Borough mayor’s race too close to call

Tuesday’s unofficial Matanuska Susitna Borough election results held few surprises, although at least one race is too close to call at this time.  As of 10:30 pm Tuesday, results posted on the Borough’s website indicate that incumbent Borough mayor Larry DeVilbiss and challenger Vern Halter are separated by about 65 votes , although more than 16 hundred absentee and over 200 questioned ballots will no doubt determine the outcome of the Borough mayor’s race.

DeVilbiss, said Tuesday night, that he was not going to lose any sleep over it.

“Well, I’m tired and I plan to go home and get a good night’s sleep. We won’t know this one for a couple of week’s probably.” 

Halter, who is finishing his second term on the Borough Assembly and eyeing the Borough mayor’s post, could not be reached for comment.

While campaigning, Halter gained strong financial support from labor unions, although DeVilbiss was endorsed by the Valley’s state legislative delegation. Halter raised more than 54 thousand dollars for his campaign, about two times the amount DeVilbiss had in his campaign chest.

The Borough’s canvass board meets Wednesday to start counting absentee and questioned ballots. The deadline to receive absentee ballots is Friday.

Voter turnout was light in the Valley, with 13 point 3 percent at the polls.. Of the 64, 571 registered voters in the Borough, 8,646 cast ballots.

Mat Su voters also decided on three Borough Assembly seats on Tuesday.

In the District 6 race, Barbara Doty bested challenger Bob Doyle with 597 votes compared with Doyle’s 466. Doyle Holmes won the District 7 Assembly seat over Randall Kowalke, and in District 3, George McKee beat challenger Maria Serrano.

Mat Su voters resoundingly turned down a ballot proposition that would have moved the Borough election day back a month to November. But a proposition to restrict school board candidates to election by district gained overwhelming voter approval.

Election results remain unofficial until certification on October 20.

The cities of Palmer, Wasilla and Houston held elections of their own on Tuesday.  Unofficial results show that In Palmer, city voters selected two new City Council seats out of five candidates on Tuesday. Pete LaFrance took over 38 percent of the votes cast, but Kenni Linden and Richard Best are tied with 17. 1 percent of the vote each.

Thirty – seven questioned Palmer ballots remain to be counted when the city canvass board meets on Friday. What is certain is that Palmer voters overwhelmingly supported a city ban on marijuana retail businesses, cultivation or manufacturing facilities with 54.5 percent of the total votes cast in favor of Palmer Proposition One. The ban does not include industrial hemp.

Houston voters decided on two city council seats. Lance Wilson ran unopposed for Seat D, while Chris Johnson bested nearest challenger Dawnita Brunswick for Seat C with 37 percent of the vote. Houston’s Proposition one, which is a duplicate of the Palmer anti marijuana ordinance, failed to gain city voter approval, with 131 No votes and 110 ballots in favor of the pot ban. Houston voters also turned down city Proposition 2, which would have set a one percent increase on sales taxes starting January 1, 2016.

Houston’s canvass board meets on Friday.

In Wasilla, city voters elected two city council seats. Dave Wilson ran unopposed for Seat A. Seat B was won by Tim Burney with 304 votes over challenger Alvah Buswell the third’s count of 176 votes.

Wasilla voters also turned down city proposition one, which would have kept city sales tax at 3 percent after money for a new city library is raised.  It seems Wasilla voters want the sales tax reduced to 2 percent after the libarary money is raised.

Matanuska Susitna Borough voters also approved a ballot proposition limiting Borough school board candidates by district.  Mat Su Borough voters have voted to support Borough proposition one, which would restrict school board members to a single Borough Assembly district. At present, school board candidates are elected at large. The proposition would have school board candidates elected by districts coinciding with Assembly districts.

Unofficial election results show that Borough voters approved proposition one with 5587 votes, opposed to 2668 votes against the measure.

Tuesday’s election results show that Deborah Retherford and Sarah Welton won seats A and B. Both those candidates ran unopposed. School Board seat E was won by Kelsey Trimmer, with 3559 votes over challenger Wade Long’s 3272 votes.

Election results remain unofficial until certification on October 20th.





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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen