SDCC) Co-Chair - Johnny Ellis
    • House Democratic Campaign Committee (HDCC) Co-Chairs - Scott Kawasaki / Chris Tuck
  • Young Democrats President - Liz Andres

Party functions

The Alaska Democratic Party performs many functions, all with the aim of helping Democrats to win elected office within the state.

These functions include:[11]

  • The organization and recruitment of citizens to go door to door for the party and promote the party issues and candidates.
  • The coordination of state-wide campaigns for the general election every two years.
  • Working to get articles into newspapers, letters to the editors written, and callers on talk radio stations.
  • Operating the official Alaska Democratic Party website.
  • Sending out email announcements to Democrats regarding party activities.
  • Operating a state Voter File.


Current issues

See also


External links