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Dan Peterson, a 21-year-old college student, took the District 2 Assembly seat from incumbent Dale Anderson in Tuesday's general election.
The tally was 4,308 for Peterson and 3,419 for Anderson, according to unofficial voting results.
Peterson was the first candidate to arrive at election central at Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School amid supporters who cheered when the votes rolled in around 8:30 p.m. Peterson uttered "yeah" and clenched his right fist even when he got fewer votes than Anderson - 306 to 291 - for Mendenhall Valley's fourth precinct. That's because the more liberal candidate still exhibited a strong showing in what is typically conservative territory.
"All in all I'm thrilled," Peterson said afterward. "This is better than I expected. It's a lot to ask to support someone who is so young."
Anderson, who is completing his first Assembly term, had no comment Tuesday night.
David Stone, 46, won the District 1 seat with 5,465 votes, running unopposed. Stone received the highest number of votes among all Assembly and mayoral candidates. He succeeded Assembly member Ken Koelsch, who did not run for re-election. Each Assembly seat is a three-year term and pays $6,000 a year. New members take their seats on Oct. 27.
Peterson attributed much of his win to having a different political style from Anderson's.
"My style is to bring people together rather than to divide them," he said.
Assembly member Jim Powell said Peterson worked hard and offers a different perspective to politics because he is so young. Peterson admitted he spent the last month campaigning and attending classes at University of Alaska Southeast, getting about four hours of sleep a night. He and volunteers hit the Republican-heavy Mendenhall Valley door-to-door and posted advertisements. Peterson spent part of last Sunday wooing voters at McNugget Intersection.
About 8,437 votes were cast with about 34.6 percent of the population voting, according to unofficial race results.
The win was deja vu of sorts for Peterson. He was the top vote-getter - with 6,000 votes - when he ran the first time for the Juneau School Board three years ago. His school board term ends on Oct. 21.
As an Assembly member, Peterson will push for the second high school to be completed on time and within budget, he said. He also plans to review the city deficit and have open discussions with involved parties.