On Oct. 3, Mat-Su Valley businessman Mokie Tew had a 20-vote lead against incumbent and Democrat Party-backed Dan Mayfield for the District 5 (Big Lake) seat on the Borough Assembly.
But by Tuesday, with all the absentee votes in, Mayfield pulled ahead by 18 votes, with 695 votes to Tew’s 677.
Tew has until Oct. 17 to ask for a recount, and if not, the election will be certified that night and the Democrats’ candidate will prevail. The percentage difference between the two is 2.6 percent of the vote.
Some 300 miles to the north, Aaron Lojewski, a business owner and conservative, has won his race for the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Seat H, over math professor Leah Berman Williams, who was backed by the Alaska Democrats and unions – powerful special interests in a district that she was sure to win, but didn’t.
Williams did the math and decided not to pay for a recount; she conceded the North Star Borough Seat H race to Lojewski.
Now North Star Borough Mayor Karl W. Kassel, a Democrat and some on the Assembly want to change the rules for recounts, to make the them more lenient.
As the rules stand now, either the loser or 10 concerned citizens must petition for a recount within 24 hours of the election results being announced. They have to give a justification for the recount, and tell the borough what precincts they believe should be looked at again. And then they have to pay for the recount, and in Williams’ case, she said the borough could not give her a hard figure about what the cost would be.
The Fairbanks borough race saw the highest voter turnout since 1996. With commercial marijuana questions on both the borough and city ballots, every conservative candidate lost — except Lojewski.
Democrats were actively making calls to get out the vote, as evidence by this Facebook post by an enthusiastic Ester-area Democrat who said he made phone calls “for the Democrats, as usual”:
Lojewski, Angela Major, and Christopher Quist take their seats on the Assembly on Oct. 30.