New redistricting plan prompts Republican candidates to move

Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Two Republican state lawmakers faced with the prospect of running against like-minded incumbents in the primary under a new redistricting map, have taken up residence in other districts.

Rep. Vic Kohring, R-Wasilla, moved rather than face fellow incumbent Rep. Beverly Masek, R-Willow. He took up residence in his family's subdivision inside District 14, avoiding a possible primary challenge for both incumbents.

Kohring said the two share strong conservative views that accurately reflect their region. ''It would be bad for the (Mat-Su) Valley if one of us was defeated,'' Kohring said.

Kohring said he has not decided whether he will run in 2002.

The redistricting plan -- which would require 20 Republicans to run against each other -- cut the Kenai Peninsula from the district held by Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage. So as of May 30, Ward moved to the Nikiski, he said.

''In order to represent the people I wanted to, I moved where I needed to move,'' Ward said. ''I was not going to lose the Peninsula.''

Ward moved away from a possible challenge against longtime friend, Sen. John Cowdery, R-Anchorage. But he moved into District Q, which is held by Sen. John Torgerson, R-Kasilof. The district covers Kenai, Soldotna and most of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

''He's moving down to my country,'' Torgerson said. ''If I decide to run, Ward would not be a barrier.''

The new redistricting map is being challenged in court by numerous communities, including Anchorage as well as Republican leaders. No Democrat incumbents were forced to face each other under the plan.

Former Rep. Jerry Sanders, R-Anchorage, recently moved to a new Chugiak district, but said it was unrelated to politics.

His family bought a house after he lost to fellow Republican Kevin Meyer in the 2000 Primary. Sanders said he plans to run for the newly designated District 16 seat.

A candidate must be a resident of their district for one year before the deadline for filing for office, said Virginia Breeze, spokeswoman for the Division of Election. The deadline for filing for legislative office is June 1, 2002.

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