Editor’s note: This story has been updated to show the correct difference of votes in the District O race between Sen. Peter Micciche and Ron Gillham.
Two, too-close-to-call primary races on the central peninsula have come to an end with official election results released by the Alaska Division of Elections Friday afternoon. For the Senate District O race, incumbent Sen. Peter Micciche won by 72votes. For House District 29, Ben Carpenter won by 12 votes.
After the Aug. 21 election, the Alaska Division of Elections conducted a 10-day count of absentee and questioned ballots. Last Friday, the Alaska Division of Elections said they needed the holiday weekend to wait for more election materials, the Clarion reported last week.
“While the Division’s goal was to certify (results) this weekend, we are working to ensure we give every detail the attention it needs to make sure Alaskans can feel fully confident in our final tally of the results,” said State Elections Director Josie Bahnke in the Aug. 31 Alaska Division of Elections release.
The two central peninsula primary races couldn’t be called until all votes were accounted for.
The morning after the primary election, incumbent Sen. Peter Micciche was only nine votes behind Ron Gillham in the Republican primary race for the Senate seat in District O. With no other contenders for the Senate seat, Micciche will be unchallenged in the Nov. 6 general election.
Micciche has been serving in the Alaska State Senate since 2013 and served as the Senate majority leader this legislative session. He was not immediately available for comment.
Gillham said he was in awe of the way the election came out.
“I thought it was going to be a close election, and it was,” Gillham told the Clarion Tuesday afternoon. “Congratulations to Peter.”
Initial results in House District 29 — which encompasses the northern peninsula, including Nikiski, Hope and Seward — showed Republican candidate Wayne Ogle of Nikiski leading by only three votes over Ben Carpenter, also of Nikiski. Carpenter and Democratic nominee, Shawn Butler of Hope, will vie to fill the seat of Mike Chenault — who was House Speaker for eight years — in November’s general election.
Carpenter said he wanted to thank residents for coming out to vote.
“We’re obviously happy with the results,” he said. “Now we begin the task of communicating the message of our conservative values.”
Carpenter said he hopes to balance the budget, improve security in Alaska’s communities and reduce the cost of government.
“What I heard from people were concerns about security both fiscally and financially,” Carpenter said.
Ogle was not immediately available for comment, but the Juneau Empire reported that Ogle requested a recount earlier in the day Tuesday. Under state law, any race decided by fewer than 20 votes or 0.5 percent of the votes cast is eligible for a state-funded recount. The recount will take place Thursday or Friday, the Empire reported.
On the southern peninsula in House District 31, Sarah Vance defeated John Cox by 100 votes. Vance will face Democratic nominee Paul Seaton in November.