Election recap: Decisions Alaskans made for their future
The world is waking up different today, as the global community reacts to the announcement of president-elect Donald Trump. Locally, residents in Alaska shook things up, too. With nearly 98 percent of precincts performing, 51.57 percent of voters in the state supported a Trump presidency.
Cheers also rang out through the night for local races and issues on the Nov. 8 ballot. Here are some of the highlights.
U.S. Senate race: Winner – Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Called early by large media organizations, Sen. Murkowski was deemed the winner in the race for one of Alaska’s two Senate seats. At this time, polls show her holding 44.05 percent of the vote.
“I am deeply touched by the overwhelming support we’ve seen tonight from all corners of Alaska. Thank you all for your continued belief in my ability to make Alaska a better place,” Murkowski, a Republican, said. “Tonight is not about winning. It is about doing what’s right for Alaska. It’s about service and duty. Serving as your U.S. Senator is a great honor and I am humbled to be chosen to continue in that role.”
She will rejoin fellow Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan in Washington, D.C. and have to reconcile having previously asking Donald Trump to call off his quest for the presidency.
U.S. House of Representatives race: Winner – Rep. Don Young
Just before 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Congressman Don Young’s office sent out a video from the legislator thanking voters for maintaining him as the, “Congressman for all Alaska.”
“We ran a very positive campaign, extremely excited about that, presenting our points of view and how we can help you — the Alaskans — as you request me to do so,” the Republican says in the video. “And I don’t believe you should tear anybody down who runs for this seat. Let’s take it and find out what a person can do for the State of Alaska.”
At this time, Young holds 50.28 percent of votes with the closest challenger — Democratic challenger Steve Lindbeck — at 36.4 percent.
Young said this is his “45th-46th year” representing the state, adding that people who didn’t vote for him will have a chance to next election.
Alaska Senate seats
Senate District B: Winner – John Coghill
This district, encompassing North Pole, Badger and Western Fairbanks had one of the close state Senate races of the night. With all precincts reporting, Republican incumbent John Coghill secured 53.12 percent of the vote compared to opponent Luke Hopkins, a Democrat, who claimed 45.94 percent.
Senate District L: Winner – Natasha Von Imhof
With all votes counted in this Anchorage race, Republican Natasha Von Imhof’s tally topped Democrat Forrest McDonald. Von Imhof is the declared winner with 51.69 percent of the vote.
Senate District N: Winner – Cathy Giessel
In the District N race, Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, beat out independent challenger Vince Beltrami by a three-point spread. The final result was 51.46 percent Giessel to Beltrami’s 48.02 percent of the ballots.
Alaska House of Representatives seats
House District 22
Some say the result in this district is not surprising, with independent Jason Grenn ousting incumbent Rep. Liz Vasquez, R-Anchorage. It was another race that was close as the counts kept coming in during the night ending with Grenn nabbing 46.84 percent of the votes with all precincts reporting. Vazquez trailed with 43.67 percent.
House District 25
However in a district across town, one incumbent held on to her seat, if by the skin of her teeth. Rep. Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, squeaked by Democratic hopeful Pat Higgins by a mere 45 votes.
House District 34
Down in Juneau, Republican Rep. Cathy Munoz lost her place in the House to Justin Parish. Parish, a Democrat, secured 50.93 percent of the vote compared to Munoz’s 48.54 percent.
Munoz has had an embattled time in the media this year, after it surfaced that she wrote letters of support for a man convicted of sex crimes against children.
The numbers aren’t finalized yet, but with 97.7 percent of precincts reporting this morning, it seems Ballot Measure 1 has passed by a large margin and Ballot Measure 2 has failed.
Ballot Measure 1 will tie filing for an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend to voter registration. While some Alaskans have commented that it’s an intrusion from the government, the measure passed with 63 percent of people voting ‘yes’ and 36 percent voting ‘no.’
Conversely, Ballot Measure 2 lost with 56 percent of voters saying no. It would have made it possible to change the Alaska Constitution to allow the state to back bonds issued for student loans — as it does with housing loans for veterans — which could have lowered interest rates for young people.
Many voters were surprised to see so many judges on the ballot, who were there according to state law. As it stands now, all judges have been retained.
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