A former Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member has dropped out of the race for borough mayor and is throwing his support behind a new candidate.
Seward resident Ron Long confirmed Thursday he has decided to end his bid for the borough mayor seat currently held by Dave Carey, who is not seeking re-election. Long said he was prompted to pull out of the race after hearing former mayor Mike Navarre would also be competing for the position.
“Mike did have the decency and respect to call and we talked about it for several conversations before he announced,” he said. “After he announced, I had some further soul searching to do to decide if I wanted to stay in the race or not and compete in what seems to be an ever broadening field of candidates.”
Long said he made his decision after measuring both candidacies with or without the other.
“I did decide that the best thing for me to do for the good of the race, for the good of the borough was to withdraw so that they could at least have a candidate with a good chance that I could back,” he said.
Long, who served on the assembly for nine years in addition to holding other positions on boards and community organizations, originally filed his intent to run for the position in March.
“While we are all competing for the same voters, Mike and I were targeting the same groups of voters and we share a lot of common philosophy,” he said. “What I didn’t want to do is split the vote and then by default award the mayorship to one of the other candidates.”
Long’s decision narrows the race to five competitors — Dale Bagley and Fred Sturman, both of Soldotna, Debbie Brown of Kasilof, Gary Superman of Nikiski and Navarre of Kenai.
The decision did leave a mark on Long at a personal level, he said.
“There is a hint of disappointment, what ifs and those other scenarios of ‘gee whiz I could have been a contender’ kind of thing,” Long said. “Practically, that’s not a part of the decision-making process.”
Long said he was confident he would remain active in the community at large and involved with public service in some capacity.
“I’m OK with that,” he said.