Gary Knopp, pictured at the Sept. 30 candidate forum at the Kenai Visitor Center, will represent District 1 on the borough assembly beginning Oct. 19.

Gary Knopp, pictured at the Sept. 30 candidate forum at the Kenai Visitor Center, will represent District 1 on the borough assembly beginning Oct. 19.

Absentee ballots counted; Knopp wins District 1 race

The final tally of Kenai Peninsula Borough-wide votes Tuesday showed Gary Knopp, Brandii Holmdahl and Willy Dunne to be the new borough assembly representatives.

The three emerged as the winners on election night, but the absentee votes had not yet been tallied. Although the absentee voters favored Kenn Carpenter from Seward to beat Holmdahl and David Wartinbee from Kalifornsky Beach to beat Knopp, the overall results did not change.

The borough-wide voter turnout far exceeded the usual non-mayoral year turnout. More than 25 percent of voters came out to vote. In 2013, 20.8 percent of the borough’s registered voters turned out; in 2012, the total was approximately 13.35 percent.

Holmdahl, a corporate quality manager for Icicle Seafoods in Seward, will replace current representative Sue McClure in District 6, which includes the majority of the eastern peninsula and part of Sterling. After absentee votes were tallied, she claimed 53.5 percent of the vote, with Carpenter taking 46.1 percent.

Dunne will represent District 9, a massive district which includes Anchor Point, Diamond Ridge, Fritz Creek and all of the peninsula south of Kachemak Bay. Dunne, a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, will replace representative Mako Haggerty, who reached the term limit. He took 58.5 percent of the vote, while opponent Dawson Slaughter took 41 percent of the vote.

Knopp, who will represent District 1, which includes K-Beach, part of Soldotna and part of Kenai, won by a narrow margin. Wartinbee trailed by four votes. Knopp said he was glad to have a four-way race but was unsure of the outcome until the final count. He said he was pleased with the high turnout.

“I think we tried to emphasize that there were issues,” Knopp said. “If they wanted to have their voice heard with the representative of their choice, I think that’s what brought them out, and people understood that all their votes count.”

On Oct. 19, Knopp will replace current representative Kelly Wolf, who came in third place with 20.25 percent of the total vote. Knopp will return to the borough assembly after having left the legislative body in 2012.

Robin Davis, who came in fourth place in the District 1 race with 19.35 percent of the vote, said he was disappointed but enthusiastically supported Knopp. Davis said that when he first decided to run, he met with Knopp to ask his advice as a former borough assembly representative. At the time, Knopp said he was also planning to run but encouraged Davis to run anyway, Davis said.

“The fact that Gary (Knopp) was saying he wanted another competitor shows that he wants the best person representing the Kenai Peninsula Borough District 1,” Davis said. “If it’s him, great. If it’s someone else, great. He wants the best for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. That says a great deal about the man.”


Reach Elizabeth Earl at

More in News

Courtesy photo / Juneau Raptor Center
This golden eagle was rescued by the Juneau Raptor Center over the summer after being found weak and thin.
Rescue center, birdwatchers look back on 2021

Juneau Christmas bird count was way down this year.

This satellite image taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), shows an undersea volcano eruption at the Pacific nation of Tonga Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (NICT via AP)
Tsunami advisory issued after eruption

An undersea volcano erupted Friday near the South Pacific island of Tonga, triggering concerns of damaging waves across Pacific coastlines

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Multiple public works projects underway in Soldotna

Soldotna City Council received an update on eight different projects

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Hospitalizations rise as state reports increase in COVID cases

There were a total of 112 COVID-related hospitalizations in Alaska as of Friday

Terri Carter’s class celebrates the National Blue Ribbon award after their assembly at Soldotna Montessori Charter School on Friday, Jan 14, 2022. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
A ‘pathway to a brighter and fulfilling future’

Soldotna Montessori Charter School celebrates national achievement

Homer City Council member Rachel Lord discusses her concerns with funding the Alaska Small Business Development Center Homer Business Advisory position during the Jan. 10 council meeting. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Council says ‘yes to small businesses’

Homer City Council votes 4-2 in favor of partially funding the Homer Business Advisory position.

AP Photo / Becky Bohrer
Sightseeing buses and tourists are seen at a pullout popular for taking in views of North America’s tallest peak, Denali, in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, on Aug. 26, 2016.
Bridge proposed along section of slumping Denali park road

Landslides in the area go back decades but usually required maintenance every two to three years

A sign directs voters at Soldotna City Hall on March 5, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Locals to join national voting rights march Saturday

The march in Soldotna is part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna approves $32,000 federal grant for airport

The funds were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act for improvement projects at the Soldotna Municipal Airport

Most Read