Republicans celebrate Chugiak-Eagle River sweep

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 13:20
  • Republicans react as election results flash across a screen at the Anchorage Alehouse on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2018. (Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River Republican candidate for State House District 14 Kelly Merrick waves to cars alongside Hiland Road on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Lora Reinbold, the Republican candidate for the Senate District G seat, waves to motorists near the Hiland Road off-ramp on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • House District 12 incumbent Cathy Tilton, center, attended the Republican Rally at Anchorage Christian Schools on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Bill Roth / ADN)

Chugiak-Eagle River sent four Republican women to the Alaska Legislature by big margins Tuesday night.

With most precincts reporting Tuesday night, Lora Reinbold, Cathy Tilton, Nancy Dahlstrom and Kelly Merrick appeared poised to ride to Juneau aboard a tough-on-crime, fiscally conservative platform built in the image of the state’s apparent governor-elect.

In District 12, incumbent Cathy Tilton of Wasilla earned more than 75 percent of the vote to easily defeat challenger Stephany Jeffers of Chugiak, while in District 13 Eagle River’s Nancy Dahlstrom also polled more than 70 percent of voters in her race against Danyelle Kim. And in District 14, first-time candidate Kelly Merrick of Eagle River earned 66 percent of the vote to defeat Joe Hackenmueller.

Eagle River Rep. Lora Reinbold will stay in Juneau as well, as she won the Senate District G seat being vacated by Anna MacKinnon. Reinbold earned more than 62 percent of the vote to outdistance Democrat Oliver Schiess.

All four women celebrated the election returns surrounded by jubilant Republicans at the party’s election-night event at the Anchorage Alehouse. As returns rolled in showing an apparent win for Republican Mike Dunleavy in the governor’s race, the crowd sent up numerous cheers throughout the jam-packed midtown restaurant.

Reinbold said her strong stand against the SB91 crime bill resonated with voters.

“I think actions speak louder than words,” said Reinbold, who has been one of the most vocal voices in the Legislature against the controversial crime bill. “People want to feel safe in their schools, their community, their state and their neighborhood.”

Dahlstrom is returning to Juneau as well. The former legislator previously served in the State House and said she’s looking forward to bringing her experience to the House.

“I don’t have the same jitters as the last time,” she said.

Like Reinbold, Dahlstrom said she thinks voters sent a strong message that public safety needs to be lawmakers’ top priority.

“Crime, crime, crime,” she said.

Dahlstrom said she thinks voters have elected a delegation that will be able to work together and speak as a unified voice.

“The three of us have already talked about working together on issues,” she said.

Listening to voters and being responsive to their concerns is what Tilton said likely swayed voters in her favor.

“Being engaged with your constituents and listening to them is the most important thing,” she said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated Merrick’s district.

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