Leaders hold edge as Friday election results emerge
As ballots continue to trickle in from Anchorage's second vote-by-mail election, the initial returns unveiled Tuesday in contests for three Assembly and two School Board seats appear likely to hold.
In the days since polling closed, neither the city nor Assembly and School Board candidates have made any declarations of the results being final.
Friday's results showed Crystal Kennedy leading Oliver Schiess by 57% to 42%, with a margin of just under 1,500 votes for Eagle River/Chugiak's Assembly Seat A.
Former school board member Kameron Perez-Verdia was leading Liz Vazquez by about 1,300 votes for the Assembly's Seat D in West Anchorage, holding 51%of the vote to Vazquez's nearly 40%. Dustin Darden held almost 9% of the vote.
The seat's previous occupant, Eric Croft, opted not to run for re-election.
Perez-Verdia said Tuesday that he's excited to see the initial result and he's ready to serve his constituents if the results hold.
"I heard from across our district, across the west side that public safety was really the No. 1 issue and that's something that's a high priority for me," he said. "Also, really thinking about the port and housing and then the governor's budget and thinking about how we're going to react to that as a city.
In another three-way Assembly contest for Seat F in Midtown, Meg Zaletel held 53% of the vote — more than opponents Christine Hill and Ron Alleva combined, at 34% and 12% respectively.
Zaletel said Tuesday that she had heard the community's concerns about public safety.
"We have to address crime and we also have to look at homelessness," Zaletel said. "But I also want to make sure that we are really having conversations about how we can connect as neighbors and really build community. I think that's really important and actually has a great affect towards those other issues I mentioned."
Two unopposed Assembly members, Forrest Dunbar in East Anchorage's Seat H and John Weddleton in South Anchorage's Seat J, had each seen more than 800 write-in votes against them but held about 7,800 and 11,400 votes respectively.
In the School Board races, current president Starr Marsett held a commanding lead in her Seat B re-election bid, with 52% of the vote versus challenger David Nees' 38% and Ronald Stafford's 8%.
Marsett said Tuesday that she's optimistic about the results.
"Like I said before, I've won and I've lost," Marsett said. "I definitely like winning more and I'm just not going to assume anything until I know for sure."
Her strategy was to run a positive campaign that was dedicated to community service.
"I didn't hire a campaign manager, but I had so much support from the community and the other campaign that I really didn't need one," she said. "It was a community effort and I am so thankful to everyone."
Margo Bellamy was ahead of Kai Binkley-Sims for the board's Seat A, holding 54% of votes to Binkley Sims' 45%.
"I had the most fabulous team in the universe," Bellamy said. "My campaign was about education, kids and family. We were on the same wavelength. We all thought the same about our community and it worked. It was magical actually."
Copyright 2019 KTVA. All rights reserved.