House District 36 Rep. Dan Ortiz speaks during a debate in 2016. (KRBD file photo by Leila Kheiry)

Dan Ortiz has won the race for southern Southeast Alaska’s House District 36. With nearly 3,700 absentee and early ballots added to the tally, the Ketchikan independent has a more than 20-point lead over his Republican challenger Leslie Becker in unofficial results.

Ortiz thanked voters for their support in a statement to KRBD.

“I thank all the District 36 voters who took the time and made the effort to let their voices be heard, it was a great turnout and testament to our working Democratic Republic form of government,” Ortiz said.

The results were released shortly after 5 p.m. Friday. Becker issued a statement to KRBD acknowledging the former schoolteacher’s win.

“The people of District 36 have chosen. Congratulations to Dan Ortiz for his re-election,” Becker said.

It’ll be Ortiz’s fourth term in the Alaska House representing Ketchikan, Metlakatla, Wrangell and Hydaburg.