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Wrangell race tips to McConachie - by 2 votes

Former mayor is now mayor-elect after canvassing process

Posted: October 4, 2012 - 2:25pm  |  Updated: October 4, 2012 - 11:06pm

After vote canvassing Thursday afternoon, the City and Borough of Wrangell’s mayor-elect is not the man who led on Election Night.

Assembly Member Donald McConachie Sr. netted seven votes during the Canvass Board’s meeting Thursday — just enough to overturn Assembly Member David L. Jack’s five-vote lead from Tuesday.

That means McConachie is the winner of Wrangell’s mayoral race, with 303 votes to Jack’s 301, according to CBW Deputy Clerk Carol Bean. Those results are final and will be certified Monday, Bean said.

McConachie said that initially Thursday, after previously uncounted absentee ballots were added into the total, it appeared that he had lost by six votes, larger than the preliminary Election Day margin (http://bit.ly/PUJpHt).

“When it came out that I lost by six, I got up and left,” said McConachie. He went over to Jack and congratulated him on his way out.

But the count was not over. McConachie, who was the CBW’s first mayor when it was incorporated in 2008, said he was unaware that there were still some absentee ballots sent in by fax that had not been tallied yet. Jack remained at the Canvass Board meeting to watch the count conclude.

“After the absentee votes were counted, I gained one, for a total of six,” Jack said. “Then the fax votes were counted, and I lost by two votes.”

McConachie said he learned of what happened after the final tally was made.

“I was quite surprised, to say the least,” said McConachie.

Jack was philosophical about the result.

“It is what it is,” Jack said simply. “It’s disappointing, you know, but that’s what happens. You know, someone has to lose.”

Such a close result is not ideal, McConachie remarked.

“It’s really hard, in some ways, to win by a very, very split vote,” McConachie said. “Two votes is not much to win by.”

But win McConachie did. He said he hopes to mend the “split community” now that the race is over.

“I’m kind of excited,” said McConachie. “We’ll see what the next two years will bring, and hopefully we can bring the community together and have a positive outcome.”

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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