2018 Elections

This week on Econ 919, we look at how much was spent for and against the Stand for Salmon Initiative, and we have a "magical" update.

On this week's Kenai Conversation, hosts Jay Barrett and Shaylon Cochran break down local election results and take a few calls with reactions to both local and statewide races.


Voters in the central Kenai Peninsula are returning a solidly Republican delegation to Juneau.

There weren't many surprises in Central Peninsula races as results trickled in Tuesday night.

Willow King

The race for Senate District O has been one of the more turbulent on the Peninsula this election season. Senator Peter Micciche narrowly won the Republican primary in August. That prompted his challenger, Ron Gillham to launch a write-in campaign. And now, with less than two weeks until election day, another write-in candidate has thrown her hat in.


 

The three leading candidates for Alaska governor were in Soldotna Wednesday. Independent incumbent Bill Walker, Republican Mike Dunleavy and Democrat Mark Begich are all running campaigns focused on the state’s permanent fund.

 

 


Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

The city council races in Soldotna aren’t as competitive as the race in Kenai. Three candidates are running for three seats.

 

 


Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

As the big time political races across the state and nation heat up, the race for a pair of Kenai city council seats is relatively docile by comparison. Bob Molloy is seeking reelection against Robert Peterkin Jr. and Teea Winger.

 

 


Election coverage continues on the Kenai Conversation. Host Jenny Neyman visits with candidates for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education. In District 2 — Kenai, Matt Morse is running against incumbent Tim Navarre. In District 5 — Sterling/Funny River, incumbent Marty Anderson has three challengers — Nissa Fowler, Greg Madden and Karyn Griffin. Anderson is out of state for work and was not able to participate, and attempts to reach Griffin have not been successful.

Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

 

Fish politics are a focal point this election season. A statewide ballot initiative seeking to change the state’s habitat protection laws for salmon is getting all sorts of public debate, in the news, on television and radio commercials and, in local forums.

 

 


 

This week, we’re taking a look at a long-awaited capitol project that voters will decide on during the fall elections. A new school at Kachemak-Selo.

 

 


 

The race for the borough assembly seat in district one, representing the K-Beach area and parts of Kenai and Soldotna, remains uncontested. Brent Hibbert is seeking reelection for a full three year term. He made his way to the assembly in 2016 when Gary Knopp was elected to the House of Representatives. The longtime owner of Alaska Cab Company spoke with KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran this week about his first partial term and what he would like to get done in the next three years.

 

 


Shaylon Cochran/KDLL

 

Next month, borough voters will be asked to settle three ballot questions. One asks for approval for a new school in Kachemak-Selo, that will cost about $5 million. The state will fund the remaining two-thirds of the project if voters give the ok. The other two deal with the boundaries between the Central and Southern Peninsula Hospital Service Areas.

 

 


 

 

Between this year’s low returns and a statewide ballot measure, salmon continue to be a hot topic this fall.

 

A pair of write-in candidates are shaking up the general election landscape on the Central Peninsula.

The Alaska Division of Elections has finalized its results from last month's primary elections, which cleared up two races in the Central Peninsula.

In Senate District O, incumbent Peter Micciche came from behind and averted a huge upset against unknown political newcomer Ron Gillham. It took Micciche the absentee and questioned ballots to win, but he collected 50.62 percent of the vote to Gillham's 49.38 percent.

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Candidates for the Northern Kenai Peninsula House District 29 agreed on more issues than not in a forum held by the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday in Kenai. There were differences in priorities and approaches, however.

Ben Carpenter is a 1993 Nikiski High School graduate who is retiring from 21 years of military service this year. He has a peony farm with his family and works as project manager for Epperheimer, Inc., and says his lack of political experience is a mark in his favor.

“We cannot continue to do the same thing that we’ve always done. We cannot continue to think the same way that we’ve always thought and expect different results. We need people out of the communities who have never participated in politics to step forward and get involved. And that is the only way that we are going to right this state,” Carpenter said.

His first priority is cutting government.


As we reported earlier, Alaska’s campaign sign laws are a complex combination of state rights-of-way, private-property rights, federal highway law and a 1998 Alaska citizen voter initiative that passed with nearly 75 percent approval that should have left our roadsides pristine.

It is, in essence, very simple, according to Heather Fair, the chief of the DOT’s Right of Way division.

“Any sign visible from the traveled way is not allowed,” she told KDLL last month when campaign signs first started sprouting. 

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Three of the candidates hoping to become the Republican nominee for the governor’s race shared their views at a joint Kenai-Soldotna Chamber of Commerce forum Wednesday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, former Mat-Su state Sen. Mike Dunleavy and Michael Sheldon shared their views on the state budget, economy, crime, fisheries and many other issues.


Absentee voting places are open across the state of Alaska now, and will be through Primary Election Day on Aug. 21.

Alaska election law allows for a quartet of ways to vote absentee, including in-person, by mail, by fax or electronically, or through a personal representative. 

This year Alaskans will vote on half the state’s senators, all the state house members, our governor and his lieutenant, and for U.S. House.

The filing window for residents interested in serving on local city councils, assemblys, and boards has opened. Candidate filing and nomination packets are available now until August 15 for those interested in running for office.

There are two seats available on the Kenai City Council and three on the Soldotna Council.

Jay Barrett/KDLL

Political signs have returned to Kenai Peninsula roadsides, blooming right on schedule between dandelions and orange hawkweed. By the time the fireweed has gone to seed, we'll be tired of them -- if they're still around.

Placing temporary signage is likely the most misunderstood and disobeyed law in Alaska. But there is one simple rule of campaign signs in the State of Alaska and it is this: If a campaign sign can be read from a state roadway, then it is illegal and should be taken down.

The slate is set for the state primary elections.

With Rep. Mike Chenault not seeking reelection, House Seat 29 is wide open, and has attracted three candidates, Shawn Butler of Hope running as a nonpartisan, and candidates Ben Carpenter and Wayne Ogle, both of Kenai, are running for the Republican nod.

Chenault gave up his house seat to run for Alaska governor, but his name does not appear on the state's final candidate list for that, or any, office.

Alaska Board of Fisheries

Robert Ruffner of Soldotna has retrieved his hat from a very crowded ring, full of contestants vying for the Republican mantle in the State House Seat 31 primary against the long-time incumbent.

Ruffner said he recognized a responsibility to donors and supporters when he realized the time commitment wasn’t viable.

State of Alaska

  It's an even numbered year, so you can count on election stories to increase through the fall. Locally, on Saturday, the District 29 and 30 Democrats met - separately - to take care of some party business, and to prepare for their convention, the primary election and the general.

Michele Vasquez is the chair of District 30, which includes Kenai and Soldotna. She said one long-time local leader offered some timely resolutions that delegates will bring to the state convention in May.

Pages