Olson defeats Thornton in District 30 race

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 12:56am
  • News

Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna has been re-elected for a sixth term in the Alaska State House.

Representing District 30, Olson received 3,869 votes, winning 74 percent in six out of six reporting precincts on Tuesday’s general election.

Olson’s opponent, Democratic candidate Shauna Thornton, received 1,352 votes, winning 25 percent.

Olson said he commended Thornton for her positive, first-time campaigning.

“We ran one of the cleanest races in the state,” Olson said. “We both ran on the issues and there was little negative advertising.”

Olson considers his progressive advocacy for workers compensation to be his biggest achievement from his years in Juneau, he said in a previous Clarion interview. He said he wanted to return and tie up some loose ends left over from the last session.

During his next term Olson said he predicts local developments in the oil and gas industry with the pending Alaska LNG project, and the pressure of revenue cuts will be two of the biggest issues the house will be faced with.

Olson and Thornton both went on foot during their campaigns, knocking on doors and talking to central Kenai Peninsula residents in their own homes.

Soldotna resident Brenda Quinn said her vote went to Olson because of his many years of experience advocating for Kenai and Soldotna.

Olson has proved himself worthy of the Republican vote, said Kenai resident Mark Weiss.

Kenai resident Rentlek Sarrif, said Olson halts bad policy before it can move forward in the House, and supports bills that are positive for the Central Kenai Peninsula.

Kenai resident Wendy Olsen said she supports Olson because his political views match up closely with her own.

It was difficult running as the challenger to an incumbent, Thornton said in a previous Clarion interview. She chose to campaign up until the evening of the election.

“I will be on the corner (of Main Street and the Kenai Spur Highway) in Kenai all day until 6 p.m.,” Thornton said, referring to the corner.

Soldotna resident Felissa Welch said she voted for Shauna Thornton based on her character. Thornton seems to be a nice, genuine person and easy to talk to.

Welch said she met Thornton while she was campaigning on the street in person only days before the election and decided to support her. Welch said she chooses politicians based on their character and beliefs.

Ann Hall was a co-worker of Thornton’s at the Kenai Peninsula College for many years.

“Shauna has always been dedicated to getting the job done,” Hall said. “She has always advocated for the people.”

Kenai resident Colleen Nusbaum said Thornton is not a typical politician. Thornton is level headed and understands the community’s needs, she said.

Thornton said next time around she will do ten times more on-foot campaigning than she did during this year’s race.

“We’re just going to come back next time harder and faster, and bigger and better,” Thornton said. “(I will be running for the) same race, same seat same everything. I am not going away.”

After his own results came in, Olson said he would most likely be up until 4 a.m. following the gunbernatorial and national elections that will have an impact on Alaska.

“That’s what happens when you are a political junky,” Olson said. “You never get enough.”


Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.


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