Senate Majority Leader Sen. Peter Micciche faced bad results on election day when he trailed “nobody” candidate Ron Gillham by nine votes. That lead evaporated in absentee and by-mail returns, giving Micciche a win on a 72-vote margin.
The victory put Micciche on a clear path to reelection for the Kenai Peninsula senate seat, which Democrats aren’t contesting in the general election. At least that was the case until late last week, when Gillham announced he’ll be mounting a write-in campaign against Micciche.
Gillham made the announcement on Friday on 920 KSRM.
“The reason I decided to stay in the race is because so many people came to me and asked me to do a write-in,” he says in an article posted to the radio station’s website. “I want to let them know their voices were heard. This is for the people, this has never been about me, it’s always been about the people of our district.”
The Facebook page for Gillham’s campaign is peppered with comments supportive of his write-in effort. Gillham clashed with Micciche over the reduction of the PFD to pay for government and Micciche’s vote in favor of the now-controversial criminal justice reform bill Senate Bill 91.
In an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, Micciche focused on the final results of the primary election and said he hoped Gillham would abide by them.
“I am the nominee and the party has made it perfectly clear they are behind me due to the results of the decision by Republican voters,” Micciche said. “I know many have requested that he respect the party process and I hope he’ll reconsider in the coming weeks.”
Micciche isn’t the only incumbent who had a close-call on election day who’ll now be facing a primary challenger.
Like Micciche, Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, R-Anchorage, eked out a victory in a primary that looked bad on election day.
But with a race that’s been clouded by accusations of voter fraud, LeDoux too will now face a write-in challenger by party-backed Republican Jake Sloan. She was nearly beat by Republican Aaron Weaver in the primary, who ultimately stepped aside so Sloan could mount the write-in. That could be good news for Democrats, who are fielding candidate Lyn Franks in the general election.
Sloan has already filed as a write-in candidate with the Division of Elections. Gillham has not. Candidates must file a letter of intent with the Division of Elections five days prior to an election—which will be 5 p.m. Nov. 1 this year—in order to have their write-in votes tallied.