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Live updates: Two candidates have conceded as updated election results show little change

Updated preliminary results in Anchorage’s municipal election show little change.
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 5:03 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 11, 2022 at 6:07 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s News Source is bringing you the latest municipal election news as it happens. All live updates will be posted here as results come in.

April 11 - 6:05 p.m.

Updated election results show little change; 2 candidates have conceded

Updated preliminary results in Anchorage’s municipal election show little change, with most incumbents retaining their seats on the Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board and two major bond propositions failing.

The municipal election results won’t be certified until April 26, and most ballots have until April 18 to arrive and still be counted, but the majority of races and propositions have not changed significantly through the last several result updates.

According to the most recent results posted Monday, election officials have tallied 69,711 ballots so far. According to data from election officials, the city had received more than 70,800 returned ballot envelopes through the end of Friday. Additional ballots will continue to trickle in through the mail over the coming week, but likely not enough to significantly change any results.

Assembly Member John Weddleton, who ran for reelection to his District 6 South Anchorage seat, announced Saturday that he had conceded the race to challenger Randy Sulte. Updated results show Sulte with 51% of the vote, ahead of Weddleton by 780 votes.

The incumbents in three other assembly races and both school board races are still ahead and appear to be retaining their respective seats, against more conservative challengers.

A $111 million bond preposition for capital improvements in the Anchorage School District and a $2.4 million bond for areawide capital facilities improvements in the minimality are both failing by a margin of 1-2%.

View the full updated results here.

April 11 - 3:26 p.m.

Wehmhoff concedes as early election results for District 2 show Cross with solid lead

Gretchen Wehmhoff, a candidate for the District 2 Anchorage Assembly seat representing the Chugiak-Eagle River area, has issued a statement signifying the end of her campaign as early municipal election results show candidate Kevin Cross with a significant lead.

There was no incumbent in the race for the open District 2 seat, as assembly member Crystal Kennedy announced she would not run for reelection. Cross and Wehmhoff ran for the seat along with Vanessa Stephens.

According to updated preliminary results posted Friday, Cross commands the race with 61% of the votes counted so far, while Wehmhoff trails with 33.9% of the vote. The two are separated by a margin of more than 2,600 votes.

In a statement Monday, Wehmhoff said it had not originally been her plan to run for a seat on the assembly.

“But when faced with an election where it appeared a person who had lived in our town for less than two years could easily walk into our assembly seat, I couldn’t come up with another plan other than to take one last foray into politics,” she wrote.

Wehmhoff, who described herself as centrist ahead of the election, thanked the many volunteers who contributed to her campaign. Speaking of the 3,350 votes that had been cast for her as of Friday, Wehmhoff said that comes close to matching the number of households in Chugiak.

“Over one third of the voters chose to cast a vote for our community,” she said. “That is significant.”

Cross, a real estate investor, was endorsed by Mayor Dave Bronson and described himself as fiscally conservative.

April 10 - 9 p.m.

Weddleton, seeking reelection to South Anchorage assembly seat, concedes to challenger

John Weddleton, the incumbent in the race for the District 6 seat on the Anchorage Assembly, has conceded to challenger Randy Sulte, according to Weddleton’s campaign page on Facebook.

“It is clear that the election was won by Randy Sulte,” a post from Saturday states, adding that Weddleton called Sulte to congratulate him. “The seat I have served from for six years belongs to South Anchorage. I respect the decision of the voters to give that opportunity to Randy.”

The post also said Weddleton was disappointed, but that he plans to meet with Sulte and Assembly Chair Suzanne LaFrance to “make sure the transition is smooth and that Randy starts the job able to effectively represent the district.”

“I have great thanks for the many who have worked with me over the past six years,” Weddleton wrote. “My fellow Assembly members; the Assembly staff; staff throughout the Municipality all show a commitment to making Anchorage a better place. The many active citizens; a growing number over the past few years; add tremendously to the success of this great city. My Community Council friends! I did nothing on my own. All that I accomplished over the past six years was a team effort.”

Election results are expected to be certified on April 26.

April 8 - 6:45 p.m.

Anchorage election races remain largely unchanged

As of Friday evening, the results for Anchorage Assembly and Anchorage School Board races as well as municipal bond propositions had mostly remained unchanged. Most incumbents continue to lead their races against challengers who sought to unseat them.

Of the four incumbents running for assembly seats, three remain ahead with wide margins. However, incumbent District 6 assembly member John Weddleton trails Randy Sulte by 453 votes.

View the full updated preliminary results here.

For District 2 representing Eagle River-Chugiak, which had no incumbent, Kevin Cross maintained his lead with over 27% more votes received than nearest challenger Gretchen Wehmhoff. Incumbent assembly members Kameron Perez-Verdia, Meg Zaletel, and Forrest Dunbar all hold leads of over 4%. Zaletel’s margin is only slightly larger than Sulte’s, at 462 votes over her challenger, Kathy Henslee.

Incumbent school board members Kelly Lessens and School Board President Margo Bellamy both hold leads of over 5,000 votes in the two school board seats up for reelection.

Of the other items on the ballot, propositions 1, 2, and 7 are currently failing by slim margins. Prop 1, a $111 million bond for capital improvements for the Anchorage School District, is failing by 932 votes. Proposition 2 for areawide facilities capital improvement is failing by nearly 1,400 votes, and the mountain park/robin hill RRSA 1.80 mill levy amendment is currently failing by 35 votes.

By the end of Friday, election officials had tallied 62,695 ballots, about 26.5% of all registered voters. According to an email from elections staff, more than 68,100 returned ballot envelopes had been received by the end of Thursday.

Election officials will continue to count ballots next week, and updated preliminary results will be posted on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. More ballots will continue to trickle in before the election is set to be certified on Aug. 26.

April 8 - 11 a.m.

Elections office has counted over 80% of returned ballots

As of Friday morning, the municipal elections staff has counted just over 80% of returned ballots, with 54,787 counted by Thursday evening out of 68,196 received.

The municipality has 235,882 total registered voters in the Anchorage Municipality, meaning the turnout has been almost 29% so far, with additional mail-in ballots expected to be added to the total. The election will not be certified until April 26.

April 7 - 6:05 p.m.

Updated early election results show South Anchorage challenger widening his lead against Anchorage Assembly incumbent

Randy Sulte, who’s challenging South Anchorage incumbent John Weddleton for his seat on the Anchorage Assembly, has grown his lead according to a third round of preliminary election results released Thursday evening.

The updated unofficial results released by municipal elections staff Wednesday show Sulte ahead in the race for District 6 with 7,405 votes to Weddleton’s 6,828, meaning he’s ahead by a margin of 577 votes. Darin Colbry, a third candidate in that race, has collected 238 votes.

All other incumbents on the assembly and the Anchorage School Board are leading their respective races, the early results show.

Voters get in early Tuesday to cast ballots at the Loussac Library in Anchorage.
Voters get in early Tuesday to cast ballots at the Loussac Library in Anchorage.(Nick Swann/Alaska's News Source)

Meg Zaletel, who represents Midtown Anchorage, holds a 513-vote lead over challenger Kathy Henslee. Kameron Perez-Verdia of West Anchorage holds 53.57% of the vote counted so far compared to challenger Liz Vazquez.

In the East Anchorage race, Forrest Dunbar leads with 5,268 votes, or 55.66%, compared to his next closest challenger, Stephanie Taylor, who has 3,944 votes, or 41.67%.

District 2 does not have an incumbent, as assembly member Crystal Kennedy announced she would not be running for reelection. Kevin Cross leads that race with 4,825 votes, or 60.27% of the votes counted so far.

The early results show three ballot propositions currently receiving more opposition than support, including a major $111 million capital improvements bond for the Anchorage School District.

View the latest results in their entirety here.

Thursday’s updated results show election officials have tallied more than 54,700 ballots. The municipality had received more than 61,500 returned ballot envelopes by the end of Wednesday. More will continue to trickle in over the coming days, and the election is set to be certified on April 26.

April 7 - 11:15 a.m.

Elections office shows about 75% of returned ballots counted thus far

The Anchorage elections office has counted 46,181 ballots out of the 61,534 ballot envelopes received by elections staff by the end of Wednesday, about 75% of returned ballots.

Wednesday’s latest vote count showed 235,876 total registered voters in the municipality, meaning just over 26% of eligible residents have cast their vote, although more ballots are expected to come in through the mail.

April 6 - 5:22 p.m.

Additional early election results show more voters against school district bond proposition

The second round of early results for Anchorage’s municipal election shows that Anchorage Assembly incumbent John Weddleton is still trailing in the race for his District 6 seat, while the vote for a $111 million bond proposition for the Anchorage School District has flipped.

The additional results posted by municipal elections staff Wednesday show Weddleton, who represents South Anchorage on the assembly, trailing by 347 votes. His challenger, Randy Sulte, has 6,083 votes so far, or 50.65% of the vote, while Weddleton has 5,736, or 47.7% of the vote.

The additional unofficial results posted Wednesday show election staff have counted 46,181 ballots so far. An email from elections staff Wednesday morning showed more than 54,000 ballot envelopes had been returned to the municipality by the end of election day on Tuesday.

Additionally, the preliminary vote for a large capital improvements bond for the Anchorage School District has flipped. While the bond proposition had slightly more yes votes than no votes on Tuesday night, updated results showed 22,989 votes against the bond, or 50.34%, compared to 22,681 votes in favor of it, or 49.66%.

See the full updated preliminary results here.

Elections staff still have ballots that arrived Tuesday to finish counting, and more ballots will continue to trickle in through the mail over the coming days. Most ballots must be received by April 16 to be counted, and the election results are scheduled to be certified on April 26.

April 6 - 9 a.m.

Latest tally shows over 54,000 returned ballots in Anchorage

The latest voter list from elections staff shows that the municipality received 54,181 returned ballot envelopes from registered voters in the Anchorage municipal election by the end of Tuesday, an addition of about 9,500 more ballots since the most recent count Monday night. A total of about 210,000 ballots were mailed out to registered voters.

According to early unofficial results posted by elections staff Tuesday night, about 41,300 ballots had been tallied. That’s about 17.5% of registered voters.

This leaves more than 12,000 additional ballots still to be counted, and more will continue to arrive through the mail.

April 5 - 9:32 p.m.

Initial election results show a tight race for South Anchorage seat

According to early results posted for the Anchorage municipal election, challenger Randy Sulte currently leads the race for the open District 6 seat on the Anchorage Assembly, holding a thin margin of 153 votes over incumbent John Weddleton.

Sulte said Tuesday night he was feeling “cautiously optimistic” about the tight race with Weddleton.

“I think I’ve been who I am,” Sulte said of the campaign. “I’ve been honest with the people and I think the people are ready for a change.”

Weddleton, a self-described moderate, is seeking his third term on the assembly. He said Tuesday night that he expected the race to be close.

“It is in fact close,” Weddleton said. “So I think we’re right on with the expectations.”

Weddleton said it’s still early, and Sulte’s lead is not definitive.

“Not time to lose any sleep over it,” he said.

Darin Colbry, the third candidate in that race, had 186 votes as of Tuesday night’s initial results.

A campaign sign for Randy Sulte at a watch party event where he and several other candidates...
A campaign sign for Randy Sulte at a watch party event where he and several other candidates challenging incumbents on the Anchorage Assembly gathered on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 in Anchorage, Alaska. Sulte holds a slim lead over incumbent John Weddleton for a District 6 seat according to early results.(Jeremy Kashatok/Alaska's News Source)

In other assembly races, Meg Zaletel appears to be holding her Midtown Anchorage seat by a margin of 474 votes against challenger Kathy Henslee.

In West Anchorage, assembly member Kameron Perez-Verdia is leading the race for his seat with 54.5% of the vote compared to challenger Liz Vazquez, who had 40.34% of the vote Tuesday night. A third candidate in the District 3 race, Nial Sherwood Williams, had 383 votes.

Forrest Dunbar led the race for his East Anchorage seat with 56.6% of the vote to challenger Stephanie Taylor’s 40.67%. Christopher Hall, a third candidate in that race, had 201 votes Tuesday night.

When it comes to propositions, the initial results Tuesday night shows voters narrowly in favor of a $111 million capital improvements bond for the Anchorage School District, by a margin of less than 1%. The bond proposition has 20,506 yes votes to 20,360 no votes.

View the initial results for all races and propositions here.

April 5 - 8:50 p.m.

First round of unofficial results show all but one incumbent leading their races

An initial round of preliminary, unofficial results posted Tuesday night by Anchorage election officials shows incumbent Anchorage Assembly member John Weddleton behind in the race to keep his District 6 seat by 153 votes, with his opponent Randy Sulte in the lead with 5,357.

Forrest Dunbar, who represents East Anchorage, is leading his race with 4,235 votes to challenger Stephanie Taylor’s 3,401 votes.

There is no incumbent for District 2, the Chugiak/Eagle River district, and Kevin Cross is leading that race with 3,510 votes. Candidate Gretchen Wehmoff had 2,097 votes, and Vanessa Stephens has 299.

The preliminary results for the races for two Anchorage School Board seats show incumbents Kelly Lessens and Margo Bellamy are both leading — Lessens has 19,575 votes, or 51%, while Bellamy, the current school board president, has 19,307 votes, or 50.42%.

View the full round of unofficial results by clicking here.

The initial tally shows 41,316 ballots cast included. Municipal elections staff had received more than 44,600 returned ballots by the end of Monday, with more arriving through the mail, in person and in drop boxes on election day Tuesday.

Ballots will continue to trickle in over the next several days. They had to be postmarked by Tuesday, but most have until April 18 to arrive to be counted. Results in some races could change as more ballots arrive and are counted, and they won’t be final until the election is certified on April 26.

Election Day is here, as vote centers opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for in-person voting in...
Election Day is here, as vote centers opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for in-person voting in Anchorage’s municipal election.(Nick Swann/Alaska's News Source)

April 5 - 8 p.m.

Polls have closed, round of preliminary results will be published tonight

The vote centers have closed, marking the end of ballot casting in this year’s Anchorage municipal election. Residents had until 8 p.m. Tuesday to vote in person or drop their ballot envelopes in one of several secure drop boxes throughout the municipality.

Voters also had until Tuesday to get their ballots postmarked if they were sending them through the mail.

Election officials said residents can expect an initial round of unofficial, preliminary results to be published around 8:30 p.m. Alaska’s News Source will publish results here as they are posted.

April 5 - 3:37 p.m.

Expect initial round of preliminary results tonight

Anchorage residents can expect the first round of unofficial election results to be published around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night, according to municipal election officials.

After that, elections staff plan to post updated preliminary results by 5 p.m. this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Next week, they’ll update those results at the same time on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Most ballots need to be received by the city by April 18 to be counted — that’s when the Election Commission will hold a public session of canvas to adjudicate challenged ballots.

The election results are scheduled to be certified on April 26, and military and overseas ballots have until noon that day to arrive and be counted.

April 5 - 11:25 a.m.

More than 44,600 ballots received

More than 210,000 ballots were mailed out to registered voters. As of the end of Monday, municipal elections staff had received 44,653 returned ballots, according to a daily tally.

How did you cast your vote in this year’s election? Let us know in our Twitter poll.

April 5 - 7:40 a.m.

Vote centers are open for municipal election

Election Day is here, as vote centers opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday for in-person voting in Anchorage’s municipal election.

Those vote centers are located at:

  • Anchorage City Hall
  • The Loussac Library
  • Eagle River Town Center

They will stay open until 8 p.m., and voters can also drop off their ballots at secure drop boxes throughout the municipality or get them in the mail as long as they’re postmarked by Tuesday.

Voters get in early Tuesday to cast ballots at the Loussac Library in Anchorage.
Voters get in early Tuesday to cast ballots at the Loussac Library in Anchorage.(Nick Swann/Alaska's News Source)

There are five Anchorage Assembly seats up for grabs this year, all with contested races. Anchorage School Board seats are also on the ballot along with several propositions.

After Tuesday, election staff will continue to count ballots as they are received. The city’s Election Commission will hold a public session of canvas on April 18 to adjudicate challenged ballots. Most ballots must be received by the municipality by that date, but military and overseas ballots have until noon on April 26 to arrive to be counted.

April 26 is the date set for certification of the election results.

Live election results will be posted here as they are reported.

In-person voting began slowly Tuesday at Anchorage City Hall.
In-person voting began slowly Tuesday at Anchorage City Hall.(Nick Swann/Alaska's News Source)

April 4 - 5 p.m.

Election Day is tomorrow

Anchorage’s municipal election kicks off at 8 a.m. Tuesday, but residents don’t have to wait until then to cast their vote. As it’s a by-mail election, voters from the city’s different districts have had the option to fill out their ballots and send them in through the mail or through several drop boxes throughout the municipality.

Vote centers are also open for people to vote in person. Vote centers and drop boxes will stay open until 8 p.m. on election day, and all mailed ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.

Voters can also track the status of their ballots this year using a new tool the municipality has implemented. Those interesting in tracking their ballot can sign up on the city’s website.

For more information on this year’s municipal election, head to the city’s election website.

April 4 - 2:30 p.m.

Several contested Anchorage Assembly races headline municipal election

Anchorage residents have several choices before them when they go to cast their votes in this year’s municipal election. There are contested races in Anchorage Assembly Districts 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, in which incumbents face a handful of challengers.

The race for District 2, which covers Eagle River and Chugiak, is contested, though there will not be an incumbent. Assembly member Crystal Kennedy previously announced she would not be running for reelection. Rather, three candidates are running to fill her soon-to-be-vacant seat.

The District 4 assembly members represent Midtown Anchorage, and assembly member Meg Zaletel’s seat is up for reelection. The subject of a failed recall election, Zaletel is running to keep her seat. She faces one challenger, self-described conservative Kathy Henslee.

Incumbent Forrest Dunbar faces two challengers, Christopher Hall and Stephanie Taylor, for his District 5 seat representing East Anchorage.

Catch up on all the races and pre-election coverage here.

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