With some state races neck and neck, candidates await absentee count

Published: Nov. 4, 2020 at 7:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As votes continue to be counted in Alaska, the candidates in close races for state office are discussing the potential for absentee ballots to impact their chances of victory.

The latest results for several of Anchorage’s House Districts and one Senate seat are currently sitting where a candidate could see the race going either way.

Incumbent Democrat Chris Tuck is currently down by 13 points, but he says this is not the first time he’s been on the edge of his seat in District 23.

“My first win in this district was based on absentees, but I don’t think it’s going to be a landslide, either way, " Tuck said. "If I lose, it will be by less than 100 votes... If I win it will be by less than 100 votes.”

Tuck’s opponent, Kathy Henslee has 2,136 votes to his 1,587 as of the latest update on Wednesday. Alaska Independence Party Candidate Timothy Huit has drawn 9.78% of the vote for that district.

In House District 25, incumbent Republican Mel Gillis is just shy of a 20 point lead. He says he’s somewhat comfortable but also aware of the fact that absentee ballots could sway the vote in his opponent’s favor.

“The absentees are usually Democrat, so you can’t tell what’s going to happen until all the votes are cast," he said.

In District 16, another three-way race has incumbent Democrat Ivy Spohnholz behind Republican candidate Paul Bauer by about 400 votes. Ivy says normally independent candidates draw votes away from the Republican, but this time she feels she’s lost votes as well.

Many of the same voters making decisions in House District 16 have also voted in the race for Senate Seat H. Incumbent Democrat Bill Wielechowski sits just behind Republican challenger Madeleine Gaiser. Wielechowski is confident he’ll be able to close the 200-vote gap when absentee votes are counted.

“I was telling people actually, ‘Hey, don’t be surprised if I’m down on Election Day,’ because I know it’s fundamentally conservatives ballots that are being counted on Election Day, and progressives and Democrats are counted a week later,” he said.

Candidates will have to wait until next week for those votes to be counted.

Other close races could also sway as absentee votes are counted. The latest numbers are updated on Alaska’s News Source here.

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