Stone turns back challenge, wins third term on Assembly

Incumbent praises Lawfer for running an active campaign

Posted: Wednesday, October 07, 2009

David Stone won re-election to a third term on the Juneau Assembly, turning back a challenge by Karen Lawfer 64 percent to 36 percent.

"It's gratifying, it is," Stone said at City Hall Tuesday evening after results were posted.

Stone praised his opponent, who ran an active but poorly financed campaign.

"I had to run harder than I ever have before, but I think Juneau was well served by that because a lot of issues were brought up," he said.

Lawfer said she was not surprised by the outcome, given the circumstances.

"It's always tough to run against an incumbent when there's nothing extremely controversial or divisive going on," she said.

Stone is considered the more conservative of the two, and Lawfer won only a single precinct, Juneau's most liberal downtown precinct.

Stone said he would not have run for another term if Rod Swope had not been available to return as city manager, given possible future financial difficulties facing the city.

"There's fear, I'm very concerned about the future," Stone said.

Fortunately, he said, Juneau is well positioned to face a downturn.

"We've gotten our fiscal house in order, I think we're in pretty good shape," he said.

Still, much depends on outside actions, such as the national economy and the Alaska Legislature's continued support of education spending and retirement plans.

Voters, too, said that was one of the reasons they voted for Stone.

Kay Diebels, a former Assembly member herself, said Stone has been doing a good job.

"We're in a better position as a borough than Anchorage or almost anywhere else," she said.

She credited Stone's leadership, along with that of Swope, in developing fiscally conservative budgets for the city that have left it in good shape.

While the two candidates agreed on many major issues, one where they were divided was the Juneau Road, with Stone a vocal supporter.

"The only real contrast issue was the road, but even there it was a non-issue for a lot of people," Lawfer said.

While Lawfer said she's opposed to it, she said many other opponents think it will never get built because of its cost and voters weren't paying much attention to the issue.

"It did come up at a number of forums, but I don't think it made much difference," she said.

Lawfer said she is planning to remain involved in public issues but has no current plans to run again.

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