A pair of write-in candidates are shaking up the general election landscape on the Central Peninsula.
*UPDATE: Brian Olson will not conduct a write-in campaign against Brent Hibbert in the Borough Assembly race for District 1.
The Republican primary in Senate District O was won by incumbent Peter Micciche by just 72 votes. That gave his challenger, political newcomer Ron Gillham of Soldotna, the confidence to continue his campaign as a write-in candidate.
“There was so many people (who) got in touch with me, wanted me to do a write-in, it was almost one of those things where I had to do it. And there was so many people who did not get to vote because it was a closed Republican primary. So, we decided to do a write-in and hopefully we get enough people out to vote that we can make a little different outcome this time."
A career North Slope worker, Gillham also owns Golden Eagle Charters and Lodging. He opposes cuts to the Permanent Fund Dividend and wants to see Senate Bill 91, the major crime reform bill passed in 2016, to be reviewed and potentially repealed.
The theme of running against the status-quo carries over to the borough assembly race in district one, in the K-Beach area. Brent Hibbert had been seeking reelection unopposed, until one of his constituents, Brian Olson, decided to throw his hat in the ring at this (last) week’s assembly meeting. Hibbert voted against a resolution that only supported Soldotna’s plans for annexation if people could vote on it.
“The fact, Mr. Hibbert, that you’re in a district that has one of the largest amounts of individuals and businesses that are going to be annexed, for you to not support this resolution...I am therefore going to put my name as a write-in candidate against your election in October.”
Olson owns Alaska Berries and has long been a vocal opponent of annexation. Local municipal elections take place October 2nd. Voting in statewide races is November 6th.