Republican Bart LeBon and Democrat Kathryn Dodge. (Associated Press photos)

Republican Bart LeBon and Democrat Kathryn Dodge. (Associated Press photos)

Alaska court upholds Republican recount win in House race

The result of the House District 1 race in Fairbanks was challenged.

The Alaska Supreme Court on Friday upheld the results of a recount in a disputed state House race that showed Republican Bart LeBon winning by one vote.

The court issued a brief order affirming the decision by Alaska’s former elections director following arguments earlier in the day in Anchorage. The court said a full opinion would follow.

A superior court judge who was appointed a special master in the case previously recommended that the court uphold the Division of Election’s decisions during the recount.

Democrat Kathryn Dodge challenged four ballots, questioning whether two voters whose ballots were counted lived in the district and saying the division incorrectly changed its record of one voter’s residence to an address outside the district.

She provided affidavits from voters in two of the instances to try to bolster her case. But the state argued that both were sent to the division director after the recount, and any evidence not available at the time of the recount should be disregarded.

The state changed the address of one man to an address outside the district based on his application for an annual check from the state’s oil-wealth fund. Voters in 2016 approved an initiative calling for the division to register qualified Alaskans to vote when they apply for a dividend check.

Justice Susan Carney noted the law requires that the division send out an opt-out notice, which she said it believes it sent. Thomas Amodio, an attorney for Dodge, said there was no proof that one was sent.

An attorney for the state, Katherine Demarest, said the division acted within the law.

LeBon will succeed Democratic Rep. Scott Kawasaki in the Fairbanks seat. Kawasaki was elected to the state Senate.

Dodge in a statement said she respects the court’s decision and has no regrets about pursuing the case to completion. She said every vote “was examined and ruled upon with careful consideration.” She wished LeBon well as he heads to Juneau for the start of the legislative session Jan. 15.

Attorney General Kevin Clarkson, in a statement, said he was glad the court acted quickly “so that the incoming legislature can focus on fulfilling their duties to the people of Alaska.”

But it’s not clear how much of an impact the outcome will have as the House struggles to organize a majority.

Republicans claimed a fragile 21-member majority after the election, which included LeBon. But Republican Rep. Gary Knopp of Kenai, who was part of that group, later said he was leaving the GOP caucus in hopes of forging a bipartisan coalition to control the 40-member House.

He said Friday the outcome of the race did not change his position. He worried about the ability of a narrow majority to function well and said the parties need to work together.

The incoming House will have 23 Republicans. But two of those, Reps. Louise Stutes and Gabrielle LeDoux, caucused with Democrats the last two years and recently signed a letter with Democratic and independent colleagues from rural and coastal areas and indicated a desire to be part of some form of coalition.

Nonetheless, a statement congratulating LeBon from two members of the Republican caucus, Reps. Dave Talerico and Tammie Wilson, was released under an Alaska House majority banner.


• This is an Associated Press report by Becky Bohrer.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 7

Here’s what to expect this week.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Ice fog, a phrase in Russell Tabbert’s Dictionary of Alaskan English, is not uttered in many other places because to form it takes a sustained temperature of minus 35 F. (Courtesy Photo / Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Alaska lexicon sinks in over the years

When my little Ford pickup chugged into Alaska 36 years ago this… Continue reading

Mimi Israelah, center, cheers for Donald Trump inside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, during a rally Saturday July 9, 2022. Two Anchorage police officers violated department policy during a traffic stop last month when Israelah, in town for a rally by former President Donald Trump showed a "white privilege card" instead of a driver's license and was not ticketed. (Bill Roth / Anchorage Daily News)
Alaska officers violated policy in ‘white privilege’ stop

It’s unclear what policy was violated or what disciplinary actions the two officers faced.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Capital City Fire/Rescue vehicles form a line at Juneau International Airport for a drill. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Women arrested after Monday morning structure fire

Arrest does not appear related to two other recent fires, per fire marshal.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Keke Tian Ke is the featured artist for the month of August at the Juneau Artists Gallery. Her new works on display are an exploration of the landscapes and natural wonders Juneau has to offer. She’ll be at the First Friday event on Aug. 5 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on the ground floor of the Senate Building, 175 South Franklin.
Here’s what’s happening for First Friday

Keke Tian Ke featured artist for August at Juneau Artists Gallery

Select North Douglas residents are expected to experience an emergency water line shut down Thursday.
Some North Douglas residents set to experience emergency water line shutdown Thursday

The line shut down will occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday.

Most Read