PALMER — Wasilla will be getting a couple of new city council members, Palmer voters chose to end smoking in city bars and Mat-Su Borough voters stuck with the status quo when they had an incumbent to pick, according to unofficial results in Tuesday’s elections.
City of Houston
The borough’s smallest city was also the quickest to count all of its outstanding votes, so this is the one where the results are closest to official.
Two seats on the city council were up this year and in both instances voters preferred incumbents. Alma Hartley beat Ron Gaffney 87 to 79 and Raymond Weaver lost to Lance Wilson 76 to 89.
City of Palmer
Three candidates were vying for two seats on Palmer City Council. There were two incumbents in the race — Ken Erbey and Richard Best — and both won seats, taking in 322 and 331 votes respectively to challenger Elden Tritch’s 134.
But probably the most exciting part of that ballot was the anti-smoking ordinance, which seemed to have taken in 54 percent of the vote with 376 choosing “yes” and 310 voting “no.”
The city still has 101 ballots that haven’t been counted, so that result has the potential to change. The city’s canvass board meets today to count those votes.
City of Wasilla
If unofficial results hold — and the 135 outstanding early, absentee and questioned ballots could swing this race — councilwoman Taffina Katkus seemed headed for defeat Tuesday night. She had 294 votes, but challenger Steven Lovell held 345, according to results posted to the city’s website.
Clark Buswell and Brandon Wall also were running in this election, but neither had a challenger on the ballot and both won by margins greater than the outstanding vote total.
Like Palmer, Wasilla plans to release a final tally including its outstanding votes on Friday.
Borough Mayor Larry DeVilbiss faced a challenge from former borough planning commissioner Mark Masteller.
By Thursday, with all ballots apparently counted, DeVilbiss leads Masteller 5,566 to 3,722.
Also up for election was assemblyman Ron Arvin, who as of Thursday was still leading Michelle Church with votes split 762 to 583.
Vern Halter and Jim Colver didn’t draw challengers in this year’s election and both easily won.
Also on the ballot, voters overwhelmingly chose to give a property tax break to senior citizens and disabled veterans, and Willow voters decided not to raise their own property taxes, voting 192-110 against a measure that would have paid all the increased revenue to the fire department.
Mat-Su Borough School Board
Two seats were up for election and voters seemed satisfied with the only incumbent. Sarah Welton had a thousand votes on challenger Heather Fussell, whom she led 4,571 to 3,872.
In the other race, a three-way contest without an incumbent, Debby Retherford appears to have beaten Aimee Kopp, who had 3,350 votes to Retherford’s 3,715. Steven Impson had just 1,314.
Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-2270.