Lisa Murkowski holds onto state House seat

Absentee and questioned ballots mostly counted

Posted: Monday, September 09, 2002

ANCHORAGE - Rep. Lisa Murkowski, an Anchorage Republican seeking to be Alaska's next speaker of the House, apparently has sealed her narrow re-election victory.

New absentee and questioned ballot totals gave Murkowski a 56-vote win over political newcomer Nancy Dahlstrom in the House District 18 primary race. After the Aug. 27 election, she led by only 21 votes. No candidate from any other party is running, so the daughter of U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, GOP candidate for governor, faces no opposition in the Nov. 5 general election.

State elections officials released the latest count of absentee and questioned ballots Friday. The last absentee ballots from overseas are due Wednesday.

"We hope to have the election certified by Sept. 18," said elections spokeswoman Virginia Breeze.

The count left a close primary race for the Democratic candidate to represent Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell in the state House.

Denny Pearson, a Sitka attorney, is ahead with a six-vote lead over Rob Allen, owner of Allen Marine of Sitka, in the Democratic primary. If his lead holds, Pearson will face District 2 incumbent Rep. Peggy Wilson, a Wrangell Republican, in November.

Candidates in races with margins of 20 votes or fewer can ask for free recounts from the elections division. Breeze this morning said no candidate had asked for a recount.

Friday's tally also left media sales firm owner Steve Strait with a 16-vote lead over business consultant Becky Gay in the Republican primary race to represent House District 26 in West Anchorage. Strait led by two votes election night. If the outcome stands, Strait will face Democratic incumbent Rep. Ethan Berkowitz and Libertarian Gordon Hartleib in November.

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