—Posted by Matt Buxton, staff writer
Election day: Forget where your polling place is? Wondering who’s on the ballots? There’s plenty of places to look, here’s a few.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner election guide: http://newsminer.com/election
Alaska Division of Elections: http://www.elections.alaska.gov/
Google’s Voter Information: https://www.google.com/elections/ed/us/vote
Oil taxes: The battle over whether the state needs to drastically reduce taxes on oil production or find a more moderate compromise was the ruling debate in the most recent legislative session. This will be the first election since the issue came to the forefront and with 59 of 60 legislators up for reelection, we might get a glimpse as to how the public, not just politicians, feel about the issue.
The end of bipartisan control? The Bipartisan Senate Working Group, a mixture of 10 Democrats and 6 Republicans, turned back the governor’s plan to cut oil taxes and now many members, including two Fairbanks Democrats have come under stiff attack from the oil industry and the GOP. Sens. Joe Paskvan and Joe Thomas both face strong opposition and their seats will likely play a key role in whether or not there’s a coalition in the spring.
The role of outside money: Outside money poured into these races from nearly every corner. There was traditional party spending, but also hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures by Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. We saw the Republican-backed ones come in particularly hard against Democratic incumbents. At one point, Sen. Paskvan was the target of more than $30,000 of ads. The incumbents had a hefty sum on their side, in the form of the union-backed Putting Alaskans First group. But we’ll have to wait until tonight to find out whether or not this money, which was largely spent on negative ads, swayed voters.