Hours ahead of a 4:30 p.m. deadline for write-in candidates to file with the City Clerk’s Office on Thursday, Juneau therapist Dixie Hood filed to contest the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly District 2 seat in next Tuesday’s election.
Former Juneau Police Capt. Jerry Nankervis was previously the only declared candidate for the seat, which is being vacated by Ruth Danner.
“I’ve gotten some phone calls from people over the last few weeks when there was only one candidate running,” said Hood, a member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee. After reading about the impending write-in deadline Thursday, she said she decided she “really wanted to do it.”
Hood added, “The things that I care about and have gone to meetings about over and over, if there’s a possibility of my being in a position where I can take some action that would really make a difference, I’d really like to do that.”
Hood’s late entry means her name will not appear on the ballot. She is also entering the race nearly two weeks after in-person absentee voting began at several Juneau polling places.
As of Wednesday, City Clerk Laurie Sica said, 668 voters had cast their ballots. By last Thursday, she noted, about 100 more absentee votes had been cast than at the same time last year.
“I think we’ve kept up the pace pretty good,” said Sica.
Hood said she wants to give voters a choice in the election, a sentiment Nankervis echoed.
“Somebody else decided to throw their name in the hat,” said Nankervis, reacting to the news. “That gives people a choice, and that’s always a good thing.”
While Hood is entering the race late, she maintained that she can win.
“I think I have more of a name recognition in Juneau than (Nankervis) has. So I don’t know,” Hood said of her odds of winning. “I think I’ve got a chance, and name recognition means something to many voters, and hopefully there will be a decent turnout. So we’ll see.”
If the total number of write-in votes is within 100 votes of Nankervis or greater, they will be counted individually. As Hood is the only candidate to file as a write-in, only votes cast for her will count, legally speaking.
Hood said her interest in the race was piqued when Nankervis, asked at a League of Women Voters candidates’ forum last Tuesday what he would do about downtown revitalization, suggested that downtown is already “vitalized.” She said she disagreed with Nankervis’s answer, asserting her support for efforts to keep more downtown businesses open year-round and encourage the occupancy of apartments above shopfronts in the area.
“I definitely have ideas about and have been supportive of those kinds of things,” said Hood.
Nankervis remarked, though, that with the LWV forum, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce forum and other events done with, a late entry to the race like Hood has missed opportunities to share her views.
“It would be a disadvantage to them in that they’re trying to get their message out in a much smaller timeframe,” said Nankervis.
Hood previously ran for Assembly in 2001 and 2007, losing both times to current Assemblymember Randy Wanamaker.
Write-in candidates winning in Juneau is rare, according to Sica. She said she knows of only one write-in victory in a contested race in recent municipal history, that of Sally Rue’s first-place finish running for the Juneau School District Board of Education back in 1992.
But, Sica added, “It’s (Hood’s) right to run for office, and this was the filing day for write-in candidates.”
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.