--- From Lisa Demer in Anchorage
There's a week to go before the candidate filing deadline for the August primary ballot.
But one thing already is clear: One Republican House member will be knocked out in the primary, and in five more races, sitting legislators may face off against one another come November, if they win their primaries.
After the Alaska Supreme Court ruled this week on new boundaries for legislative districts, incumbents are paired in five House districts and two in the Senate. In one, Anchorage Rep. Mike Doogan already has announced he is retiring, so Rep. Chris Tuck won't have to square off against a fellow Democrat in the primary.
But in Southeast Alaska, Republican Reps. Peggy Wilson of Wrangell and Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan now reside in the same district, so one will be ousted in August.
New districts are drawn every 10 years to adjust for population shifts, and this year's court-approved plan could be further adjusted before the 2014 election cycle.
In the Fairbanks area, Reps. Bob Miller, a Democrat, and Tammie Wilson, a Republican from North Pole, landed in the same district. Another Fairbanks Democrat, David Guttenberg, is paired with Republican Rep. Alan Dick of Stony River. In Anchorage, it's Reps. Lance Pruitt, a Republican, and Pete Petersen, a Democrat.
The state Senate has two districts with two incumbents. Democrat Joe Thomas of Fairbanks is matched up against Republican John Coghill of North Pole. And in Southeast Alaska, Republican Bert Stedman of Sitka and Democrat Albert Kookesh of Angoon are running in the same district.
Randy Ruedrich, who will be exiting as chairman of the Alaska Republican Party next year, played a role in designing the new districts. He noted that ten years ago, with three Democrats and two Republicans on the redistricting board, 18 Republican incumbents were paired in nine districts, and not a single Democratic incumbent had to run against another. This time, even with four Republicans and one Democrat on the board, the pairings were much more even, he said.
Not all candidates have made it official yet. Numerous incumbents and challengers have filed paperwork with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, which allows them to begin raising money. But they aren't on the primary ballot until they file with the state Division of Elections. The deadline for that is 5 p.m. on June 1.