Demonstrators hold signs supporting Justin Ruffridge and Jesse Bjorkman for state office on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Demonstrators hold signs supporting Justin Ruffridge and Jesse Bjorkman for state office on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Nov. 8 election results certified

The outcomes of local races for state office remain unchanged

The outcomes of local races for state office remain unchanged following certification of the Nov. 8 general election results by the Alaska Division of Elections on Wednesday.

Justin Ruffridge and Jesse Bjorkman will represent the central Kenai Peninsula in the Alaska House of Representatives and Senate, respectively. Both candidates have held solid leads over their rivals since polls closed on Election Day.

In an upset, Ruffridge unseated incumbent Rep. Ron Gillham to represent State House District 7, which includes Kenai and Soldotna. Election results most recently updated around 2 p.m. on Wednesday show that Ruffridge received 52.6% of votes, compared to Gillham’s 46.5%.

The three-way split of votes between candidates for the State Senate seat that represents the central and northern peninsula meant that the race advanced to ranked choice tabulation, which occurred last week. Once nonpartisan candidate Andy Cizek — the race’s lowest vote-getter — was eliminated, Bjorkman emerged as the winner.

The detailed tabulation report from the Alaska Division of Elections shows that, of the 1,787 votes that Cizek received in the first round of voting, 990 were exhausted, 532 went to Bjorkman and 263 went to candidate Tuckerman Babcock. An additional two ballots were overvoted.

Once Cizek’s votes were redistributed to the remaining candidates, Bjorkman emerged as the winner, having secured 53.56% of votes cast. That’s compared to Babcock’s 46.44% of votes cast.

Incumbents Gov. Mike Dunleavy, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola all won reelection in their respective races.

Election results and detailed tabulation reports can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov/election-results.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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