Two races are still too close to call

Posted: Sunday, August 27, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Two races in Tuesday's primary election still have no winners because they are too close to call.

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In Southwest Alaska, Bryce Edgmon leads Rep. Carl Moses, D-Unalaska, by just one vote in the Democratic House primary.

On the Kenai Peninsula, Dave Carey is four votes ahead of incumbent Rep. Kurt Olson, R-Soldotna, in the Republican primary.

That means both races may remain undecided until all questioned and absentee ballots are counted Sept. 6, a state election official said Thursday.

The Southwest Alaska race, in District 37, seems to pivot on the controversy over the Pebble copper and gold prospect near Iliamna Lake.

Many residents fear that the proposed mine, which would be built near salmon-spawning streams, will ruin part of the valuable Bristol Bay fishery.

Edgmon, a Dillingham fish company executive who is also Moses' former legislative aide, opposes Pebble. Moses, an 11-term incumbent known for his quiet style, supports exploration because it brings money to the region.

Edgmon leads 648-647.

At least 300 questioned and absentee ballots remain to be counted in the huge district, which stretches from the Bristol Bay region into the Aleutian Chain, said Becka Baker, state election supervisor for Western and Northern Alaska.

Moses, 77, initially gave himself 10-1 odds of winning the primary. The Unalaska store owner hasn't lost a race in 11 tries. Now he's hedging his bets.

"It's wait and see," he said.

The winner will face Republican Ron Bowers, a Dillingham flight medic, in the general election. Bowers has said he supports a mine only if it's proven that it won't hurt the fishery.

The other close race is the Republican primary in District 33, which covers the Kenai and Soldotna areas on the Kenai Peninsula. There, Carey, the challenger, received 1,210 votes. Olson, the incumbent, has 1,206. Both men live in Soldotna.

That winner will face Democrat Pete Sprague and Alaska Independent John "Ozzie" Osborne in the general election.

More than 500 questioned and absentee ballots remain to be counted in that district, said Kelly Cyrus, the state's elections administrative supervisor.

The counting will continue for the next two weeks, Cyrus said.

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