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Election update: Bjorkman, Ruffridge win

Ruffridge Bjork
Ashlyn O'Hara
/
The Peninsula Clarion
Republicans Justin Ruffridge and Jesse Bjorkman at KDLL-Peninsula Clarion joint candidate forums this fall.

After Wednesday's ranked choice tabulation and final ballot count, Republican frontrunners Jesse Bjorkman and Justin Ruffridge clinched victories in their respective races to represent the central Kenai Peninsula in Juneau.

Republican Jesse Bjorkman won the race for Senate District D, representing the northern Kenai Peninsula.

After third-place nonpartisan candidate Andy Cizek was eliminated, Cizek’s nearly 12 percent of votes was redistributed to Bjorkman and Republican Tuckerman Babcock. Bjorkman won over 53 percent of the total vote, with a lead of over 1,000 votes over Babcock.

There was no ranked choice tabulation needed for the House District 7 election — a two-candidate race for the seat representing Kenai and Soldotna. After a final ballot count Wednesday, Republican Justin Ruffridge won that race with 52 percent of the vote to incumbent Republican Rep. Ron Gillham’s 46 percent. Voter turnout in that district is up to almost 45 percent.

On the southern peninsula, incumbent Republican Rep. Sarah Vance won reelection with 52 percent of the vote for House District 6. Incumbent Republican Sen. Gary Stevens was reelected to Juneau for Senate Seat C with over 56 percent of the vote. Both incumbents fended off challengers and won their respective races outright.

Statewide, voters reelected incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy. His race was won outright, with just over 50 percent of the vote over his three challengers. Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, a Republican, finished with just under 4.5 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski was reelected to the U.S. Senate with over 53 percent of the vote, after tabulation — a margin of 18,673 votes over Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola will keep her seat in the U.S. House, after finishing the remaining months of Don Young’s term this year. With fourth-place candidate libertarian Chris Bye and third-place candidate Republican Nick Begich eliminated, Peltola held a nearly 55 percent lead over Republican Sarah Palin, by a margin of 24,638 votes.

Alaska Voters also decisively rejected Ballot Measure 1, which asked voters whether they wanted to hold a constitutional convention. That measure failed by over 70 percent.

Election results are expected to be certified next week (Nov. 29).

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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