Incumbents, bond packages polling ahead in early municipal election results
Early results for Tuesday’s municipal election show promising leads for incumbents in city and borough elections, as well as for multiple bond packages, which would fund updates to school and public safety infrastructure and finance a new field house in Soldotna.
Preliminary results — updated early Wednesday morning and posted on the Kenai Peninsula Borough webpage — are not final and do not include absentee votes, said Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk Johni Blankenship. The borough will certify results a week from now, on Oct. 11.
So far, voter turnout is 11.2% borough-wide, with 5,928 of the borough’s 53,014 voters casting ballots in local races.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly
Incumbent Jesse Bjorkman is leading in the race to keep his seat on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly for District 3, representing Nikiski, with 59.3% of the vote so far. Challenger Dil Uhlin has 29.1% of the vote. Chase Griffith has 11.4%.
Incumbent Tyson Cox is leading challenger Don Boston in the assembly District 4 seat, representing Soldotna, with 61.6% of the vote.
Assembly President Brent Johnson ran unopposed to keep his seat for the District 7 seat, representing the central peninsula.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education
Incumbent Patti Truesdell is leading challenger Virgil Gattenby for the District 1 seat on the board of education, representing Kalifornsky, with 68% of the vote.
On the eastern peninsula, incumbent Virginia Morgan is leading challenger Ryan Culbertson for the District 6 seat, with 69.6% of the vote.
Board President Zen Kelly ran unopposed to keep his District 9 seat on the board, representing the southern peninsula.
So far, Kenai Peninsula voters seem to be leading toward keeping a nine-member plan for assembly and school board districts on Proposition 1, which put the question of apportionment to voters following the 2020 Census. Early results show the nine-member plan pulling ahead with 78% of votes.
Both borough bond packages are faring favorably so far. Voters are leaning toward “Yes” on Proposition 2, to approve a $65.5-million bond for deferred maintenance projects in the school district. That plan has about 57.1% of the vote, so far.
The "Yes" votes on Proposition 3, which would greenlight a $16.5-million bond for a new Central Emergency Services station in Soldotna, are leading with 66% of the vote.
Service area boards
Alexa McClure is leading a close race against Clayton Cason for the contested Seat B for the North Peninsula Recreation Service Area, with 52% of the vote.
All other service area board seats are uncontested.
City of Kenai
Brian Gabriel has a lead to keep his seat as Kenai city mayor, with 68.6% of the vote over challenger Teea Winger.
Alex Douthit and Victoria Askin are the top vote getters for the two open seats on Kenai City Council, with 39.7% and 32.3% of the vote, respectively. If they maintain their leads, they’ll unseat current city council member Glenese Pettey, who came in with 28% of the vote.
City of Soldotna
Incumbent Dave Carey has a lead for Seat D on Soldotna City Council with 73.5% of the vote, against challenger Erick Hugarte.
For Seat E, incumbent Lisa Parker is also leading with 66.9% of the vote, over challenger Garrett Dominick.
Soldotna residents are voting in favor of a $15 million bond for an indoor field house in Soldotna, with 67.5% of voters voting “Yes” on the bond. The planned 42,000-square-foot building would include an indoor turf field and elevated track, as well as locker rooms and an event space. Voters rejected a similar bond by just 20 votes in 2019.
City of Homer
Mayor Ken Castner ran unopposed to keep his seat in the City of Homer race. Castner has been mayor of Homer since 2018.
Incumbents Jason Davis and Storm Hansen lead in the Homer City Council race, each earning more than 30% of the votes for the two open seats, with 33.3% and 31.6%, respectively. Challengers Kenny Bryant and Mark Gordon both pulled in a little over 14%, with Jay Baker at around 6.9% of total votes cast.
City of Seldovia
Ashley Keithley and incumbent Vivian Rojas are leading for the two open Seldovia City Council seats with 37.1% and 29.3% of the vote, respectively.
Incumbent George Nathan is trailing in third, with 25% of the vote.
City of Seward
All city races in Seward were uncontested.
Sue McClure will be the next mayor for the city. McClure currently serves on the city council as vice mayor.
Randy Wells and Kevin Finch ran unopposed for the two open seats on the Seward City Council, garnering 53.5% and 41.7% of the vote, respectively.
This is a developing story, last updated at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5.
KBBI's Hope McKenney and Desiree Hagen contributed reporting.