Local field for 2024 state elections takes shape

Although Alaska’s next general election is almost a year away, candidates interested in representing the Kenai Peninsula on a statewide stage have started throwing their hats in the ring.

Kenai Peninsula voters next November will cast ballots in one Alaska State Senate race and in four Alaska House of Representative races. All seats in the Alaska Legislature appeared on last year’s ballots due to statewide redistricting that occurred after the 2020 decennial census was collected.

In Senate District D, which covers the Kenai Peninsula north of Tustumena Lake, Sen. Jesse Bjorkman has already filed his intent to run for reelection. He emerged victorious last year from a pool of three candidates all vying for the seat long held by Peter Micciche, who now serves as mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Ben Carpenter, who currently represents District 8 in the Alaska House of Representatives, and Andy Cizek have both also registered to run for the seat. Carpenter has served in the Legislature since 2019 and currently chairs the House Ways and Means and the Legislative Budget and Audit committees. Cizek, a former commercial pilot, ran against Bjorkman for the seat last fall.

As of Monday at around 8:45 p.m., incumbent candidates Rep. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, and Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, had both also filed their intent to run for reelection to their respective seats. Ruffridge’s district — House District 7 — includes Kenai and Soldotna. Vance’s district — House District 6 — includes Kasilof south to Homer and Seldovia. Running to fill the Alaska House seat to be vacated by Carpenter is John Hillyer, of Soldotna.

Lawmakers elected during the 2024 election cycle will serve, in the case of senators, four-year terms, while representatives will serve two-year terms.

The 2024 Alaska general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024, and will be preceded by the Alaska primary election on Aug. 20, 2024. In addition to casting ballots for state legislative candidates, voters will also choose a candidate for Alaska’s at-large seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and for candidates for U.S. president and vice president.

More information about upcoming state elections can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov. The deadline for candidates interested in running in Alaska’s 2024 general election is Saturday, June 1 at 5 p.m.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.