Chambers wins Assembly seat

Posted: Sunday, October 08, 2006

After several days of uncertainty, District 2 candidate Sara Chambers won more absentee- and questioned-ballot votes from Tuesday's city election than Jean Christian to earn a seat on the Juneau Assembly.

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Chambers had a 67-vote lead before the counting of the 1,420 ballots on Friday afternoon by the Ballot Review Board at City Hall. As votes were tabulated, Chambers' lead slowly grew for an unofficial victory of 3,587 to 3,356. The results become official after the Canvass Review Board certifies the election on Tuesday.

Chambers said it is a relief to have an answer to the race after waiting several days for the absentee and questioned ballots to be verified and counted.

"I'm prepared to get going - to roll up my sleeves and do what I said I was going to do," Chambers said.

Christian said she feels a little disappointed she didn't win but is glad she had the opportunity to be a part of the election.

"It was a great race," she said. "I've learned so much. It was exciting. It was a very, very good experience for me."

It also was a memorable experience, Christian said.

"It was really great talking with people - talking with people about the issues, getting to know people, hearing what they think, hearing what they have to say," she said. "I really enjoyed that a lot."

Chambers said she is glad to have the contest portion out of the way so she can focus on constituents' needs.

"I feel confident in my ability to stay on message with the things that the people of Juneau say are important to them," she said.

Finding solutions for the affordable housing crisis, lowering taxes and making sure the city is spending tax dollars wisely are what she ran on and what she will deliver, Chambers said.

Although nervous about the outcome, Chambers said she was confident the absentee ballots would go her way. After Tuesday's election Chambers said she suspected there was a slice of the population that support her and voted absentee because of work and family obligations.

"I knew on Tuesday that the Mendenhall Valley districts overwhelmingly voted in support of me as their representative and that's really what ultimately mattered to me because those will be the people that I've been selected to represent," Chambers said.

The outcome of the other races remained the same after the counting of the absentee and questioned ballots on Friday.

Incumbent Mayor Bruce Botelho increased his margin of victory with 4,612 votes to challenger Brad Fluetsch's 2,922.

Incumbent David Stone unofficially beat Mark Stopha 4,063 votes to 2,878 to hold on to the District 1 Assembly seat.

For the three School Board seats, incumbent Andi Story ended up with 4,651 votes, Mark Choate with 4,110 votes, and incumbent President Phyllis Carlson with 3,631 votes. Chris Thomas, who did not win a School Board seat, received 3,297 votes.

Proposition 1 to extend the 3 percent sales tax passed 4,840 to 2,808. Proposition 2 to reword the city's Charter to redirect bond earning was approved 4,131 to 3,272.

• Eric Morrison can be reached at eric.morrison@juneauempire.com.



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