A self-employed general contractor says he will try to unseat East Anchorage House Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux as a Republican write-in candidate.

Jake Sloan, on Tuesday, announced his candidacy shortly before the Division of Elections certified primary races including LeDoux’s, which was marked by absentee ballot irregularities.

“I’m not under any illusions a write-in campaign is going to be difficult and going to definitely be a sprint to the finish line in November,” Sloan said. “I think there is really good potential for a lot of people who would like to see a change.” 

LeDoux says she won't take Sloan for granted.

“You know I’ve met him before, I can’t really say I know  him well," she said. "I take every election and every opponent seriously, so I will just be doing what I always do and reaching out to my voters by continuing to go door to door and talk to my constituents. And the fact that he’s doing a write-in isn’t going to change how I campaign at all.”

LeDoux defeated challenger, Aaron Weaver, with 57 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. She trailed briefly by three votes after the Aug. 21 primary but overtook Weaver once absentee ballots were counted.

Even as LeDoux is a Republican, she’s been crosswise with her party and its chairman Tuckerman Babcock for joining a Democratic-led caucus.

Talks of a write-in candidate began last week when the Division of Elections announced it discovered irregularities with a handful of absentee ballots in LeDoux’s House District 15 race.
The agency reported a high number of absentee ballots were returned as undeliverable; seven absentee ballot applications received for the district came from deceased people.

On Tuesday, the Division of Elections addressed the race when it announced the certified results:

“The division conducted an additional in-depth review of every single absentee ballot cast in House District 15, which led to the discovery and referral of 26 irregular ballots to the Criminal Division of the Department of Law. This number is insufficient to alter the outcome of the election and the division is confident in certifying the result.”

Last week’s discovery prompted Babcock to declare “real corruption going on,” linking the irregularities to LeDoux and a $10,000 consulting contract she had with California resident Charlie Chang.

A day later, Babcock doubled down on his position, steadfastly refusing to acknowledge LeDoux as the party’s choice, even in victory.

Babcock wouldn’t accuse LeDoux of fraud, but said he believed there was “really strong evidence that she’s connected or behind it.”

Weaver, the specter of a fraud probe, helped drive his decision to yield the write-in pursuits to Sloan.

“With the criminal investigation ongoing, it’s going to be one of these situations where I think it would be best to turn the reigns over to Jake and let him carry on,” Weaver said. “Had it been a clean win or a clean loss, certainly I would have a different outlook.”

LeDoux has said she had nothing to do with any of the irregular ballots and hired Chang to help with campaigning in the city’s Hmong community.

Alaska’s Department of Law had no comment on whether it’s investigating the race.

Reporter Liz Raines contributed to this story.

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