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John Kerry would be headed to the White House, Tony Knowles would have won a U.S. Senate seat and marijuana would be legal for the toking if Juneau votes were the only ones counted in Tuesday's election.
Unofficial poll results released by the state Division of Elections on Wednesday show 67 percent of Juneau's 24,620 registered voters made it to the polls.
The two state House districts representing Juneau residents combined would have elected more Democrats and gone against the state on ballot measures, but apart they would have produced different results.
House District 3, represented by a Democrat, covers downtown Juneau, Douglas, Lemon Creek and neighborhoods near the airport. House District 4, represented by a Republican, covers the Mendenhall Valley and points north.
Both districts voted in favor of Democratic Senate candidate Tony Knowles. Incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski did not win a single precinct in either district.
The former Democratic governor beat Murkowski by a 2-to-1 margin in District 3, carrying 66 percent of the vote to Murkowski's 30 percent. She did better in District 4, picking up 41 percent of the vote to Knowles' 55 percent.
Mendenhall Valley voters supported President George W. Bush by 10 percentage points over Democrat John Kerry, with Bush winning 53 percent of the vote. But downtown and Douglas voters chose Kerry, giving him 57 percent. The two districts combined gave Kerry 8,290 votes, just over 50 percent. Bush received 7,654 votes, or about 46 percent.
District 4 voters narrowly rejected a ballot initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession and use for those over 21, but District 3 voters approved it with 57 percent of the vote. The two districts also differed on a proposal to ban the hunting practice of baiting bears with food, with the Valley rejecting the proposed law with 60 percent and downtown and Douglas residents approving it, barely, with 51 percent.
Both districts approved ballot measures to change the initiative signature-gathering process and removing the governor's power to appoint replacements for U.S. Senate vacancies.
Downtown Juneau and Douglas have historically supported Democrats, while residents of the Mendenhall Valley have voted Republican, according to Christopher Clark, a long-time political observer of Alaska politics.
"Since 1987, Valley voters have elected Republicans Bill Hudson and Bruce Weyhrauch, with one exception: Democrat Caren Robinson in 1994," Clark said in an e-mail to the Empire. "In 1996, Bill beat Caren, and Republicans have held the seat since then."
Former Juneau Democratic lawmaker Mike Miller, who served in the Legislature from 1971 to 1986, said he did not recognize a major difference in politics between the two districts in the '70s and '80s. "There was some difference in the way people looked at things slightly," he said. "But I got just as much support in the Valley as downtown. Now the Valley is much more conservative in its voting."
Timothy Inklebarger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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