/* Style Definitions */
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
When the results of Tuesday night’s municipal election came in, Terry Blake and Thor Christianson started out in front, and stayed there for the rest of the night. It appears they will fill the two open seats on Sitka’s Assembly in the term ahead.
Of the four assembly candidates, Blake brought in the most votes Tuesday night, with 30 percent, followed by Christianson’s 27 percent.
This was Blake’s first run for office in Sitka. During the campaign he said he’d focus on small business, improve programs to boost tourism, and pursue entrepreneurs who can produce year-round employment.
Tuesday night, as the results became clearer, he thanked his supporters for helping him through the campaign.
“I knew that I had a lot of competition, especially with Mr. Ozment, and Mr. Christianson, and Michelle,” Blake said. “I know that there are people that really love them in the community and I felt like I really had my hands full through this whole campaign.”
Christianson served on the Assembly from 1998 until 2004. He said he wants to make it easier for citizens and businesses to deal with city hall, and that local government is expanding too quickly. Christian says he's ready to get to work.”
“I think we'll manage to work together pretty well,” he said. “We've got some diverse views, but I think everybody on the Assembly now is willing to listen and work. I'm hoping we have, at least some of the time, some 7-0 or 6-1 votes. If you have a lot of 3-4 votes it's kind of rough.”
Incumbent Jack Ozment lost his seat last night. He brought in 23 percent of the vote, which put him in third place.
“Well, it certainly didn't turn out like I expected,” he said. “As a matter of fact, it's kind of the reverse from what I expected. I have a problem trying to decide what the voters concerns were that led them to these decisions.”
Michelle Putz earned 19 percent. Putz has been a vocal advocate for many causes in Sitka in the past, and she says that won’t change, despite her fourth-place finish on Tuesday.
“And I certainly intend to keep volunteering and helping out because Sitka is a great community,” she said, “and it deserves all the help it can get from every citizen in the town.”
Despite coming in third in Tuesday night’s vote, Ozment could still return to the Assembly. He trails Christianson by 160 votes, and there are nearly 600 absentee ballots waiting to be counted. Another possible scenario is Cheryl Westover’s election as mayor. The Assembly would then need to appoint someone to fill Westover’s Assembly term, and while there’s no requirement, past assemblies have looked to the next-highest vote-getter in similar situations.
The mayoral election is not yet a sure thing. Westover has 51 percent of the vote to John Stein’s 49 percent.
“I certainly can’t claim victory,” Westover said. “I think there are too many absentee votes out there, and I think it will come down to Monday’s absentee count.”
Just 61 votes separate the two candidates. The absentee and questioned ballots are so many that they basically comprise another precinct. But John Stein isn’t so sure the absentee and questioned ballots will make a difference.
“We sort of have to wait until Monday, I guess,” Stein said. “But generally, the trends don’t change, so we’ll see what happens.”
Those absentee and questioned ballots – again, nearly 600 of them – will be counted October 11th at 11 a.m. inside Harrigan Centennial Hall.
© Copyright 1970, Raven Radio Foundation Inc.