Sen. Peter Micciche received his ticket back to Juneau Tuesday.
Three out of every four voters in Senate District O favored Micciche, R-Soldotna, over his non-affiliated challenger Eric Treider.
With all precincts reporting, Micciche received 77 percent of the votes with 8,134 total. Treider, a Soldotna resident, garnished a total of 2313 votes for 22 percent.
Also Tuesday Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, was elected to Senate District P with 71 percent of the vote over Robert “Moose” Henrichs from Cordova.
Micciche, 52, said he is “pleased and humbled” to receive the support from the district and looks forward to spending more time with people to understand their priorities before he returns for the 29th Legislative session.
“I’ve certainly spent a lot of time and energy reaching out to folks and asking for feedback,” he said. “I’m committed to serving people the way they expect to be served.”
He said his focus in the next legislative session is to tighten the state operating and capital budget.
“We will essentially need to dissect the budget and work to make it sustainable,” he said. “We have the right staff in place and I look forward to a collaborative effort with the house.”
Micciche was first elected to the state Senate in 2012, defeating longtime Republican Sen. Tom Wagoner. Prior to that Micciche served as Soldotna mayor.
Treider, 59, said he jumped into the race not to win a popularity contest, but to challenge his opponent on quality of life issues. He said the results are about what he expected and he is not too disappointed.
“I wanted to be an advocate for folks that don’t have a voice in government,” he said. “My goal was to shine a light on who is running our state and it’s not us.”
Micciche said the other campaign started out negative toward him, but he was able to deal with that constructively and was able to understand Treider’s concerns.
“I appreciate (Treider running) it takes a lot of guts to run at the state level,” Micciche said. “I hope to take time to sit down and discuss his concerns. When good ideas come to light I like to put them in play.”
Treider said if he angered certain special interests he is pleased because that means his message was received.
“I wish Micciche the best and I hope he walks humbly and serves those who need him most,” he said. “Recently the senator began using the slogan, ‘People come before politics.’ I pray that he backs those words with action.”
Micciche said he will stay up into the “wee hours of the morning” to take down campaign signs and keep an eye on the governor race. He said while he favors Gov. Sean Parnell for what he has done for the Kenai Peninsula, he would work well with whomever is elected.
Treider said now that the election is over he will continue to stay involved and monitor the state representatives to make sure they are transparent in their actions.
“I encourage more people to get involved,” he said. “We have so much at stake if we don’t stay vigilant and try to control our destiny, other people will do it for us.”
Voters at the Sterling Community Center favored Micciche because he was the more familiar candidate.
Sterling resident Ernie Wall said he voted for Micciche because he has conservative values and would be the best person to get the state budget in order.
“We have gotten too liberal through the years and our budget is out of control,” Wall said. “We need to get back to our values.”
Sterling residents Rodger and Gloria Ager both voted for Trieder. Gloria Ager said she liked Treider because he would bring a different perspective to the senate that is not focused on big business.
Tom Hubbard, of Sterling, said the main reason he voted for Micciche was for his experience dating back to his days as Soldotna mayor. He said he likes how he makes himself available to the public.
Soldotna resident Brenda Quinn said she voted for Micciche because he is active in the community.
“I know him and worked with him on several projects and he seems to have gone a good job,” Quinn said. “He cares about the community.”
In Nikiski, voters were more familiar with Micciche and what he can do to advance the gas line project.
Sybille Castro said said she has talked to Micciche and thinks he has the right balance of job creation and environment protection for the position.
“I’m all for jobs and prosperity, but not at the cost of wilderness and the whole ideology of what Alaska stands for,” she said. “(Micciche’s) a Republican, but I voted for him because he’s personally good.”
Reach Dan Balmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.