Alaska Democratic Party objects to ballot format change allowing independents to run

The change will primarily impact candidates running as independent from the major parties.

Voters at the polls
Voters at the polls
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)
Updated: September 17, 2020 - 7:36am

The Alaska Democratic Party is objecting to a sudden change to the state's general election ballots, which requires candidates who ran in a party primary to be listed as the nominee from that party. 

The change will impact several Alaskan candidates who are running as independents.

Senate candidate Al Gross, who is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan, and House candidate Alyse Galvin, who is challenging 24-term Republican Rep. Don Young, have each campaigned as independent from major political parties, though both competed in and won their respective Democratic primaries.

The ballots will not list Gross or Galvin as independent or nonpartisan candidates, but rather as "Democratic Party" nominees.

Sullivan's campaign has accused Gross of being a Democrat who opted to run as an independent for the sake of political expediency.

"He actively sought and secured the backing of the Alaska Democratic Party," said Matt Shuckerow, Sullivan's campaign director. "I'm not sure why he doesn't want it now." 

Gross's campaign spokeswoman said the campaign prefers the 2018 ballot format, but has no plans to challenge the change.

Nonpartisan and independent Alaska state senate candidates Jim Cooper and Tom Lamb, as well as Alaska house candidates Calvin Schrage and Suzanne LaFrance will also be impacted by the new change. 

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