Absentee votes clinch Kenai, Soldotna council races

Absentee ballots confirmed the leads two Kenai and Soldotna City Council candidates had following the Oct. 6 election, and solidified wins for others.

Soldotna City Council incumbent Linda Murphy will retain her seat, a 3-year term.

When the polls closed the night of Oct. 6, Murphy was leading the race with 265 votes. Her challenger, Office of Emergency Management Program Coordinator Dan Nelson, only trailed by 11 votes.

With the inclusion of absentee ballots, Murphy pulled ahead with 328 votes to Nelson’s 286.

“I was really happy to have someone like Dan (Nelson) running against me because I know no matter what voters did at the ballot box that the city would be in good hands,” Murphy said.

During her next term, Murphy plans to focus on the marijuana industry and how it will eventually develop in the Kenai Peninsula Borough and in Soldotna. She favors an initial ban or restriction on its sale and manufacturing within city limits until its implications can be thoroughly measured, she said.

“I want to see how it works out in other cities before we jump on that bandwagon,” Murphy said.

Nelson, who is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, said the one thing he and Murphy really disagreed on was marijuana.

“I am still in favor of taking a very good look at forming the regulations,” he said. “I hope to still be involved in that discussion.”

Incumbent Paul Whitney also retained his 3-year council seat, collecting a total of 400 votes after absentee ballots were counted, compared to opponent Fred Sturman’s total of 247.

In Kenai, incumbent Bob Molloy retained his 3-year seat on the City Council with a total of 544, or more than 38 percent of the votes, after absentee ballots were counted.

When the polls closed after the election, Mike Boyle was ahead of Jim Glendening, though the pair were separated by only 31 votes. With the inclusion of absentee ballots, Boyle won the remaining seat left open by Ryan Marquis with 434, or almost 32 percent, of the votes, compared to Glendening’s 417 votes.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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