The Fairbanks North Star Borough has a new mayor-elect: Bryce Ward, who had 51 percent last night, likely preventing a runoff.
He was the conservative candidate in a four-way race and had the endorsement of current Mayor Karl Kassel, but surprisingly he was also supported by leftist writer Dermot Cole.
Ward was born and raised in Fairbanks and has been the mayor of North Pole for six years.
Ward won with 7,086 votes, while former assembly member Nadine Winters, who is the current borough chief of staff, came in second with 3,318 votes. Assembly member Christopher Quist took 2,351 votes and Robert Shields had 885.
The Assembly, however, listed left, although there were indications that three-way races could see progressives splitting the liberal votes.
Marna Sanford was leading conservative Sam Tuck with a race that may be too close to call — 49.8 to 49.31 percent.
Liz Lynke won a three-way with 43 percent to Jeff Rentzell’s 36 percent and youthful Blaze Brooks scooping 18 percent.
Progressive Leah Berman Williams won over conservative Hank Bartos and moderate Michael Holland, 49-39-12.
A local pundit offered that the pro-marijuana progressives continue their hold on local politics in the Fairbanks Borough.
The ballot initiatives went as recommended by conservatives, however.
Voters said no to large bonding proposals and setting aside the tax cap so the borough could fund deferred maintenance. They approved the biannual tax cap, and voted to remove the wood stove-air quality regulatory authority from the Borough, and turn it over to the State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, since the local community has not been able to solve the air quality problem and banning wood burning in the winter time would likely cause an insurrection.
With a 47 percent turnout, Joshua Verhagen won 82 percent of the vote for mayor. Verhagen is a Nenana Assembly member and his opponent pulled out of campaigning. Nenana is home to 400 people and is 55 miles south of Fairbanks.
Michael Welch was the preferred conservative candidate for North Pole Mayor. It looks like he may have won, but only held a 15-vote lead late Tuesday night. Only 275 people voted in North Pole, plus absentee ballots that have yet to come in.
Proposition C passed. It embeds the ban on the marijuana industry in the city’s charter, which makes it more permanent.
(This story is based on results from Election night and some results could change with absentee votes.)