Charlie Pierce speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates last month. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Charlie Pierce speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates last month. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Pierce, Hutchings headed to runoff

Charlie Pierce and Linda Hutchings are headed to a runoff election in the race for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, according to unofficial results of Tuesday’s election.

Not counting absentee ballots, Pierce emerged in the lead after the polls closed Tuesday night, leading Hutchings and Dale Bagley for the seat. The unofficial rsults show Pierce taking about 39 percent of the vote, Hutchings with about 31 percent and Bagley with about 28 percent.

The runoff election will be Oct. 24.

Hutchings carried the majority in the city of Homer and the surrounding areas, while Pierce carried most of the central peninsula and the unincorporated communities. Bagley carried Soldotna, Seldovia and Seward and a few other areas.

Under borough code, the winner of the mayoral race has to receive at least 50 percent of the popular vote to win outright. Otherwise, the two top candidates will face off in a runoff election.

The winner of the runoff election will replace outgoing mayor Mike Navarre, who reached the two-term limit this fall. Navarre has been mayor since 2011 and previously served as borough mayor from 1996–1999.

Pierce said he was hoping to win more than 50 percent of the vote and avoid a runoff, but was happy with the support he’d received throughout the race. He said he was ready for a runoff.

“I’m very, very committed and my team is very, very committed to go out and to talk about the issues and to bring some focus to this election,” he said. “A lot of folks got out and voiced their wills tonight and that’s one of the wonderful things that we should never take for granted, the ability to vote.”

Bagley said he was still waiting for the absentee votes to be counted but that it wasn’t likely to make too much of a difference. A current member of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, he still has two years on his term representing District 4 and said there is still work to do.

Hutchings couldn’t be reached Tuesday night.

Kenai voter Greg Daniels said the borough mayoral race was the most important for him — he voted for Dale Bagley, he said.

“Charlie Pierce is a little too conservative, and Hutchings doesn’t have much experience, “ he said. “…Dale Bagley has been there twice — he knows how to run things. I think I lean toward experience, and I’m somewhat moderate.”

Political experience was also a factor for Kenai voter Arnold Wagaman, but in the opposite way.

“Dale Bagley had it once — let’s see what the other guy can do,” Wagaman said. “… I know he (Charlie Pierce) has good management skills, otherwise he wouldn’t be with the gas company. It’s one thing to have good ideas, but it’s another to be able to manage.”

Assembly President Kelly Cooper said she hoped the race would come out clear and avoid the cost of a runoff.

“If we have a runoff in the mayoral race, that’s a lot of money we have to spend — (about) $95,000,” she said.

Homer resident Floyd Seekins chose Pierce for borough mayor, citing his conservative values as well. He said he’s confident Pierce will be able to tackle the borough’s issues and come up with solutions for them.

Homer-area resident Elizabeth Harms chose Charlie Pierce for borough mayor, saying she’s liked what he’s had to say. She said there was a good slate of mayoral candidates this year.

“I thought there were enough choices,” she said. “May the best man (or) woman win.”

Clarion reporter Ben Boettger and Homer News reporters Michael Armstrong and Megan Pacer contributed reporting. Reach Elizabeth Earl at

Linda Hutchings speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates last month. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Linda Hutchings speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates last month. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read