Wythe edges Zak to take over as Homer’s new mayor

• Haggerty retains borough assembly seat
By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

After factoring in 131 absentee and question ballots, the City of Homer election shifted slightly, raising the voter turn-out from a dismal 18 percent to 21 percent.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough voter turnout was even lower than city races, at 15 percent. Nearly 1,000 absentee and question ballots, counted Monday, didn’t shift the race. Mako Haggerty beat Jesse Clutts by a large margin, 536-321. A short 10 votes separated Liz Downing and Mike Illg in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board race. Downing had 524 votes to Illg’s 414 count.
The Homer City Clerk’s office reported 111 of the 131 question ballots were counted by the Canvas Board on Friday. Voters in Homer overwhelmingly favored Homer City Council member Beth Wythe by 59 percent to become Homer’s new mayor. Wythe, the longest serving city council member, was first elected to office in 2004.
Councilman Bryan Zak, the director of Small Business Development Center for the Southcentral Region and a city councilman since 2008, made a good showing with 354 votes to Wythe’s 530.
The Homer City Council race gave voters a choice of three people for two council seats, incumbents Francie Roberts and Beau Burgess, with challenger James Dolma. All gained a good share of the 809 voters who turned out to cast ballots, but Roberts proved the favorite at 630 votes.
Burgess, a newcomer to the council since his appointment in April, retained his seat by 472 votes to Dolma’s 429, making that another tight squeeze. That gap likely could make a difference in a third city council seat now open, left vacant for Wythe to assume her role of mayor. The council could decide to appoint Dolma, but first would go through an application process open to the public. The council would then be charged with making an appointment to fill Wythe’s seat for one year, the remainder of her term.
Wythe expressed happiness at her win and readiness to get to work. She felt a broad cross section of voters turned out in her favor and didn’t look to any particular block as her backers.
“Now is when the work begins,” she said. “I don’t think it was related to any single issue of what is going on. It’s just generally the support of the community.”
The election results became official at Monday night’s Homer City Council meeting. New members are sworn in on Monday at a special city council meeting. Outgoing mayor, Jim Hornaday, will also be honored at the meeting.
The Southern Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Board Area voters placed Ryan Ridge in Seat G, Christine Griffard in Seat B and Jacque Lenew in Seat A. Each of those seats went unchallenged.

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Posted by on Oct 10th, 2012 and filed under More News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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