How Biden’s win is playing on the peninsula

Nov 9, 2020

The state will start counting the 9,000 absentee ballots in House Districts 29 and 30 tomorrow.
Credit Sabine Poux/KDLL

News of President-elect Joe Biden’s projected victory reached Alaskans early Saturday morning. 

In New York City, Atlanta and Minneapolis, there was dancing in the street. In Colorado Springs, Nashville and Boise, there were pro-Trump protests and “Stop the count” demonstrations. In Juneau and Anchorage there were small public protests and celebrations.

Not in Kenai or Soldotna. Many political signs across both cities were quietly taken down over the weekend and there was no public hullabaloo on either side.

Several voters on Monday morning seemed to have made peace with the results. Parker Teall of Homer said he voted for President Donald Trump on Election Day. But unlike the president, who’s been making unfounded claims that there was wide-scale election fraud causing his loss, Teall thinks the results of the election are legitimate.

“Democrats had four years of trying to investigate Trump for collusion and other kinds of voting fraud,” he said. “So them being pretty defensive about us looking into them raises some red flags. But I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I don't think the whole election was rigged.”

While his candidate didn’t win, he said he understands that that’s just the way things go.

“We had four years of Trump and a lot of complaining from the Democratic side. But now it’s our turn to complain for a few terms, and that’s just how it works,” he said. “Bounces back and forth until we find a good middle ground. Not saying we have the best political system. I still believe in the electoral college and all that good stuff. But having more than a two-party system would be key, in my opinion.”

Tristan Combs, too, said he isn’t thrilled with the current system of government. Combs, who lives in Soldotna, voted Democratic.

“I feel that, personally, a bipartisan system doesn’t work well for what we’re shooting for,” he said. “But it’s kind of what we have at the moment.”

He said he thinks the election went as well as it could have under this system.

“The nation as a whole was definitely at stake. We’re on the brink of severe civil unrest,” he said. “And I feel like this election, in particular, is definitely a turning point. And, personally, from me, from all the research I’ve done independently, I would rather have someone who shows more compassion toward human life as a leader of a nation, as opposed to someone who treats their opponents as nothing but enemies.”

Olivia Davis is a senior at Soldotna High School. She wasn’t old enough to vote in this election.

Still, when she heard the news on Saturday, she said she was relieved. She followed the election through journalists who were posting on Tik Tok, as well as The Associated Press and New York Times.

“I was asleep, and I had just woken up and got a bunch of texts from my friends saying, ‘Oh my goodness, Biden won Pennsylvania!’ And I was absolutely thrilled,” she said. “Exhausted but thrilled. And I think I went and I got some subpar dairy-free ice cream to celebrate.”

She said she worries about how politics will impact the environment, healthcare and her rights as a woman. Her first-choice candidate was Sen. Bernie Sanders.

“I see Joe Biden being elected as a step, for sure,” she said. “There’s a lot that we need to continue doing in order to keep making progress as a nation, but I think that, at this point, and how divided we were as a country, even if Bernie actually did make it to end up being the Democratic nominee, I don’t think that he would’ve won, just because his policies I think are probably a little bit too far left for a lot of more centrist Democrats.”

Ken Stoll, of Soldotna, said he voted for Trump.

“I don’t know how good Biden’s gonna do for us, so it makes a lot of difference in the world when people see the changes to business and losing jobs but we’ll see how it really works out,” he said. “That’s why our government gives us a four-year window to change it if we don’t like it. So that’s what I appreciate.”

He says economic issues were motivating his choice, noting that the economy has in some areas been recovering since the pandemic hit.

“But, like I said, we’ll see how it goes with the new president and what kind of policy changes they make,” he said.

Suzanne Goodwill of Sterling asked the question many Alaskans — and the rest of the country — have been wondering:

“I’m still kind of waiting to see what happens in Alaska. ’Cause, have they posted the final results yet?”

Not yet. The state will start tabulating absentee ballots Tuesday, all 130,500 and counting.  

As of Monday, there were more than 4,200 absentee ballots received for House District 29. On Election Day, the district tabulated 5,700 ballots.

House District 30 received nearly 5,000 absentee ballots. That district tabulated over 5,700 ballots on Election Day.