Shawn Butler

On the Kenai Conversation this week, we have separate interviews with House District 29 candidates Shawn Butler (I) and Ben Carpenter (R). 

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.

The close state house and senate races on the Kenai Peninsula are are yet to be certified, but the leads have flipped with the counting of absentee and questioned ballots.

In what appears to be a major upset in yesterday's primary elections in Senate District O, political newcomer Ron Gillham has defeated incumbent Sen. Peter Micciche.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, figures from the Alaska Division of Elections show Gillham pulled in 2,575 votes in the closed Republican primary for 50.12 percent of the 5,138 votes cast.

Micciche was close behind with 2,563 votes for 49.88 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.


Shawn Butler for State Representative

  In our continuing series of interviews with candidates for Alaska State House and Senate, we bring you Shawn Butler of Hope. She is running as a non-partisan in the primary for District 29, which stretches from Nikiski, to Hope, Funny River and Seward.

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.