District 4 race not yet decided

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democrat Andrea Doll holds a commanding, but not insurmountable lead over Republican Randy Wanamaker in the race for House District 4, election watchers said Wednesday.

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After regular votes were tabulated Tuesday night, Doll had a 62-vote lead with 3,005 votes to Wanamaker's 2,943.

At least 569 ballots remained to be counted, said Pam Crowe, a supervisor with the state Division of Elections. They included 248 questioned ballots and 321 absentee ballots as of 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The uncounted number may increase as ballots postmarked by election day trickle into the office. Some of those ballots will be invalid, she pointed out.

Wanamaker said he wasn't giving up hope. Absentee ballots are more likely to be Republican, and could still swing the race.

"They're generally more conservative, and it's close enough that it could change this one," he said.

State Rep. Beth Kerttula, D-Juneau, said Doll's aggressive campaign included reaching out to absentee voters, and that could limit any advantage Wanamaker might normally expect.

"I can't think of a time when absentees have changed a race," Kerttula said. "I feel pretty secure that Andrea has won that race."

In absentee ballots counted so far, Wanamaker held a 58 percent to 42 percent lead. If that rate holds, it could significantly cut Doll's lead. It is not clear what role questioned ballots may play.

The next ballot count will not take place until Nov. 17, Crowe said.

If the final result is less than one half of a percent of ballots cast in the race, there will be an automatic recount paid for by the state. Either candidate or voters can also request a recount, but they would then have to pay for it.

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