The Mat-Su Borough has released updated election results for the October 6th elections. The new numbers show Vern Halter winning the Mat-su mayor’s race over incumbent Larry Devilbiss by 451 votes or a 49.1% to 46.9% margin.
Since election night Vern Halter had held a tight 189 vote lead in the race. Today the borough clerk’s office and canvassing board counted absentee/special needs and question ballots. Halter won both categories, taking question ballots 275-238 and absentee/special needs ballots 868-643.
The absentee/special needs number is surprising in that Alaska Republican Party Chairman Emeritas Randy Ruedrich places a premium on winning absentees. For the conservative candidate, in this case Devilbiss, to lose the absentee count by 15 percent is significant.
The inability to win the absentee vote also cost conservatives an assembly seat. Randy Kowalke trailed conservative Doyle Holmes by 52 votes on election night, but Kowalke took absentees by a 187-108 margin. That along with a 6 vote margin in the question ballots lead Kowalke to win by just 33 votes.
The borough results mean Democrat and union backed candidates have now won the six largest executive elections in the state, including those for Governor and mayor in Anchorage, Fairbanks-North Star Borough, Juneau Borough, Mat-Su Borough, and Kenai Borough.