The 3-way battle for the Assembly Areawide seat sits at a very narrow contest with Carlton Smith leading Loren Jones by 53 votes.
The absentee and questioned ballots that are expected to be counted Friday will be the deciding factor in whether Smith or Jones is one of the city’s newest Assemblymen.
Geny Del Rosario garnered a fair amount of votes as well, but lagged behind both Smith and Jones.
The early count stands with Smith at 2,282 votes, Jones at 2,229, and Del Rosario at 761. There also were 51 write-in votes.
“I guess I’ll be nervous a few more days,” Jones said. “There might be 1,400 between absentee and questioned (ballots). So it’s possible to make up 50-some votes, whether that’s probable I don’t know.”
Jones said he doesn’t have any reason to request a recount, but would go with it if there is an automatic recount.
“I think it went really well,” he said. “It was interesting in a three way race, you never know who takes votes from whom. I think Geny did a little better than I think she might have. Overall it was a really good race.”
Jones felt the 25 percent voter turnout was too low.
“I wish there were ways to get that up,” he said. “There wasn’t really any driving issue to bring people out to the polls like they have in the past. That’s still no excuse for only 25 percent of the voters in Juneau to turn out. Those who turned out must have had a real driving interest and that’s always good.”
Even with the results so close, Smith is pleased with the Areawide race.
“I’m gratified that we put forth the maximum effort and the people of Juneau have spoken and as a group of candidates together we have raised the awareness on a number of issues from plastic bags to budgets,” he said.
Smith appreciated that is was a clean campaign and is thankful that all candidates have participated that way.
Smith had no idea what his response would be to a possible recount.
He felt the voter turnout was a message of change.
“Voter turnout to me signals, it’s reflective of some of the long term divisiveness that’s been in the community,” he said. “With a newly configured Assembly I’m looking for that divisiveness to give way to Juneau’s future. It signifies a unifying element and serve to get us back on track. We’ll have more concrete goals and we’ll work on them together. I’m very optimistic about the future of the community. I’m going to be working very hard to see to adjusting our attitudes accordingly. We have nothing but positive things ahead of us. Certainly we have challenges ahead of us. This is about a new capital city, this is about a new vision.”
Smith anticipates working toward those goals regardless if he is ultimately the winning candidate.
“I intend to be a part of the downtown issues that are heavy merged, some of the homeless inebriate issues plaguing downtown,” he said. “I plan to be involved in promoting new business. Most of all I want to be involved in promoting Juneau in new ways as the state capital. I’ve got some specific ideas about that.”
Del Rosario said the election was a big learning experience for her.
“For me, for joining the race I already won,” she said. “I met a lot of people and learned a lot of things. I know there’s a lot of things I can help. It’s just the beginning for things I can do and this is just the beginning for things we have to do as a citizen. If we want to work and contribute we just have to get into the process. I thank everybody for coming out. If they don’t know me now, they will later. I will always be there to be a part of the solution. I’ve learned a lot from this race.”
Del Rosario said she did the right thing and believes she will do better next time.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.