Ethan Berkowitz

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Ethan Berkowitz
Ethan Berkowitz.jpg
Mayor of Anchorage
Assumed office
July 1, 2015
Preceded by Dan Sullivan
Member of the
Alaska House of Representatives
from the 26th district
13th district (1997-2003)
In office
January 13, 1997 – January 15, 2007
Preceded by Cynthia Toohey
Succeeded by Lindsey Holmes
Personal details
Born (1962-02-04) February 4, 1962 (age 55)
San Francisco, California
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Mara Kimmel
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A.)
University of Cambridge (M.Phil.)
University of California (J.D.)

Ethan A. Berkowitz (born February 4, 1962) is an American politician who is the Mayor of Anchorage, Alaska. He was previously the Alaska State Representative for District 26 from 1997 through 2007, 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.

Early life and education[edit]

Berkowitz was born on February 4, 1962 in San Francisco, California. He received his degrees from Harvard College (1983, government and economics, with honors), Cambridge University (MPhil, polar studies, 1986), and The University of California Hastings College of Law (1990). He moved to Alaska in 1990 and is a lawyer and business owner.[1]

Political career[edit]

Alaska House of Representatives[edit]

Further information: 24th Alaska State Legislature

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 then re-elected 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, losing by 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 nineteenth term in Congress. Berkowitz defeated Diane Benson in the August 26 Democratic primary by a substantial margin.[2]

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, 2008, the media declared that Young, 75, had retained his seat in the United States House of Representatives, for his 19th term. Young received 50% of the vote compared to Berkowitz's 45%.[3][4]

Berkowitz himself conceded defeat on November 18, 2008, after counting of absentee and provisional ballots had mostly been completed and Young had a clearly insurmountable lead. Berkowitz received more votes in 2008 (142,560) than any Democrat who had ever run against Young for Congress, and the 2008 race was the closest any Democrat had come to unseating Young since 1990, when John Devens of Valdez received 48% of the vote.[5]

2010 campaign[edit]

Berkowitz indicated he was interested in challenging incumbent Governor Sarah Palin before her surprise resignation in 2009.[6] Berkowitz entered the race despite Palin's resignation and on August 24, 2010 he defeated State Senator, Hollis S. French to win the Democratic nomination. He and running mate for Lieutenant Governor Diane E. Benson faced incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell in the November general election and were defeated by a margin of 59% to 38%.[7]

2015 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. He was endorsed by third-place finisher, former Republican state representative Andrew Halcro.[8] He won the runoff election on May 5 by a 19-point margin.[9][10]

Comments Berkowitz had made on the Bernadette and Berkowitz Show attracted controversy. In the context of a debate on Oct. 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."[11][12] Berkowitz later called the remark a "hypothetical insinuation", denying that he supports incest.[13]

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".[14]

Other ventures[edit]

Berkowitz took the position of Senior Vice President of the Anchorage, Alaska branch of Strategies 360 in February, 2011.[15]

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 run.[16]


  1. ^ [1], State of Alaska, Division of Elections, 1996. Retrieved 29 April 2001
  2. ^ Michael O'Brien, "Stevens wins primary, Young locked in a nail biter",, August 27, 2008.
  3. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska[dead link]
  4. ^, Young retains US House seat in Alaska
  5. ^ Anchorage Daily News, The other congressional race - Berkowitz concedes to Young Archived May 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "This Democrat Is Itching To Run Against Sarah Palin for Governor - The Eye (CQ Politics)". 2009-05-27. Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  7. ^ Election Night 2010: Incumbents Parnell and Young Re-Elected, Possibly Murkowski APRN 3-10-2010
  8. ^ "Halcro makes last-minute Berkowitz endorsement in mayoral race". Pipeline. May 4, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ "Berkowitz holds big lead over Demboski in runoff race for mayor". Alaska Dispatch News. May 5, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ Marans, Daniel, "Incest Becomes Last-Minute Campaign Issue In Anchorage Mayoral Race," Huffington Post, 5 May 2015. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2016.
  12. ^ Wilson, Bernadette, "Surprise: Anchorage Mayoral Candidate Ethan Berkowitz Really Did Support Disgusting Father-Son Marriage," Restoring Liberty, 2 May 2015. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2016.
  13. ^ Recording of remark: "On eve of Election Day, recording of provocative radio interview released," KTUU TV, 4 May 2015. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2016.
  14. ^ Kelly, Devin (July 1, 2015). "Berkowitz sworn in as Anchorage mayor in downtown ceremony". Alaska Dispatch News. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Berkowitz goes to work for consulting firm". 2011-02-11. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  16. ^ Kelly, Devin, "Anchorage radio station KFQD drops Bernadette Wilson's show," Anchorage Dispatch News, 31 Dec. 2015, updated 8 July 2016. Retrieved 4 Sept. 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Minority Leader of the Alaska House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Beth Kerttula
Preceded by
Dan Sullivan
Mayor of Anchorage
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gene Kubina
Leader of the Democratic Party in 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