• Election results to be certified Sept. 2
By Naomi Klouda
One surprise in the primary election results showed Joe Miller as the favored Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Homer, as well as all other District 31 precincts including Ninilchik, Kasilof and Anchor River.
Miller’s 1,570 votes topped Dan Sullivan’s 1,118, with Mead Treadwell a distant third at 709. Incumbent Sen. Mark Begich topped all of them in the district results, with 1,674 votes. These are the most recent numbers provided by the Division of Elections after counting 17,721 absentee and early voting ballots.
Statewide, the No vote, to rescind SB21, was winning after primary election day, 79,980 to 73,184. By Thursday’s tally, that changed to 91,195 for No and 82,349 for Yes.
Miller had conceded to Republican Dan Sullivan, though their spread of difference was just under 7,000 statewide, according to the tally immediately following the primary. After Thursday’s count, the numbers pushed up to a 8,363 vote spread.
Miller’s campaign director, Randy DeSoto, said Miller made several visits to Homer during his campaign, beginning early in the spring. The Homer/Anchor Point area also had a strong army of volunteers who worked hard, he said.
“I think it was a function of people there believing in him,” DeSoto said.
Local political radio host Chris Story said Homer’s demographic is different from common perception. He wasn’t surprised to see that Miller did well on the lower Kenai Peninsula.
“This part of the Kenai Peninsula is more conservative in make up than you might glean from certain reputations,” Story said. “With its reputation for being anti-business and the high density of art and art galleries, and a more educated population, it may seem more liberal. But we are conservative at our core.”
While Dan Sullivan and Mead Treadwell held a lower profile in this area, Tara Kain, the local leader for Miller’s campaign, said many workers placed signs from Homer and Anchor Point to Kasilof. They organized meet and greets, participated in Homer’s Fourth of July parade, and manned a booth at the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik.
The message of individual freedoms, individual rights and the U.S. Constitution resonated with older and younger volunteers alike, Kain said.
More race results arrived Friday afternoon
The numbers for Primary Election 2014 changed after official results were announced Friday by the Alaska Division of Elections from untallied ballots. Elections counted 17,721 absentee and early votes. Election results are expected to be certified Sept. 2.
U.S. Senator numbers shifted but kept the line-up of earlier election results: Mark Begich, 52,888 votes; Dan Sullivan, 41,393, Joe Miller, 33,030 and Mead Treadwell, 25,726.
In the Governor’s race statewide, Republican Gov. Sean Parnell led at 74,699 votes on Friday, picking up from 65,267 votes after election day. Democrat Byron Mallot’s 34,569 votes grew to 38,869. District voters tallied 2,310 for Parnell and 1,113 for Mallot. Bill Walker, an independent running for governor on a ticket with candidate for lieutenant governor Craig Fleener, will be on the Nov. 4 ballot facing off against Gov. Parnell and Byron Mallot.
In District 31, voters bucked the statewide trend by favoring the Yes vote, 3,161 to 2,571, to rescind SB21.
Primary Election numbers from Aug. 20 for comparison
From the initial count, four precincts in District 31 favored the No vote: Anchor Point, Funny River No. 2, Kasilof and Ninilchik. This remained the same at the end of Friday.
In the nine precincts combined, there were 14,271 registered voters. Of the 4,915 who voted, the best voter turnout was at Kachemak/Fritz Creek at 39.4 percent. After Friday’s DOE count release, the district voter turnout rose to 40.8 percent, with 5,829 ballots counted.
District 31 followed statewide counts in several races. Lower Kenai Peninsula residents voted Republican Rep. Don Young back into office, 1,679, but Anchor Point resident John R. Cox made a good showing with 769 votes. Statewide, Cox took a respectable 13.5 percent of the Republican vote or 11,726, to Young’s 64,445.
Homer resident Frank Vondersaar also came in at a decent 15 percent overall, 7,654 on the Alaska Independent/Democratic/Libertarian ticket. In the district, he took 313 votes.
Votes of those also running in this race: David Seaward, 219; David Dohner, 143; Forest Dunbar, 884; Jim McDermott, 311 and Frank Vondersaar, 313.
Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, running for lieutenant governor, took the majority Republican vote statewide; 70.5 percent of that vote or 60,451.
Meanwhile, on the ADL Party winning candidate, Hollis French, took 61.9 percent or 32,916 votes to the next candidate, Bill Williams’ 13,573 votes. In District 31, Sullivan won 1,853, with French taking 1,038 votes. Others: Kelly Wolf, 885 and Andrew Lee, 213 votes.
In Senate District P, incumbent Sen. Gary Stevens took 2,367 out of 2,367 votes on the Republican ballot while on the ADL ballot, Robert Henrichs garnered 1,094 out of 1,094. Rep. Paul Seaton, running uncontested, won 2,443 votes.
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