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 elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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

Trees with fall colors populate the Shqui Tsatnu Creek gully as seen from Fourth Avenue on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai to use $770k in grants to remove hazard trees along Shqui Tsatnu Creek

The money will be used to mitigate hazards caused by dead and dying spruce trees over more than 100 acres of city land

Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, is shown seated on the House floor on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Alaska judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge Jack McKenna on Thursday ordered elections officials to delay certifying the result of that particular race

An image purportedly from the computer screen of a digital media specialist for Gov. Mike Dunleavy shows numerous files and folders of campaign advertising. A complaint filed against the governor, plus other individuals and organizations, claims administrative staff is illegally doing paid campaign work on behalf of the governor. (Screenshot from complaint filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission)
Dunleavy faces more accusations in campaign complaint

Governor calls it “specious and unfounded.”

A recent photo of Anesha "Duffy" Murnane, missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
A 2019 photo of Anesha “Duffy” Murnane, who went missing since Oct. 17, 2019, in Homer. (Photo provided, Homer Police Department)
Calderwood indicted for murder

Indictment charges man accused of killing Anesha “Duffy” Murnane with first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20 of that year. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai council gives Triumvirate more time to build theater

The Kenai City Council voted last summer to conditionally donate a 2-acre parcel of city land near Daubenspeck Park and the Kenai Walmart

Leaves fall at the Kenai Senior Center on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Senior Center makes plans for $715,000 endowment

The money comes from the Tamara Diane Cone Testamentary Trust

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
On Thursday morning at what police described as an active crime scene, JPD Officer Austin Thomas and Officer Taylor Davis walk the fielded area which was blocked off by crime scene tape. Multiple tents and a police vehicle sat in the field where the tape surrounded, another police vehicle sat in a dirt parking area.
No arrests made as Juneau death investigation continues

Shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday that a woman’s body was found

Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Damage from the remnants of typhoon Merbok can be seen in Golovin, Alaska, on Sept. 20, 2022. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration for areas in western Alaska affected by the storm. (Photo by Jeremy Cubas/Office of the Governor)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

About 21,000 people living along a 1,000-mile stretch of Alaska’s western coast were affected by the storm

Camille Broussard testifies in support of an advisory planning commission in Nikiski during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly approves advisory planning commission for Nikiski

The commission area as petitioned and approved covers just over 3.5 million acres

Most Read