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Johan Dybdahl's grip on the at-large Juneau Assembly seat in the Oct. 5 election may not be a lock after all.
Supporters of the unchallenged planning commissioner's one-time opponent, Sybil Davis, have been encouraging people to vote for Davis as a write-in candidate. Davis, who is executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council until her effective resignation in November, withdrew from the Assembly race Sept. 2 to focus on her job.
Dixie Hood, who has known Davis for 15 years, has printed thousands of cards that say, "Sybil Davis. Back by popular demand." Hood has distributed hundreds of the cards and will campaign for Davis at the candidate fair this Saturday at the Nugget Mall, even though Davis won't be there.
"I want to see an Assembly member that represents the public's interest," said Hood, a family and marriage therapist who once ran for Assembly herself. "Sybil will be very conscientious and hard-working."
Davis said she was surprised and flattered by the support, but she is too busy to participate in any campaign activities.
"I withdrew from the race because I didn't have time. I still don't," said Davis, who has been busy arranging for a group of Tibetan monks to perform in Juneau next week. "I will leave my job in November. I am very committed to doing my best."
Still, Davis said she would serve if elected.
Dybdahl said he wouldn't mind competition from Davis again.
But supporters' votes won't be enough to send Davis to the Assembly. Davis needs to submit a letter of intent to the city clerk's office as a write-in candidate before the Sept. 30 deadline.
City Clerk Laurie Sica said Davis won't be an eligible candidate without the letter.
"You cannot make somebody run for the Assembly," Sica said. "They need to want to serve."
Davis said she is not familiar with the procedures, but she will consider sending the letter.
In addition to convincing Davis to send the letter, Davis' supporters have to overcome one more hurdle. They cannot misspell Davis' name on the ballot. The city clerk's office rejects write-in votes that have only a candidate's initials, first name or correct last name but with an incorrect first name or initial.
Sica said the last time a write-in candidate won a Juneau election was 1992. Sally Rue ran for the Juneau School Board just eight days before the election. She won 5,216 votes, the most votes among five candidates.
I-Chun Che can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.