State's oldest lawmaker faces toughest race

Democrat on verge of losing nomination

Posted: Monday, September 04, 2006

ANCHORAGE - Rep. Carl Moses was first elected to the state House in 1964 and hasn't lost a race in 11 tries.

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But Alaska's oldest lawmaker, a Democrat from Unalaska, is on the verge of being ousted from office by Bryce Edgmon, his former legislative aide.

Edgmon, a Dillingham fish company executive, lead the longtime lawmaker by 19 votes after election officials counted 186 absentee and questioned ballots on Friday. The count on Friday afternoon was 750 votes for Edgmon to 731 for Moses.

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

Edgmon, chief operating officer for the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., opposes Pebble. Moses, a store owner from Unalaska, supports exploration because it could bring more money to the region.

Fewer than 20 touch-screen ballots remained to be counted, and ballots sent from military and overseas voters may still arrive before the Sept. 6 deadline, election officials said.

But those ballots usually aren't enough to change the outcome of an election, said Becka Baker, election supervisor for Western and Northern Alaska.

Moses, 77, initially gave himself 10-1 odds of winning. But he recognizes that his political future, for now, looks bleak.

"It looks like I'm getting closer to losing," he said Friday.

There will be no victory party until the election is certified in mid-September, Edgmon 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.

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