Alaska voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure to legalize casino gambling, and they set up a contest for governor between the former mayor of Anchorage and a Republican state senator.
The casino measure, which would have allowed blackjack and other forms of gambling, lost 65% to 35% Tuesday.
Supporters had said gambling would generate revenue. Opponents, including retiring Gov. Steve Cowper, argued that gambling would increase crime, create few jobs, cost too much to regulate and undermine the state’s image as a wholesome wilderness paradise.
State Sen. Arliss Sturgulewski, who almost became the state’s first woman governor four years ago, brimmed with enthusiasm after winning the GOP nomination.
“I feel very, very strong about victory in November,” said Sturgulewski, who has represented Anchorage in the state Senate for 12 years. “We have a plan and we’re ready to start.”
Tony Knowles, claiming victory in the Democratic primary, said: “This is just the first step. I’m going to change my watch from primary time to general time.”
With 98% of the precincts reporting, Knowles had 32,157 votes, or 56%, and Lt. Gov. Stephen McAlpine had 24,943 votes, or 43%.
In the GOP race, Sturgulewski had 24,317 votes, or 36%; businessman Jim Campbell had 21,387 votes, or 32%, and state Sen. Rick Halford had 20,561 votes, or 31%.