After counting over 2,000 absentee and questioned ballots, Assembly Member Vern Halter has won the race for Mat-Su Borough Mayor, and Randall Kowalke has overtaken opponent Doyle Holmes in the race for Mat-Su Borough Assembly District 7. KTNA’s Phillip Manning has more:
In the Mat-Su Borough mayoral contest, challenger Vern Halter significantly expanded his lead over incumbent Larry DeVilbiss. Before absentee and questioned ballots, Halter held a 189-vote-lead. Monday’s count shows Halter with a 451-vote-lead. Halter carried the Susitna Valley handily, and says those votes are what helped put him over the top.
“We’re very pleased. [I] want to thank the voters, especially in Talkeetna and around that area–Trapper Creek, Susitna—because that really carried the day.”
Mayor Larry DeVilbiss says he is “done” with this election and will not ask for a recount. He says he is not surprised that Halter’s lead held, and does not currently plan to run for public office again.
“You know, I don’t have any plans, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to keep an eye on things, and as long as the Mat-Su Borough doesn’t infringe on my lifestyle I’ll probably be happy.”
In the race for District 7’s borough assembly seat, Monday’s results saw Randall Kowalke overtake opponent Doyle Holmes. Before the absentee and questioned ballots were counted, former assembly member Holmes held a fifty-two-vote lead on Kowalke. According to the results posted early Monday afternoon, Kowalke received a significant boost from absentee ballots, and now leads Holmes by thirty-three votes.
Doyle Holmes says he would like to wait before commenting to KTNA on the outcome of the election. In an interview with the Alaska Dispatch News, however, he is quoted as saying that anyone who believes he lost by thirty-three votes “has got to believe in the Tooth Fairy.” As of Monday evening’s deadline, there was no word on a recount request or legal challenge by Holmes’ campaign. Kowalke says he believes the process was carried out fairly.
“I had folks down there on and off during that process, and it was really meticulous, so it took the time that it took to get it done properly.”
Monday’s results are still considered unofficial. The Mat-Su Borough Assembly is scheduled to certify the election at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.