05 April 2007


I think it was David Guttenburg who said at yesterday's House Democrat press availability that the first thing he did after he heard the results from the state-wide advisory vote was check to see how his district voted to get the advice of his constituents.

That sparked an interesting thought: we know how the "advice" the people of Alaska gave lawmakers in toto but what advice did they give their particular representative and did enough districts vote "yes" to the amendment to justify putting it on the ballot if lawmakers voted solely on how their district voted?

Since I know no media organization in this state is going to do the research to answer that question, I took a look through the district-by-district results this morning (slow news day). The answer to the question is "close, but no cigar."

Twenty-five House districts supported the measure and 15 opposed it (2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 32, 37, 38, 39, and 40). By my calculations, you need at least 27 votes in the House to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

Seven Senate districts (B, D, K, L, M, S, and T) opposed the measure and 13 supported it. Two-thirds of 20 is 13.3 and I'm not sure if they round up or down .

I also wanted to know if there were any disjunctive results, i.e. were there any districts that voted opposite what you might expect their representative to believe? I don't have any special insight into what every single representative believes so - in the tradition of every good academic - I used the easiest shorthand I could find, namely party affiliation. This is a very crude tool but let's assume that Democrats oppose the amendment and Republicans support it, even though I know there are exceptions.

Using this tool, Reps. Peggy Wilson (R-2), Woodie Salmon (D-6), Scott Kawasaki (D-9), Max Gruenburg (D-20), Bob Buch (D-27), and Mike Hawker (D-32) and Sens. Al Kookesh (D-C) and Bill Wielechowski (D-J) represent districts that didn't vote the "party line" so to speak.

We do know for sure what a couple of representatives think, however, based on their public statements. One who has been particular vociferous in his opposition to benefits is Rep. Mike Kelly (R-7), who has pushed the issue hard at every opportunity and on the op-ed pages. Much to his chagrin, I am sure, we learned on Tuesday he represents a district where the majority of voters do not want to vote on a constitutional amendment in 2008. The irony is fantastic.

UPDATE: I guess I was wrong when I said no state media organization would report this information. Of course, it was the ADN's editorial page that did the job and they only looked at Senate districts and so didn't learn about Rep. Kelly.


First Alaskan Man said...

Great reporting Jessie, thank you for the stats.

CabinDweller said...

As someone who lives in House District 7, oh, the irony is tasty. We had a pretty high turnout (29 percent) and yet, Mike Kelly has stated he will pursue this issue, contrary to the advice we've given him in our $1.2 million advisory vote.

Which makes his 'let the people vote on an amendment' such nonsense. HIS people voted, and they voted not to vote. :)

Whoever chooses to run against Kelly the next time he is up for reelection ought to have a field day with this one.

Anonymous said...

It seemed to me, at first glance, that many of the districts with the highest vote turnout (like in midtown Anchorage, where there was a hot assembly race) also had some of the most decisive No votes.