Kelly clings to one-vote lead

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2008

FAIRBANKS - If Mike Kelly and Karl Kassel are nervous about the undecided outcome of their state House race, they aren't showing it.

Incumbent Republican Kelly is holding onto a one-vote lead over his Democratic challenger.

The final batch of votes - 49 ballots cast overseas - are expected to be counted today.

Either way, a recount is still expected.

Both candidates in the House District 7 race say they are relaxed and going about their daily business while they await the final word.

Kelly is hoping to grab a third term and retain his seat on a powerful House Finance Committee.

Should Kelly lose, it would give the Democrats 18 seats, four fewer than the Republican majority.

Kelly isn't focusing on the single vote lead; instead he's looking less at politics and more toward Thanksgiving - the 31st consecutive Thanksgiving his family will spend together at its cabin outside of town.

"I'm more worried about making sure the snowmachines are starting and getting them on the trailer and making sure everyone's got their food assignments," Kelly said. "I'm a pretty practiced guy, and (I'm) not being too concerned at things that I don't have control over."

Kassel described it simply as a waiting game, and he will likely be traveling to a family member's hockey tournament when the next round of returns is announced early this week.

"I'm doing better than a lot of people around me," Kassel said. "I mean, it's all done and I'm relaxed with it. We'll just wait and see how it comes out."

If the race should wind up in a tie vote, the election would be determined with a coin toss.

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