Ethan Berkowitz

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Ethan Berkowitz
Ethan Berkowitz (27438918357).jpg
Mayor of Anchorage
In office
July 1, 2015 – October 23, 2020
Preceded byDan Sullivan
Succeeded byAustin Quinn-Davidson (acting)
Member of the Alaska House of Representatives
from the 26th district
13th district (1997–2003)
In office
January 13, 1997 – January 15, 2007
Preceded byCynthia Toohey
Succeeded byLindsey Holmes
Personal details
Ethan Avram Berkowitz

(1962-02-04) February 4, 1962 (age 59)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mara Kimmel
EducationHarvard University (BA)
University of Cambridge (MPhil)
University of California, Hastings (JD)

Ethan Avram Berkowitz (born February 4, 1962) is an American attorney, businessman, and politician who served as the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. From 1997 to 2007 he was the Alaska State Representative for District 26, serving as the Democratic Party Minority Leader from 1999 to 2007. He was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in 2006, for Alaska's at-large congressional district in 2008, and for governor in 2010. He was elected mayor of Anchorage in 2015, and reelected in 2018.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Berkowitz was born to a Jewish family in San Francisco, California.[2] He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and economics from Harvard College in 1983, a MPhil in polar studies from Cambridge University in 1986, and a Juris Doctor from the Hastings College of Law in 1990.

He moved to Alaska after graduating from law school, and has worked as an attorney and business owner.[3]

Political career[edit]

Alaska House of Representatives[edit]

Berkowitz was the Democratic Minority Leader in the Alaska House of Representatives from 1999 to 2007. He was first elected to represent District 26 (Anchorage) in 1996, and reelected in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004.

2006 campaign[edit]

In the 2006 election Berkowitz was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor of Alaska, running with gubernatorial nominee Tony Knowles. Knowles and Berkowitz were defeated in the general election by Sarah Palin and Sean Parnell, 48% to 41%.

2008 campaign[edit]

In 2008 Berkowitz ran for election as U.S. Representative for Alaska's At-large congressional district, held by scandal-plagued Republican Don Young, who was seeking his 19th term in Congress. Berkowitz defeated Diane Benson in the August 26 Democratic primary by a substantial margin.[4]

The initial results from the general election on November 4, 2008, showed Young leading the race, but with many absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted, the race was not called. On November 12 the media declared that Young had been reelected.[5][6]

Berkowitz conceded defeat on November 18, after counting of absentee and provisional ballots had mostly been completed and Young had a clearly insurmountable lead. Ultimately Young received 50% of the vote to Berkowitz's 45%. Berkowitz received more votes in 2008 (142,560) than any Democrat who had ever run against Young for Congress, and came the closest any Democrat had to unseating Young since 1990, when John Devens of Valdez received 48% of the vote.[7]

2010 campaign[edit]

In December 2008 Berkowitz said he was considering challenging Young again in 2010,[8] but in July 2009 he said he would not run and was instead considering challenging Governor Sarah Palin.[9][10] Berkowitz entered the race following Palin's resignation in July 2009 and on August 24, 2010, he defeated State Senator Hollis S. French for the Democratic nomination. Incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell defeated Berkowitz and his running mate Diane E. Benson in the November general election, 59% to 38%.[11]

2015 mayoral campaign[edit]

Berkowitz ran for mayor of Anchorage in 2015. He finished ahead of the rest of the field in the nonpartisan primary on April 7, advancing to a runoff with Assemblywoman Amy Demboski. Endorsed by the third-place finisher, former Republican state representative Andrew Halcro,[12] he won the May 5 runoff election by a 19-point margin.[13][14]

Comments Berkowitz had made on the Bernadette and Berkowitz Show attracted controversy. In the context of a debate on October 13, 2014, with co-host Bernadette Wilson over same-sex marriage, Berkowitz had said, "I support the idea of adults being able to choose who they have a relationship with. Father and son should be allowed to marry, if they’re both consenting adults—if you’re defining marriage as the bundle of rights and privileges that’s now accrued to people, then yes."[15][16] Berkowitz later called the remark a "hypothetical insinuation", denying that he supports incest.[17]

Mayor of Anchorage[edit]

On July 1, 2015, Berkowitz was sworn in as Anchorage's mayor. In his inauguration speech he urged city residents and leaders to work to overcome differences and "rise above the immediacy and smallness of the moment".[18]

On October 13, 2020, he announced that he would resign, effective October 23, after he acknowledged the previous day that he had been in a "consensual, inappropriate messaging relationship" with KYUR television anchor Maria Athens.[19][20][21]

Other ventures[edit]

Berkowitz took the position of Senior Vice President of the Anchorage, Alaska branch of Strategies 360 in February 2011.[22]

Berkowitz and Bernadette Wilson were co-hosts of the Bernadette and Berkowitz Show on Anchorage radio station KFQD in 2014. He left the show when he began his mayoral campaign.[23]


  1. ^ Hughes, Zachariah (April 18, 2018). "Anchorage officials certify vote-by-mail results". KTOO-TV. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1], State of Alaska, Division of Elections, 1996. Retrieved April 29, 2001
  4. ^ Michael O'Brien, "Stevens wins primary, Young locked in a nail biter",, August 27, 2008.
  5. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska[dead link]
  6. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska
  7. ^ Anchorage Daily News, The other congressional race – Berkowitz concedes to Young Archived May 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Toeplitz, Shira (December 3, 2008). "Berkowitz Ponders Rematch With Young in Alaska". Roll Call. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  9. ^ Toeplitz, Shira (June 16, 2009). "Young May Avoid Hard Race in 2010". Roll Call. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  10. ^ "This Democrat Is Itching To Run Against Sarah Palin for Governor – The Eye (CQ Politics)". May 27, 2009. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  11. ^ Election Night 2010: Incumbents Parnell and Young Re-Elected, Possibly Murkowski APRN October 3, 2010
  12. ^ "Halcro makes last-minute Berkowitz endorsement in mayoral race". Pipeline. May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Klint, Chris (May 5, 2015). "Berkowitz defeats Demboski by wide margin to become Anchorage mayor". KTUU-TV. Archived from the original on May 7, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  14. ^ "Berkowitz holds big lead over Demboski in runoff race for mayor". Alaska Dispatch News. May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Marans, Daniel, "Incest Becomes Last-Minute Campaign Issue In Anchorage Mayoral Race," Huffington Post, May 5, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  16. ^ Wilson, Bernadette, "Surprise: Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Ethan Berkowitz Really Did Support Disgusting Father-Son Marriage," Restoring Liberty, May 2, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  17. ^ Recording of remark[permanent dead link]: "On eve of Election Day, recording of provocative radio interview released," KTUU TV, May 4, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Kelly, Devin (July 1, 2015). "Berkowitz sworn in as Anchorage mayor in downtown ceremony". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
  19. ^ Herz, Nathaniel (October 13, 2020). "Anchorage Mayor Berkowitz has resigned". Alaska Public Media.
  20. ^ Baker, Mike (October 13, 2020). "Anchorage Mayor Resigns After Admitting to 'Inappropriate' Relationship With TV Anchor". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  21. ^ "Anchorage mayor admits to "inappropriate" relationship with TV reporter who was arrested". Retrieved October 14, 2020.
  22. ^ "Berkowitz goes to work for consulting firm". February 11, 2011. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Kelly, Devin, "Anchorage radio station KFQD drops Bernadette Wilson's show," Anchorage Dispatch News, December 31, 2015, updated July 8, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.

External links[edit]

Alaska House of Representatives
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Minority Leader of the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Beth Kerttula
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Democratic Leader of the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Beth Kerttula
Preceded by
Ernie Hall
Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Diane Benson
Preceded by
Tony Knowles
Democratic nominee for Governor of Alaska
Succeeded by
Byron Mallott
Political offices
Preceded by
Dan Sullivan
Mayor of Anchorage
Succeeded by
Austin Quinn-Davidson