Knopp, Holmdahl, Dunne win assembly seats

  • By ELIZABETH EARL and MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
  • Wednesday, October 7, 2015 12:25am
  • News

The borough assembly will see three new faces beginning Oct. 19.

After a four-way race for the borough assembly seat in District 1, Gary Knopp emerged as the leader Tuesday night with all precincts reporting, but absentee ballots still to be counted.

Three seats in the borough assembly were up for election this cycle. While two incumbents were leaving, District 1’s incumbent ran against three hopefuls while the other two races saw two candidates each.

Knopp will return to the District 1 assembly seat after leaving it in 2012. A nearly 40-year Alaska resident, Knopp initially served on the assembly from 2006-2012. He ran again because several upcoming issues are important to him, he said.

Tuesday found Knopp “pushing dirt” — Knopp is an independent contractor by trade. Knopp’s main campaign tactic was to send out letters to every constituent explaining his positions and his reasons for running. Many older voters knew him from his previous election, he said.

Reached Tuesday night, Knopp said he was glad the race was so competitive between the four candidates and that he was glad all four decided to run.

“I was extremely happy that we had a race,” Knopp said. “It was a hard race to gauge because all the candidates ran a really good campaign, and most races I guess we have a better feel for. This one here I couldn’t begin to guess.”

Wartinbee said that although he was disappointed in the loss as of Tuesday night, he would be watching for the absentee votes to be counted. He also said that if anyone were to beat him, he was glad it was Knopp.

“Obviously, if you’re in the race and you don’t win, you’re disappointed,” Wartinbee said. “But if somebody’s gotta beat me, I told Gary ‘I hope it’s you.’ Gary’s a good guy, and he’ll do a good job.”

Two other races on the peninsula saw newcomers introduced to the borough assembly. Representatives Sue McClure from Seward and Mako Haggerty from Homer reached the two-term limit and will be succeeded by Brandii Holmdahl and Willy Dunne, respectively.

Holmdahl is originally from Soldotna and has also lived in Nikiski and Sterling. She is currently a corporate quality operations manager at Icicle Seafoods in Seward and the mother of three teenagers.

She ran against Kenn Carpenter, a procurement officer for AVTEC and 10-year Seward resident. She said she intends to better represent the voice of the east side of the Kenai Peninsula on the assembly. The voter turnout was relatively high for her district — nearly 34 percent in Seward/Lowell Point and nearly 20 percent in Cooper Landing — and she said she was impressed by it.

“I think Kenn did really well getting his name out there, and I think it was pretty close,” Holmdahl said. “I was really impressed with the voter turnout for how small of an election it was, with it just being an assembly election mostly.”

In the District 9 race between two political novices, Willy Dunne, 60, handily defeated Dawson Slaughter, 25, with 56.26 percent to 43.51 percent in unofficial results. Dunne, of Fritz Creek, led in all precincts except Slaughter’s home town of Anchor Point, where Slaughter won with 68.56 percent.

While new to elected office, Dunne has served on boards and commissions and as a 28-year Homer resident is widely known. He credited his election to that experience. Dunne also said he thought his message resonated better with voters.

“I feel like I was much more willing to listen and compromise with diverse groups and he was much more rigid with his opinions,” Dunne said.

Slaughter said while he and Dunne differed on many issues, they also agreed on some.

“For him (Dunne) representing this district, I do want to talk to him,” Slaughter said. “I look forward to a good relationship … I wish him the best of luck.”

Slaughter overcame a teenage battle with multiple sclerosis and said earlier a positive attitude helped him overcome that. That attitude carried through into his campaign.

“It was a good run. We didn’t get the numbers, but that’s OK,” Slaughter said. “It’s not always going to go the way you want to. I think the numbers I did get for running my first campaign and my age, it was a good run.”

Dunne said he tried to reach out to the diverse precincts of the 3,400-square mile District 9.

“I contacted folks across the bay and in Nanwalek,” Dunne said. “I had support in Seldovia and Nanwalek. I had campaign signs all the way from Anchor Point to the end of East End Road. I seemed to have pretty wide support from all the precincts, all the communities.”

Slaughter called his campaign a learning experience.

“I’m not discouraged at all,” he said. “It was super fun. I got to meet a lot of good people.”

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com. Reach Michael Armstrong at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read