Feb. 3—A former longtime Municipality of Anchorage employee is running unopposed for the Eagle River Assembly seat on the ballot for the upcoming April 2 city election.
The window to file for candidacy ended last week, with Mark Littlefield the sole candidate for the only open Assembly seat on the ballot. While it's still possible for someone else to run as a write-in candidate, come May, Littlefield will more than likely be the de facto winner of the Eagle River/Chugiak race.
Littlefield would be elected to a one-year term, finishing the remainder of Assembly member Kevin Cross' three-year term. Cross in December announced his resignation, which will take effect no later than April 1.
The truncated term could have discouraged some potential candidates — it takes a lot of work to run a campaign, only to have to campaign again one year later, Littlefield said.
"I just see it as an opportunity to help the community for a year, and then somebody else that's a whole lot smarter than I am" can step in, Littlefield said. "Or, if the community thinks I'm doing a great job, then I'll run again.
"So that's where I'm at. I'm going to give it my best shot," Littlefield said.
[Here's who is running for Anchorage mayor and school board]
While it's not common for an Assembly candidate to run unopposed, it has happened several times. Over the last 10 years, four of the city's current and former Assembly members at one point ran unopposed in their districts and won.
That includes Assembly Chair Christopher Constant, who ran unopposed in 2020 for his second Assembly term representing the downtown district (now the North Anchorage district). In 2019, former Assembly member Forrest Dunbar — now a state senator — ran unopposed in East Anchorage, along with former member John Weddleton in South Anchorage. And in 2014, current state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson won her former Assembly seat in Midtown after running unopposed.
It's highly unlikely that a write-in candidate would get enough momentum to win the Eagle River seat, Constant said.
Basically "he's already won," Constant said of Littlefield.
Littlefield retired from his 13-year job as superintendent of Eagle River street maintenance in May after a total of 28 years working for the municipality. He's held several positions and supervisory roles in Anchorage street maintenance, and spent a few years working in Solid Waste Services as an operator.
City elections are technically nonpartisan. In a recent column published by the Daily News, Littlefield described himself as a registered Republican and conservative.
Littlefield came to Alaska in 1982 while serving in the U.S. Air Force. In 1984, he moved to Eagle River "and never left," he said.
When Cross announced his departure from the Assembly, Littlefield was serving on the Eagle River Parks and Recreation board of supervisors and was planning to join more city boards or commissions. Then Littlefield started getting phone calls from friends about the Assembly seat.
The calls came from "some really good friends that I have been working with on and off boards for several years, so they kind of convinced me. And the wife kind of nudged me and said, 'You can do this,' " he said.
It's unfortunate no one else is running "because there's a lot of talented folks and smart people out here," Littlefield said.
The lack of competition also takes away opportunity to have robust discussions about community issues, he said. But Littlefield said he will still run an active campaign.
"I've still got to get up there and let people know that I'm running and who I am. So they have somebody — if they have a concern, they know who to call," Littlefield said.