Pierce retains seat, Smith and Smalley winners on assembly ballot

Charlie Pierce, incumbent assembly member for the Sterling/Funny River district, said he wasn't nervous heading into Tuesday's election that pitted him against political rookie Eileen K. Sverdrup.

 

"I think that the best place to be fired is at the ballot box, so if the voters had not supported me then it would have been an indication that I hadn't been doing my job," he said. "I feel that I have done an effective job and that the numbers demonstrate that."

With two of the three district precincts reporting, Pierce appears to have another term on the assembly locked up after receiving 66.87 percent of the vote, or 541 votes. Sverdrup gathered 32.51 percent, or 263 votes.

"I'm pleased, but I am disappointed in the overall voter turnout," Pierce said.

"It is kind of disappointing that a small percentage of the people that live in the borough actually make the decisions for the majority of the people that live here."

However, Pierce said he looked forward to serving another term. He felt the current assembly was a good working group, but they can always do better, he said.

"We got some unfinished business and we got some things that we need to do," he said.

Sverdrup said she was disappointed but not discouraged by the election. She is glad she ran, and said the area "couldn't go wrong" with Pierce.

"Charlie is a good man and I like him," she said. "I got introduced mostly to the political scene this year and it was a good experience for me actually. I have got a lot I can improve on to get my ideas out to the voters and I need to learn from those things and I thought it was a great season."

She confirmed that she would consider running for the seat again in the future, but added she would like to be "a little more active" as a citizen to bring ideas before the assembly.

"Nobody can be disappointed to not have the work load that it would have taken, so it is quite a commitment if you do get elected," she said. "So my hat is off to everybody who makes an effort and gets out there and does it."

Incumbent assembly member Hal Smalley, who ran unopposed for the Kenai district assembly seat, joked that it was a "hard-fought campaign."

Smalley received 95.41 percent of the vote, or 624 votes; 30 write-in votes were counted, totaling 4.59 percent of the result.

He said he wanted to thank his supporters and was looking forward to continuing to serve the public.

"It's a great group of folks to work with, I enjoy what I am doing and I'm looking forward to another year," he said.

In the most crowded of the Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly races, District 8 incumbent Bill Smith easily won re-election over his two opponents.

With 80 percent of votes counted in the district, Smith led with 47 percent to second-place finisher and political newcomer Kelly Cooper, who had 30 percent. Rounding out the field was Homer City Council Member Bryan Zak, with 23 percent.

Smith and Cooper both credited his name recognition with giving Smith his win.

"If you've been in there a few years you get some name recognition," Smith said. "I think it's an affirmation of the work I've been doing."

"Congratulations to Bill," Cooper said. "He's done a good job. I respect that and I think he'll do fine."

That civility marked the campaign. With no burning issues, campaign forums and debates tended to be friendly and amicable.

Homer News reporter Michael Armstrong contributed to this report.

 

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