The Alaska Supreme Court took little time in deciding to deny an appeal from Fairbanks House District 1 candidate Kathryn Dodge, rejecting her arguments and allowing the one-vote victory of Rep. Bart LeBon stand.
“We have referred the matter to a special master for hearing and reviewed the record of the recount and the arguments of the parties. Based on this review, we affirm the Director’s decision. A full opinion will follow,” wrote the court, referring to the former director of the Division of Elections, Josie Bahnke.
The court on Friday morning heard both lawyers from LeBon and Dodge argue their cases for why they should be declared the winner. The decision came not long after noon.
LeBon was welcomed into the Republican caucus, which now stands at 20, since Republican Gary Knopp of Kenai has decided — for now at least — to remain outside of either the Democrats or Republican-led caucus. The Democrats have 19 in their caucus, including two Republicans.
“Alaska’s Courts should be commended for their attention to detail in this race,” said House Speaker-Elect Rep. Dave Talerico. “The first step in repairing Alaskans’ trust in their government is to ensure that our elections carry the highest level of integrity – down to the very last vote.”
“Alaska’s fiscal future could not be placed in more capable hands,” said Rep. Tammie Wilson of North Pole. “He [LeBon] brings a wealth of financial and educational knowledge at a time when it is so desperately needed, and we’re delighted to have his wisdom and leadership as we work to reduce the deficit.”
LeBon won by one vote after a recount that occurred on Nov. 30 in Juneau. Dodge and her lawyers challenged that result by focusing on a handful of ballots they determined should or should not have been counted. LeBon countered by challenging other ballots that would have benefited his outcome had they been decided on differently by the Division of Elections.
Read the court’s decision here: