Volunteers take the first results of the night in the Assembly chambers on Tuesday.

Volunteers take the first results of the night in the Assembly chambers on Tuesday.

Koelsch likely winner of mayoral race

Ken Koelsch held a sizeable lead over opponent Karen Crane in Tuesday’s special mayoral election, a lead that will likely hold even after absentee ballots are counted later this week.
Though Koelsch didn’t support the Assembly’s decision to hold a special election, his platform — focused on diversifying the city’s economy and unifying the Assembly — won him 58 percent of the votes and the election. Crane won 40 percent of the vote. Approximately 5,971 ballots were cast Tuesday, with another 1,520 absentee ballots that will likely be counted Friday. Approximately 24 percent of Juneau’s registered voters participated in the election.

Crane told the Empire from the Assembly chambers she wouldn’t concede until every vote had been counted.
Koelsch, 71, has lived in Juneau for 47 years. He worked as a teacher at Juneau-Douglas High School for 28 years and then as a port director for U.S. Customs and Border Protection from 1996 until he retired in 2014.
This will not be Koelsch’s first time on the Assembly. He served two terms on Juneau’s governing body from 1997 to 2003, including as deputy mayor from 2002 to 2003.
Since January, Koelsch raised more than $60,000 dollars for his campaign, which many people believe to have set fundraising and spending records. As of March 8, he had spent more than $50,000, about $20,000 more than Crane.
Like Koelsch, Crane, 68, served two terms on the Assembly, but she ended her second term a few months early in order to run in the mayoral race. She chaired the Assembly Finance Committee from 2012 until she left the Assembly in January.

Koelsch will serve as mayor for the remainder of former Mayor Greg Fisk’s term, which was set to end October 2018. Fisk passed away in November less than a month after taking office.

Ken Koelsch

Ken Koelsch

Karen Crane

Karen Crane

More in News

(Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Choir members rehearse Tuesday night for a Bach holiday concert at Ḵunéix̱ Hídi Northern Light United Church. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Quartet of Bach compositions joins lineup of local large-ensemble performances this season

Concerts this weekend part of resurging “wealth of riches” by choruses and orchestras, director says.

The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte at the Auke Bay Terminal on Monday, March 5, 2018. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Petition seeks name change for LeConte state ferry

Petersburg man calling attention to what he calls Joseph LeConte’s racist history.

The deadly landslide that struck Wrangell on the night of Nov. 20 is seen the next day. Southeast Alaska is, by nature, vulnerable to such landslides, but climate change is adding to the risk by bringing more precipitation and more extreme rainfall events. (Photo provided by Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Deadly Wrangell landslide is part of a pattern in vulnerable Alaska mountainous terrain

Scientists warn climate change, by increasing precipitation and extreme rainfall, adds to risks.

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File
Even the Grinch got into the holiday spirit at last year’s Gallery Walk on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
An abundance of traditional and new ways to capitalize on this year’s Gallery Walk

More than 50 events scheduled Friday afternoon and evening from downtown to Douglas.

This view is from Wrangell on Sept. 11, 2022. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus/ICT)
Conservation group supports formation of new Alaska Native corporations

The conservation group the Wilderness Society has changed its position and now… Continue reading

From her hospital bed on Friday, Nov. 24, Christina Florschutz demonstrates how she pulled pajama bottoms that she found in the landslide debris over her legs, arms and head to keep warm. Her house was destroyed in the landslide, and after spending the night in the wreckage, she was rescued the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 21. (Caroleine James / Wrangell Sentinel)
Elementary school aide who survived Wrangell landslide calls circumstances a miracle

Christina Florschutz trapped overnight by landslide that killed at least 4 people, with 2 missing.

Lylah Habeger (left) and Jaila Ramirez lead the Konfeta Corps during a rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at Juneau Dance Theatre. The ballet will be performed in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.At.Kalé auditorium Friday through Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Dance Theatre)
‘Nutcracker’ tradition, with a twirl of new choreography

This year’s performances feature a cast of 93, ages 5 to 78

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023

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

Most Read