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Division of Elections completes primary counts

Voters fill out their ballots at the District 2 polling location on Aug. 16.
Riley Board
Voters fill out their ballots at a Kenai polling location on Aug. 16.

Update: Aug 29

An update from the Alaska Division of Elections Friday confirmed who exactly will be on the ballot in November.

The update included final primary results from the primary election on Aug. 16. It hasn’t changed anything for the peninsula races for Alaska House and Senate. Both primaries have fewer than four candidates, so all will advance to the general election this fall.

In the race for Alaska Senate District D, Republican Tuckerman Babcock leads with 49% of the vote. Republican Jesse Bjorkman follows with around 36% of the vote, and Andy Cizek, running with no party affiliation, finished with just under 15%.

For the Alaska House District 7 seat, which represents Kenai and Soldotna, Republican Justin Ruffridge is leading with about 57% of votes, while incumbent Republican Ron Gillham has garnered 43%.

U.S. House and Senate

In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski is in the lead with 45% of the vote. She is followed by Republican Kelly Tshibaka with about 39%, Democrat Pat Chesbro with 7% and Republican Buzz Kelley, who finished with 2%.

In the U.S. House race special election, which is still being counted, Democrat Mary Peltola has grown her lead in first place votes, and currently has just under 40%. She’s followed by Republican Sarah Palin who has 31%, and Republican Nick Begich, who has 28%.

Those results won’t be fully tabulated until this coming Wednesday [Aug. 31], but in the primary for the next full U.S. House term, Peltola, Palin and Begich are set to be on the ballot. In that election, Peltola leads 37%, Palin has 30% and Begich has 26%. Republican Tara Sweeney finished in fourth, but because she dropped out of the race last Tuesday, the final spot on the general election ballot will be filled by the fifth-place finisher, libertarian Chris Bye, who finished with .62% of the vote.


In the gubernatorial race, Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce is officially on the November ballot. Pierce and running mate Edie Grunwald came in fourth in the primary with almost 7% of the vote. Pierce announced his resignation as borough mayor Friday, saying that will focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

He trails nonpartisans Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas, and Democrats Les Gara and Jessica Cook, who each have about 23 percent of the vote. Incumbent Republican Mike Dunleavy leads with 40%.

The Division of Elections plans to certify the results of the election at the end of the week.


Update from Aug. 25

Absentee votes are still being counted for the Aug. 16 elections.

According to a Tuesday update from the Alaska Division of Elections, Alaska Senate Republican candidate Tuckerman Babcock and Alaska House Republican candidate Justin Ruffridge are maintaining their leads in their respective primaries.

With more absentee votes counted in this tally, Babcock has just over 49 percent of the vote to Republican Jesse Bjorkman’s 36 percent in the race for Senate District D, representing the northern Kenai Peninsula down to Clam Gulch. Andy Cizek, running without party affiliation, has just under 15 percent of the vote.

In House District 7, representing Kenai and Soldotna, Ruffridge is leading with about 57 percent of votes to incumbent Republican Ron Gillham’s 43 percent.

Since both primaries have fewer than four candidates, all will advance to the general election in November. Pollsters say they’re unsure under the new system what primary results could indicate about how candidates could fare in the general election.

Meanwhile, Democrat Mary Peltola has increased her lead to nearly 39 percent in the special general election for the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the Tuesday update. Also running are Republicans Nick Begich III, who has about 28 percent of the vote, and Sarah Pali , who has about 31 percent. When the third-place candidate is eliminated at the end of the month, their votes will be redistributed to the remaining two candidates, per the new ranked choice system.

With the now-counted absentee ballots, voter turnout on the central Kenai Peninsula is up to almost 33 percent in House District 7 and just over 39 percent in House District 8.

The Division of Elections is still waiting on some absentee ballots to come in before it certifies its result. The next results update is Friday.

Sabine Poux is a producer and reporter for the Brave Little State podcast of Vermont Public. She was formerly news director and evening news host at KDLL in Kenai.

Originally from New York, Sabine has lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont and Kenai.
Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
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