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With more ballots counted, Ruffridge and Bjorkman hold leads in legislative races

Candidates Collage.jpg
Riley Board & Sabine Poux
/
KDLL
Clockwise from top right: State House District 7 candidates Justin Ruffridge and Ron Gillham (courtesy photo), and State Senate District D candidates Jesse Bjorkman and Tuckerman Babcock.

One week after Election Day, Kenai Peninsula Republican candidates Justin Ruffridge and Jesse Bjorkman are holding their leads in their respective races for Alaska State House and Senate.

The latest batch of ballots to be counted by the Alaska Division of Elections, updated Tuesday, includes early votes and absentee ballots spanning Nov. 3 to Nov. 11 for House District 7, which includes Kenai and Soldotna.

In the House District 7 race, Soldotna Republican Justin Ruffridge maintains his lead over Republican incumbent Rep. Ron Gillham with under 53 percent of the vote — a lead of 415 votes.

As of Monday, the division was still waiting on over 220 by-mail ballots from House District 7. Ballots postmarked by Election Day have until 10 days after Election Day to get to the Division of Elections.

In the Senate District D race — which includes Kenai and Soldotna and the northern Kenai Peninsula — Nikiksi Republican Jesse Bjorkman continues to lead Republican Tuckerman Babcock with 46 percent of the vote to Babcock’s 42 percent. That’s a lead of 582 votes.

Since neither top candidate in that race has more than 50 percent of the vote, that race will be undecided until the Division of Elections eliminates the third-place candidate in the race, Andy Cizek, and redistributes his votes. Cizek currently has about 11 percent of the vote, or 1,550 votes.

The Division will do its ranked-choice tabulation next Wednesday, Nov. 23. The election will be certified Nov. 29.

Accounting for the new votes, voter turnout in House District 7 is up to 43 percent.

Sabine Poux is the news director at KDLL. Originally from New York, she's lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont, where she fell in love with local news. She covers all things central peninsula but is especially interested in stories related to energy and fishing. She'd love to hear your ideas at spoux@kdll.org.
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