United States Senate election in Alaska, 1996

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United States Senate election in Alaska, 1996

← 1990 November 5, 1996 2002 →
  Ted Stevens.jpg
Nominee Ted Stevens Jed Whittaker Theresa Nangle Obermeyer
Party Republican Green Democratic
Popular vote 177,893 29,037 24,133
Percentage 76.71% 12.52% 10.51%

Senator before election

Ted Stevens

Elected Senator

Ted Stevens

The 1996 United States Senate election in Alaska was held on November 5, 1996. Incumbent Republican United States Senator Ted Stevens ran for re-election to a fifth term in the United States Senate. Stevens faced off against Democratic nominee Theresa Obermeyer, a former member of the Anchorage School Board,[1] and Green Party nominee Jed Whittaker, a commercial fisherman.

The race drew national attention for Obermeyer's erratic behavior: she blamed Stevens for her husband's failure to pass the bar exam and contended that he had passed the bar by fraud. She "trailed" him to campaign events, frequently wearing a prisoner's outfit and once dragging a ball and chain behind her. During the campaign, she was arrested and served 30 days in prison in California and Oregon for probation violations.[2]

Stevens was re-elected in an overwhelming landslide and Whittaker finished ahead of Obermeyer.

Open primary



  • Michael Beasley, perennial candidate
  • Henry J. Blake, Jr.
  • Lawrence Freiberger, former congressional candidate
  • Robert Alan Gigler
  • Theresa Nangle Obermeyer, former Anchorage School Board member
  • Joseph A. Sonneman, perennial candidate
  • Frank Vondersaar, perennial candidate



  • Jed Whittaker, commercial fisherman


Open primary results[3]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Ted Stevens (inc.) 71,043 58.87
Republican Dave W. Cuddy 32,994 27.34
Democratic Theresa Nangle Obermeyer 4,072 3.37
Green Jed Whittaker 3,751 3.11
Democratic Joseph A. Sonneman 2,643 2.19
Democratic Michael Beasley 1,968 1.63
Democratic Henry J. Blake, Jr. 1,157 0.96
Democratic Lawrence Freiberger 921 0.76
Republican Charles E. McKee 842 0.70
Democratic Frank Vondersaar 655 0.54
Democratic Robert Alan Gigler 631 0.52
Total votes 138,492 100.00

General election

Remnant of Whittaker's campaign bumper sticker, photographed on a light pole on South Cushman Street in Fairbanks in 2014. Whittaker's slogan for the bumper sticker was "Tired of Ted? Vote for Jed!".


United States Senate election in Alaska, 1996[4]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Ted Stevens (inc.) 177,893 76.71% +10.48%
Green Jed Whittaker 29,037 12.52%
Democratic Theresa Nangle Obermeyer 23,977 10.34% -21.85%
Write-ins 1,009 0.44%
Majority 148,856 64.19% +30.15%
Turnout 231,916
Republican hold Swing


  1. Kirtley, Jane. "Gag Her with an Injunction | American Journalism Review". Ajr.org. Retrieved 2013-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Aliens From Outer Space and Other Election Tales". The New York Times. November 7, 1996. Retrieved 4 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Official State of Alaska - Primary : August 27, 1996". Elections.alaska.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Statistics of the Presidential and Congressional Election of November 5, 1996" (PDF). Clerk.house.gov. Retrieved 2013-09-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>