Brian Jackson, State of Alaska’s Elections Program Manager, helps answer a question from Alaska Review Board members Stuart Sliter, center, and Lynda Thater-Flemmer during the final certification of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Brian Jackson, State of Alaska’s Elections Program Manager, helps answer a question from Alaska Review Board members Stuart Sliter, center, and Lynda Thater-Flemmer during the final certification of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Recount coming in Kenai state House race

Division of Elections also missing ballots from village precinct

A tightly contested Republican primary race for a Kenai Peninsula state House seat is headed to a state-paid recount.

On Tuesday morning, Alaska Division of Elections director Josie Bahnke said Wayne Ogle has requested a recount of his defeat by Benjamin Carpenter in House District 29. That recount will take place Thursday or Friday.

Her announcement came as the division certified the results of the Aug. 21 statewide primary.

Ogle trails Carpenter by 12 votes out of 3,122 cast in that district’s Republican primary. Both men are vying to replace longtime Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, who sought the Republican lieutenant governor nomination before withdrawing from that contest.

Under state law, any race decided by fewer than 20 votes or 0.5 percent of the votes cast is eligible for a state-funded recount.

In all other cases, the candidate who requests the recount must pay for it. No other race was eligible for a state recount. The deadline for a candidate to request a recount is Sunday.

^

Stevens Village ballots missing

Tuesday’s election certification comes despite the fact that the Division of Elections has received ballots from only 441 of the state’s 442 precincts.

Stevens Village, which has 76 registered voters, did not call in election results on Election Day, and the election coordinator there has not answered repeated phone calls from the division.

“We tried and tried and tried,” Bahnke said, adding that officials have called all over town to try to get results, but they haven’t had any success.

Elections officials even contacted others throughout the village to get results, but were foiled.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, hardcopy results were mailed Aug. 29 but had not arrived at the division’s headquarters in Juneau by Tuesday, Bahnke said.

Late-arriving ballots are common in Alaska elections — the green bags containing ballots from Brevig Mission and Anaktuvuk Pass arrived in Juneau on Tuesday morning — but ballots entirely missing from the election are extremely rare.

In 1978, the gubernatorial primary between Wally Hickell and Jay Hammond famously turned on absentee ballots and became controversial when hundreds of missing ballots were found in an Anchorage filing cabinet.

Others were recovered from among seal carcasses and mushy garbage in the Kotlik village dump, according to contemporary accounts from the Anchorage Daily News.

In those cases, preliminary results had been telephonically delivered to elections officials. This time around, that didn’t happen, leaving officials uncertain even about how many ballots were cast.

Facing a deadline to certify the election, Bahnke said the division couldn’t wait.

“If they weren’t reported to us, they’re not included,” she said.

Stevens Village is located in House District 6, and all three local races within that district were uncontested. Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, received the Republican nomination for Alaska Senate uncontested; Ed Alexander received the Democratic nomination for House uncontested; Rep. David Talerico, R-Fairbanks, received the Republican nomination for House uncontested.

^

LeDoux, Micciche elected

Absentee and questioned ballots reversed Election Day results for two legislative incumbents. Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, beat primary challenger Aaron Weaver by 117 votes in House District 15 despite allegations of voter fraud.

Even with questionable ballots discarded, LeDoux had more than enough support to win the Republican primary by nearly 15 percentage points.

On Tuesday, elections officials said the possible voter fraud issue has been referred to the Alaska Department of Law, and the issue did not preclude them from certifying the election.

Republican Jake Sloan on Tuesday launched a write-in campaign against LeDoux in the general election. Democratic candidate Lyn Franks will also appear on the ballot.

In the Kenai Peninsula, Senate Majority Leader Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, defeated challenger Ron Gillham by 72 votes out of 5,953 cast in the Republican primary for Senate District O. Gillham led Micciche after Election Day. There is no general election challenger. Barring a write-in campaign against Micciche, he will appear in the next Legislature.

^

Juneau results unchanged

The final tally did not appreciably change the results in Juneau, where Sara Hannan won the primary for House District 33 and Andi Story won the Democratic primary for House District 34.

Story earned 1,549 of the 2,127 votes cast in the HD34 Democratic primary, defeating independent challenger Rob Edwardson by nearly 50 percentage points.

In HD 33, Hannan won 1,872 of 3,147 votes in the Democratic primary, emerging triumphant from a four-way race with 61.9 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Tom Morphet of Haines, took 581 votes, or 19.2 percent. Steve Handy of Douglas received 475 votes, and James Hart of Haines (who withdrew after the official deadline) received 98 votes.

Hannan will face independent candidate Chris Dimond in the general election. Story will face Republican Jerry Nankervis, who won the HD 34 primary uncontested. Nankervis received 1,455 votes among the 1,710 cast in the Republican HD 34 primary. The difference between the two figures is due to voters not casting a vote in the race.

Turnout in House District 34 was 25.75 percent of the 15,218 registered voters. In House District 33, turnout was 28.48 percent of 15,722 registered voters. In both districts, turnout was well above the statewide figure of 20.42 percent.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at jbrooks@juneauempire.com or 523-2258.


Alaska Review Board members sign the certifications of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska Review Board members sign the certifications of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Josie Bahnke, State of Alaska’s Director of Elections, waits as Alaska Review Board members sign the final certifications of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Josie Bahnke, State of Alaska’s Director of Elections, waits as Alaska Review Board members sign the final certifications of the state’s primany election at the state’s election office in downtown Juneau on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 22

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau man indicted on child pornography charges

A Juneau man was indicted Thursday on charges of possessing or accessing… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Local leaders, lawmakers and lobbyists discuss political plans for coming year

Morning meeting looks at local impact of state, national political climates.

This photo shows pills police say were seized after a suspicious package was searched. (Juneau Police Department)
Police: 1,000 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of meth seized

Juneau man arrested on felony charges.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

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

Courtesy Photo / CCFR 
Capital City Fire/Rescue Capt. Anne Wilcock received the Emery Valentine Leadership Award at the 2022 CCFR awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14.
CCFR honors responders during annual banquet

Capital City Fire/Rescue hosted its 2022 awards banquet earlier this month as… Continue reading

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Courtesy Photo / Juneau Police Department 
This photo shows Woodrow Farrell Eagleman who police say after going missing on Jan. 11 was seen leaving town on Jan. 12 via airport surveillance.
Police: Man reported missing took plane out of town

A Juneau man recently reported as missing was found leaving town on… Continue reading

Most Read