Alaska’s state primary wrapped up Tuesday, and KRBD is tracking results for southern Southeast.
Incumbent Sitka Republican Sen. Bert Stedman leads his sole challenger Michael Sheldon by about 600 votes. Sheldon conceded Wednesday morning on Facebook that he’d lost the primary, but suggested he might mount a write-in campaign in November as Stedman will be unopposed.
In House District 35’s Republican primary — that’s central Southeast including northern Prince of Wales Island — Kenny Skafelstad leads Arthur Martin by 23 votes with all but one precinct reporting.
That Republican primary could be decided by absentee ballots, which will be counted starting next Tuesday, August 25. About 700 ballots from District 35 had been received by Election Day, though that total could rise significantly. Ballots can arrive up to 10 days after Election Day as long as they were postmarked by August 18.
The winner of that race will face Democratic Sitka incumbent Rep. Jonathan Kriess-Tomkins in the general election.
In House District 36 — that’s Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Hyder and Hydaburg — Leslie Becker is unopposed for the Republican nomination. But roughly 20% of Republican primary voters didn’t vote in the race. That’s the second-largest share of abstentions statewide among unopposed candidates. Only Alaskan Independence Party candidate Greg Madden of Soldotna got a smaller share of votes in uncontested races, as of Wednesday.
But it’s not unprecedented in recent history — in the 2018 Republican primary for District 36, roughly a third of voters chose not to vote for candidate Trevor Shaw, whose name was the only one on the primary ballot.
Becker will face independent incumbent Rep. Dan Ortiz in the general election.
Neither of Juneau’s representatives faced a competitive primary. And only Democratic Rep. Andi Story in District 34 has a challenger in November: former state economist Ed King, an independent. Juneau’s other lawmaker Rep. Sara Hanna of District 33 will be running unopposed.
This story has been updated