Originally posted Friday at 6:30 PM.
Despite the fact that the Anchorage Assembly—their city council—has long had "a dominant progressive bloc," as Alaska Dispatch News columnist Charles Wohlforth wrote in a recent column assessing the city's upcoming Assembly races, no openly gay person has ever been elected to the Anchorage Assembly. No openly gay person has ever been elected to public office anywhere in Alaska, ever:
Downtown a couple of progressive candidates are facing off for a seat that has never been lost by a liberal incumbent. Christopher Constant and David Dunsmore are splitting Democrats as their supporters, even within at least one political family. In Midtown, a young, gay, Hispanic candidate, Felix Rivera, is facing an old conservative, Don Smith, who as an Assembly member cast a critical vote against LGBT rights at the dawn of the municipality's existence 41 years ago. Rivera said that if either he or Constant win, Alaska will gain its first openly gay elected official. We're one of the last states not to have one, he said, citing research by the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which tracks these facts.
But Constant and Rivera may not be the only gay men running for Anchorage Assembly.
Wohlforth briefly mentions another Assembly race—for a seat in South Anchorage—where the conservative candidate, an Iraqi war vet named Albert Fogle, is highly favored to win. Fogle isn't mentioned along with the Constant and Rivera despite the fact that Fogle's campaign filing forms indicate that he is married to another man. Voter registration information available online indicate that Fogle and the man listed as his spouse live at the same address in South Anchorage.
Fogle, a Republican, cited "moral character" among his qualifications to hold elected office in a Q&A with the ADN. It's an odd phrase for someone who may be in a same-sex marriage to use. Gay people can have fine moral characters, of course, but conservative Republicans frequently use buzz phrases like "moral character" as anti-gay code. When a conservative candidate says he has a fine "moral character," he usually wants voters to hear, "I am straight and I oppose LGBT equality."
Fogle appears to be a Trump supporter. He posted a picture to his Facebook on election day showing him wearing an "I Voted Today" sticker along with the hashtag #TrumpTrain. Fogle also used some disturbingly Trumpian rhetoric in reference to immigrants at a public forum in Anchorage. Asked by the moderator if he thought the Anchorage Police Department should cooperate with federal immigration officers in rounding up undocumented immigrants, Fogle said he was "fully against making Anchorage a sanctuary city" and that he wanted the APD to "hand over any rapists, murderers, any type of criminals" to Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents.
There's no mention of Fogle's spouse on his campaign website but if you click on "ABOUT ALBERT" you're taken to an information page with this photo splashed across the top:
From the "Who Is Albert Fogle?" section of Albert Fogle's campaign website.
The other person in the photograph is not identified. In fairness, neither is the fish.
The Alaska Dispatch News says there are two gay candidates running for Assembly. But it would appear there may be three. Voters in Anchorage go to the polls—and could make a little gay history—on April 4.
UPDATE: Albert Fogle and I just spoke on the phone.
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