A sign directing voters to the polls stands outside Soldotna City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

A sign directing voters to the polls stands outside Soldotna City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Bjorkman, Cox, Johnson lead early returns

Voters decide on Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members.

Voters weighed in on three Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly seats Tuesday.

Three candidates ran for the District 3 seat to represent Nikiski: John Quick, Jesse Bjorkman and Joseph Ross. After results were tallied, Bjorkman looked to be the unofficial winner Tuesday night.

In a written statement to the Clarion, Bjorkman thanked the people of Nikiski and those who supported his campaign and encouraged voters to continue to stay involved in local government.

“Together, we’re going to take it one day at a time to do what’s right for the working people of Nikiski and our Borough,” he said.

Roger Long of Nikiski said that he voted for Bjorkman because of his age and the way he answered questions during meetings with the public.

“I like that he’s a little younger, and he seemed to be a little more straightforward with his answers than the other candidates,” Long said.

Erich DeLand — who was himself a candidate for a seat on the Nikiski Service Area Board — said that he voted for Quick because he felt like Quick was “Kavanaugh-ed” during the campaign and was treated unfairly by the press, referring to the scrutiny that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh received during his nomination process last year. Quick is under investigation by the Alaska Public Office Commission for his alleged involvement with a political action group, Alaska Yes, that supported his campaign.

Wayne Walton said that he voted for Bjorkman after meeting and speaking with the candidate at a campaign event. Walton added that he was “suspicious” of Quick because he hasn’t been a Nikiski resident for very long and seemed to have spent a lot of money on campaign advertisements.

Running for the District 4 seat to represent Soldotna were Tyson Cox and Rose Henry. Cox was declared the unofficial winner on Tuesday night.

“I’m very proud to have run a positive campaign,” Cox said on Tuesday night. “And it shows that people are in support of someone who runs a positive campaign and someone who has the experience even if it’s not experience on the assembly. I also think that me having school-aged children had a big impact, and people felt like that was important when deciding who they wanted to serve on the assembly.”

On Tuesday, Henry and her supporters stood at the “Y” in Soldotna where the Sterling Highway meets the Kenai Spur Highway, holding signs in support of her campaign and that of District 7 candidate Holly Odd.

“I feel great,” Henry said as she stood on the sidewalk waving to traffic. “It’s Election Day and everyone is honking and giving us thumbs up. I want to see everyone else get out and vote.”

Hannah Dolphin said that she voted for Tyson Cox because he supports education.

Lyn Kennedy said that both candidates are nice people, but her decision came down to who showed up to the public forums.

“One seems to have been missing from some of the public questioning periods so it made the choice kind of easy in my mind,” Kennedy said, although she did not specify for whom she voted.

In the race for the District 7 seat representing the Central Peninsula, Brent Johnson and Holly Odd ran against each other, with Johnson emerging as the unofficial winner Tuesday night.

“Thank you voters,” Johnson said Tuesday night after learning that he had won. “I’m honored to be chosen again, and I look forward to serving the entire borough.”

Kasilof resident Linda Wright said that she voted for Johnson.

“Just ‘cause he’s been there forever and I know him,” Wright said. “I don’t know Holly all that much. He’s a fisherman and I’m a retired fisherman. She might have done well, but I just stuck with the old.”

MaryAnn Dyke of Kasilof also voted for Johnson. She said she knows Johnson and thinks that he’s the right person for the job.

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