For some Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor candidates, this summer has been several months of hard fought campaigning, while others’ experience is a bit shorter and lighter.
Some candidates have spent and raised more than three times what others have, while some have stuck to a word of mouth campaign.
But on Oct. 4, candidates will all find themselves on the same playing field — the ballot.
Kasilof resident and former assembly member Debbie Brown said she was pleased with how her bid for the seat has gone and remains optimistic about the results of the race.
“I am running to win outright,” she said. “That’s just the way I proceed.”
Brown said voters should “not look to the past for leadership.”
“My focus is Kenai Peninsula residents first,” she said. “We have life and safety issues involved here with regards to our need for energy and our economy is foundationally pinned upon small business and having a stable population and work force here on the Kenai Peninsula. … I am going to put Kenai Peninsula interests absolutely first and I will do that with a passion that none of the other candidates are able to articulate.”
Soldotna resident and former borough mayor Dale Bagley said the campaign season has been a long one. But, he is encouraged by what he hears from residents.
“I’ve been at all these different forums and events and booths and I’m feeling very optimistic about things,” he said. “I’ve got a wide range of support and we’ll see what happens on Oct. 4. I don’t know if can win it outright, so it will probably go to a runoff, but it is going great.”
He said this election feels similar to the 1999 election.
“There were five people running, four were fairly conservative and then Mike Navarre, and this time there are five that are conservative and then Mike Navarre,” he said. “It is very similar, and I think the results will end up the same way.”
Bagley had a message for the voters.
“I listen to the people, I work really hard and I make good decisions,” he said.
Former state representative and borough mayor Mike Navarre was also pleased with the course of the campaign season.
“I have gotten a great reception wherever I have gone so I feel pretty good about how the campaign has gone — I feel very comfortable and obviously it is up to the voters but I am cautiously optimistic,” he said.
Navarre wasn’t too much concerned about being one of the last candidates to announce his bid.
“I think that because I have been a former mayor and been in politics before, announcing a little later, well I have been able to get the message out and travel around,” he said. “I think it will have very little impact.”
Navarre emphasized that he would “listen and make responsible decisions,” he said.
Soldotna resident Fred Sturman said he has tried to spend his campaign funds as wisely as possible to mount a successful bid in the event a runoff election is needed.
“I think we have done real well with the money that we have got compared to everybody else,” he said. “I see that everyone is outspending me two-to-one or three-to-one. I think we have done well because we’re conservative.”
He said he is confident that his campaign efforts will translate well at the voting booth. But, he said he wanted voters to remember a few things in particular.
“The economy is slowing up and we are going to have to do more with less and we can,” he said. “… We can work together in this borough and then we can do a lot more in this borough with a lot less.”
Former assembly member and Nikiski resident Gary Superman thinks the race might be a toss-up between himself and the two former mayors in the race.
But he said he is hoping comments of encouragement and involvement at the various forums and functions spell success.
“I have got a sense out there that I have got quite a bit of closet support,” he said.
He said voters should look at a candidate’s character and “will to make the tough decisions.”
“I don’t know how not to be honest with people, in fact, it’s to a degree that it hurts me,” he said. “I mean I have alienated people by being bluntly honest. I don’t like to beat around the bush and I don’t think these are times that you need to beat around the bush.”