Bush slips by Johnson

Wanamaker, Dybdahl coast to easy victories in Assembly races

Posted: Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Planning Commission Chairman Johan Dybdahl and incumbent Assembly member Randy Wanamaker easily won election to the Juneau Assembly on Tuesday, while former School Board President Jeff Bush appeared to have narrowly beaten incumbent Jeannie Johnson.

Bush led Johnson by only 167 votes in Tuesday's unofficial tally. That could change on Friday after a six-member review board selected by the city clerk reviews 1,534 questioned and absentee ballots.

"I certainly won't concede the race until the absentee and questioned ballots are tallied," Johnson said.

Dybdahl beat write-in candidate Sybil Davis in the areawide race by a landslide. .

Davis quit the race earlier to focus on her work as executive director of Juneau Arts and Humanities Council. She joined the election again on Sept. 28 because of her supporters' encouragement, but scarcely campaigned.

"I wasn't really disappointed because I didn't expect I would win," Davis said.

Dybdahl garnered 4,681 votes, winning the most votes among all six Assembly candidates.

"My top priority is to see Juneau's economy become more diverse and attract more jobs," said Dybdahl, president of Point Sophia Development Co. "We need to continue developing our infrastructure to make more lands available for commercial development. And we need to project an attitude that we will encourage business, both large and small, to come to our community."

District 2 candidate Wanamaker won 4,160 votes. His opponent, Moose Lodge Manager James Reid, trailed with 2,659 votes.

Wanamaker said he will continue to work on diversifying Juneau's economy and employment.

"We need to put together a task force to address the issue and have the task force develop a long-term plan for the community," Wanamaker said.

Reid said that although he was disappointed that he lost, he was pleased with the campaign.

"I did pretty well for the first time," Reid said. "It was a good campaign on both sides. Randy and I were pretty close on many issues. We stuck on the issues and didn't make it personal."

As former Mayor Dennis Egan had projected, the District 1 election was the most contentious. It was close from the beginning of the tally. In six of the city's 16 precincts the difference between Bush and Johnson was no more than 10 votes.

Both candidates said they will remain optimistic.

Bush said voters have shown that education is an important issue.

"Many school supporters came out. I think that helped me a lot," said Bush, who served on the School Board between 1994 and 2000.

Bush said that if his lead holds up, he will listen and learn.

"When I was elected to the School Board, someone said the first year one should listen," Bush said. "I believe new Assembly members can learn a lot by listening and being involved."

Johnson said she doesn't see the race as over. She doesn't know whether she will request a recount.

"I don't know the city rules on recount," Johnson said. "Let's hope it is not one or two votes."

City Clerk Laurie Sica said the six-member board will review all the absentee and questioned ballots on Friday.

"Some people went to precincts where their names were not registered," Sica said. "We need to check if these ballots are valid."

Election results will be certified on Tuesday.

Sica said a defeated candidate or 10 qualified voters may file an application for a recount within two days of the completion of the review of the election returns.

According to city election codes, all the expenses of a recount will be paid by the candidate or voters requesting the recount.

The city will pay for the recount only if the candidates receive a tie vote or the difference between the number of votes cast for each of the candidates is fewer than 10 or less than 0.5 percent of the total number of votes cast for the candidates involved.

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