Less than three-tenths of a percentage point separate U.S. Senate candidates Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka after the Alaska Division of Elections updated Tuesday the results of the Nov. 8 general election with newly counted absentee, early and question ballots.
The update included new ballots from more than 10 State House districts, including districts 7 and 8, which cover the northern Kenai Peninsula.
In the race for U.S. Senate, challenger Tshibaka’s lead is less than three-tenths of a percentage point over incumbent Murkowski after Wednesday’s update. Tshibaka has so far received about 43.3% of the roughly 240,000 votes counted so far. That’s compared to Murkowski, who has received about 43.1% of votes. Both candidates are Republicans.
Democratic candidate Pat Chesbro has received about 10% of all votes cast, followed by Republican candidate Buzz Kelley, who suspended his campaign earlier this year.
In the race for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, Democratic incumbent Mary Peltola still holds a solid lead over other candidates.
As of about 6 p.m. Tuesday, Peltola has received about 48.1% of the more than 240,000 votes counted so far. She is followed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has received about 26.1% of votes, Nick Begich III, who received about 23.8% of votes, and Chris Bye, who received about 1.7% of votes.
In the race for governor, incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy maintained his lead over other candidates Wednesday.
Dunleavy, running with Nancy Dahlstrom, has received about 51% of the more than 241,000 votes cast. Trailing are Democratic candidate Les Gara, with about 23.8% of votes, and former Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, with about 20.4% of votes. Former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce has received about 4.5% of votes.
Locally, leading candidates saw modest gains after Wednesday’s round of updates, which included some Kenai Peninsula Borough votes.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Jesse Bjorkman still holds a solid lead over Tuckerman Babcock in the race for State Senate District D, which includes the northern Kenai Peninsula including Kenai and Soldotna. Of the more than 13,800 votes counted so far, Bjorkman has received about 46.2% of votes, as compared to Babcock, who has received about 42% of votes.
A third candidate, nonpartisan Andy Cizek, also ran for the seat. He received about 11.2% of votes cast. Under ranked choice voting, if neither Bjorkman nor Babcock have received more than 50% of all votes cast on Nov. 23, when the Alaska Division of Elections plans to have all votes counted, Cizek will be eliminated from the race and his votes will be redistributed to the two other candidates.
In the race for the Alaska State House seat that includes Kenai and Soldotna, Soldotna City Council member Justin Ruffridge retained his lead over incumbent Rep. Ron Gillham. Both candidates are Republicans. Of the more than 6,700 votes already counted, Ruffridge has received about 52.7% of votes. Gillham has received about 46.5% of votes.
Nov. 29 is the target date for the State Review Board to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election, according to the Alaska Division of Elections. The state on Nov. 23 will determine whether any candidate received more than 50% of the vote. If not, ranked choice tabulation will begin.
Preliminary election results can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.