This is a photo of a sample ballot for the 2023 City and Borough of Juneau municipal election. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

This is a photo of a sample ballot for the 2023 City and Borough of Juneau municipal election. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Record review shows local election candidates’ past criminal charges

Several vying for Assembly reflect on previous offenses.

Ahead of the fast-approaching Oct. 3 municipal election, the Juneau Empire searched the Alaska Court System’s records for each candidate’s name.

While most candidates for the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and Juneau Board of Education had only minor blemishes on their record, a review of public documents shows some candidates with past criminal convictions of assault, driving while intoxicated and other court actions.

Assembly District 2 candidate Joe Geldhof in a plea deal pleaded no contest to two separate misdemeanor assault charges in 1996. The plea deal reduced two charges of assault that were originally felonies down to a single misdemeanor charge stemming from an arrest for allegedly striking an 8-year-old girl multiple times with a hockey stick in 1995. Two stories published in the Juneau Empire at the time outlined his arrest and sentencing.

The second misdemeanor was from a separate domestic violence charge months earlier involving the discipline of a minor. The Juneau Empire is not releasing information describing the incident, as it is a longstanding policy to attempt to avoid identifying the alleged victim.

In an interview Monday, Geldhof said he regrets his actions and has learned from the incidents. He said it is up to Juneau residents to decide whether the charges are newsworthy or should be taken into account as he runs for local office.

“I absolutely did hit a kid twice, swatted them with a hockey stick and I deeply regret that,” he said. “The only thing to do there is admit what I did and take my medicine, which I deeply regret, that I have a moment of anger at that kid.”

Assembly Areawide candidate Ivan Nance in a plea deal pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor assault charge in 1996. The Juneau Empire is not releasing information describing the incident, as it is a longstanding policy to attempt to avoid identifying the alleged victim.

In an interview Monday, Nance said the incident was a long time ago and he has since learned from the mistake.

“I learned from that and I think I’m a better person than I was then,” he said. “I don’t want to get too far into this conversation other than saying we make mistakes, we grow and hopefully we get better. That’s all I can say.”

Assembly Areawide candidate Paul Kelly in a no-contest plea was convicted of a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge stemming from an incident in Anchorage in 2010.

In an interview Monday, Kelly said the incident happened more than a decade ago and he has since learned from the mistake.

“I learned my lesson,” he said. “I don’t see this affecting my ability to hold public office.”

Assembly Areawide candidate Michele Stuart-Morgan in a no-contest plea was convicted of a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge stemming from an incident in Juneau in 2003.

In an interview on Monday, Stuart-Morgan said it was a “good lesson learned.”

“I mean, it was dumb. I was playing at an open mic and I drank wine, and then I gave someone a ride home, and it all hit me at once,” she said. “I did it, I stand by it and it was a part of learning life.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

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