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Mike the mayor

Mike Navarre to take reins of borough from Dave Carey

Posted: October 28, 2011 - 3:40pm  |  Updated: October 29, 2011 - 4:25pm

Kenai Peninsula voters have selected Mike Navarre, a 55-year-old area businessman and well-known former legislator, to be their next borough mayor.

According to information released by the borough clerk’s office Friday, Navarre took 5,039 votes, or 52.68 percent of the vote, which is about 500 more votes than Fred Sturman, who gathered 4,526 votes, or 47.32 percent.

Of the 41,067 registered borough voters, 9,600 cast a ballot in the election, which is a voter turnout of 23.4 percent, according to the borough.

In total, borough officials had to count 1,893 absentee ballots after the Tuesday election. There was just a 233 vote difference between the two candidates after Tuesday’s voting. Navarre took 1,075 of the absentee votes to Sturman’s 818.

“I feel good,” Navarre said. “I have been anxious the last few days. Cautiously optimistic, but I’m not one to take anything for granted. Now that it is over, Fred and I have talked and we are going to get together at some point in the next several days … and talk with each other.”

The election numbers will not be finalized until Tuesday as the canvass board will review any absentee by-mail ballots, or by-mail precinct ballots received on Monday or Tuesday, borough clerk Johni Blankenship said in an email to press.

Navarre, considered a front-runner in the election by many, previously served a three-year term as borough mayor starting in 1996, served from 1985 to 1996 in the state legislature and has run his family’s businesses interests, which include several Arby’s and Radio Shack locations, for more than a decade.

Navarre and Sturman advanced to the run-off election after emerging from a field of candidates that included former borough mayor Dale Bagley, former borough assembly member Debbie Brown, former assembly member Gary Superman and Nikiski resident Tim O’Brien.

Sturman said Friday he would consider running for the position again if he felt his health was good enough.

“We put up our best fight and I basically want to thank all the people that did vote,” Sturman said. “Only one person out of five got up and voted so the people that did vote got their will and we will live with their will.

“I’m proud of my campaign and Mike ran a good, clean campaign and so I can’t really complain.”

Current Mayor Dave Carey endorsed Navarre for the position before the election.

“I was pleased with the campaigns that all six candidates ran, and I think Mike will do a very fine job,” Carey said. “I think experience is absolutely a critical issue that he has the experience with the borough, but also he has connections with the state.”

Borough assembly president Gary Knopp said he was glad to have Navarre as mayor.

“Mike’s smart, energetic, he’s been there, he knows the ropes, he is going to be a great mayor and I am excited to have him in there,” he said. “Although I will say Mr. Sturman ran an excellent campaign. This is about as close a race as I have seen in my 30 years here.”

Navarre will be sworn into office on Thursday, but will start his position on Nov. 7, per state law.

Navarre said he has been mulling over how to move forward.

“Obviously that is not going to happen overnight, but I am looking forward to the challenge and being accountable to the residents,” he said.

As of Friday, he hadn’t made any staffing decisions.

“I am going to spend the weekend and the next week or so trying to figure out what I really want to do and get my feet on the ground before I make any major decisions,” he said.

Navarre said he felt “cautiously optimistic” heading into the election, but was feeling a “bit of anxiety” as well on Friday.

He said he thought his combination of experience in government and in business put him ahead of Sturman with voters.

“I have a track record, so I guess people just thought I was the best choice,” he said. “It was a close race so there are obviously a lot of people out there who are frustrated with government. I guess I like to think that they like my responsible approach to government.”

Navarre said his time spent campaigning didn’t change his stances much.

“The only change I can really think of is that I spent a lot of time traveling around the borough and hearing from residents about some of the issues and the various communities and I will do a lot more of that,” he said. “Beyond that, I haven’t changed much.

“My approach to government is a reasoned, responsible approach. I know that government needs to be accountable to the citizens. My decision making process is what it is, I’m very deliberative about the way I do things and I try to make my decisions based on what I believe is in the best public interest and that was the theme of my campaign consistently and that’s how I am as a person.”

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spwright 10/28/11 - 06:20 pm
Congratulations ! 10/28/11

Well, I don't believe it ! Someone that I Voted For actually WON !


SPW "Airborne"

ps: now there will be all sorts of whining about what a bad decision this election turned out to be.

kenai_kid 10/28/11 - 06:29 pm
An election, NOT a mandate

I too voted for Mike. However, the results do not indicate a mandate of the voters. This local election should put elected officials on notice state wide that the voting public has more power than the average politician has campaign funds! Do your job or face the "term limits" of the 1/5 that vote.
To both candidates, thank you for a clean and mudless campaign. You stuck to the issues and allowed those who chose to vote to decide!

radiokenai 10/29/11 - 08:01 am
Well...I didn't Vote for Mike

However I hope that he will do us a good job. In response to obama, I refuse to vote for democrats...forever. Regardless of their credibility or experience, we all need to stand together, especially in the next Presidential election. Thankfully, Mike is Democrat in Name Only. I sure hope he takes a moment to see how close he came to losing before he makes any decisions.

Norseman 10/29/11 - 08:38 am

I am happy to see that Mr Navarre has won the election.

Allen 10/29/11 - 08:48 am
With Hope That Mayor Navarre "Gets It"

I am hoping that the newly elected Mayor gets some insight into the election results, but it doesn't look hopeful from his comments in this article.

Voters aren't stupid and this election was not about the federal election trickling down into local elections. This election was a message that many Borough voters are sick of the status quo at the Borough. If Mike Navarre wants to reach out to those voters, he will include them in his "team" instead of just arrogantly thinking they are stupid or just "going where the wind is blowing" because they don't agree with his point of view.

And if he (and the Assembly) exclude these voters, continue to shove their initiatives down the citizens' throats, and play games to get around voter initiatives such as term limits he will be a one term mayor just like Dave Carey.

cheapersmokes 10/29/11 - 11:01 am
Election results

For some reason I look for these election results to be reversed by the next election because I don't think the assembly will have a drastic change of heart on how they raise and spend tax dollars and Navarre will continue his past practices in being voted out of office. I am sure that Fred will continue to watch out for all of us though.

normolson 10/29/11 - 04:05 pm
New or Recycled Mayor

Don't miss the fact that the vote was pretty much 50-50.
That says something for the growing opposition to higher taxes, corruption, special favors, etc.

Let a few months go by and you'll see highway signs that say "Shoulda voted for Fred."

crisppusa 10/29/11 - 08:56 pm
Sorry... but Navarre is another retread..

Just look for more of the same....from his career..

more taxes/ union special interests/ unsustainable spending.

When are we going to learn....Over promising and spending other
peoples money is not a formula for success.

RaySouthwell 10/30/11 - 09:05 am
Mr. Mayor

Mr. Mayor,
I hope you will support the Anti-Bullying policy that was developed at Central Peninsula Hospital and never implemented.

I will consistently be at the Borough Assembly meetings to discuss the history of bullying at CPH and the need for an Anti-bullying policy for the protection of all.

I have a lot to say and the public is interested.

See you soon.

Norseman 10/30/11 - 11:58 am
wrong again ray

..."I have a lot to say and the public is interested...."

Wrong again Ray. The only one's interested in you are the Fed's and norm.

You have a very long history of being an agitator, troublemaker, and anti-authority. You and norm were both kicked out of the michigan militia because even they felt you were both too extreme.

In this day and age, employers look at all facets of a perspective employees life. Yours would have taken only a few quick minutes on google or you tube to see and hear what a potential problem you and the militia could be for any employer.

You tube has plenty of vids of militias ranting and raving against any and everything. Norm's constant end of the world predictions and your constant wishes to start a new government have branded both of you.

Since both of you have started another militia, we have seen and HEARD of the fairbanks militia openly and verbally planning to kill innocent Alaskan citizens to protect their ideology.

You getting fired from the hospital is not about bullying but your inability to play well with others. Pouring fuel on fires is what the militia does the best. Create hate and discontent so you may try to gather followers to push your ideals.

You tried to gather strength in your hospital cause by having your cohort norm olson get a seat on the hospital board. How that ever was allowed is also something that should be investigated. Anyone not living under a rock would have known of you and norm's connections with each other and the militia.

I hope the new mayor makes it clear that he will NOT support this so called milita. Your personal issues with the hospital are just that. This community has grown very weary of hearing you go on and on about your beef with the hospital.

Many folks get fired every day from their jobs. MOST of them move on and find another job. Some hire lawyers and take their cases to court. When a community gets one that stands on the street corner and wails to the world on how unjust or mean his ex boss was tires quickly of hearing it.

I once lived near a set of railroad tracks. The first week or two I had a tough time getting to sleep over the noise it would make. Eventually, it soon becomes background noise and I didn't hear it anymore.

RaySouthwell 10/30/11 - 01:16 pm

I just oppose injustice. I have seen a lot of it these days.

I bet you hate the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street folks.

Anybody standing up against corruption.

You probably love the banks and the fine job they have done taking down the financial system.

I think most people would wake up if the train blew the whistle.

After all, I am a whistleblower.
See you at the Borough Assembly meetings.

Eaglerock50 10/31/11 - 05:37 pm
Special Interests Win - Taxpayers Lose

Navarre pandered to the unions and commercial fishers his entire time in Juneau. He partnered with liberal Democrats from around the state and did a horrible job representing our interests on the Peninsula.

We can expect the taxpayers to get the shaft with him as mayor.

TheKenaiKid 11/02/11 - 09:10 am
Special interests, etc.

That the vote was close to 50-50 shows more about the ignorance and unfocused anger of the general public than it does about their political acumen. The Fred folks consistently stuck to their nonsensical arguments without ever attempting to engage in meaningful dialogue or debate. They relied entirely on illogical smear tactics, such as claiming that Navarre is "more of the same," that he's "a liberal" and that his primary interest is sticking up for the "status quo," "big government," and "special interests." None of these arguments were based in either fact or even anecdote, and appear to mainly be Sound-Off driven drivel.

It's disappointing that so many people in this community are swayed by fear and loathing of the unknown rather than common sense. Anyone who heard these two gentlemen speak about specific issues could clearly see that one candidate clearly had a better grasp of the issues and would do a much better job looking out for the interests of ALL voters.

Fred's supporters believe that the only government is no government, that anyone with a degree is an intellectual elite and that people who take the time to listen to all sides are left-wing wackos. They hate Mr. Navarre because he listens to all sides of each argument, then makes a reasoned decision. They would prefer a leader whose sole purpose in government is to destroy it so that they have to pay even less in taxes than they already do. Their interests are selfish and driven only by misinformation, prejudice and a stunning lack of common sense and understanding. That they rallied behind a self-described illiterate with no experience working to solve complex problems shows just how little they actually care about the day-to-day operations of this borough.

Finally, the fact that so many people rallied around Fred because he's a "real" local with "real-world" experience is clear evidence that many of these people have no idea what they're talking about. Mr. Navarre's family has been around here far longer than most, and Mike has been a respected part of this area's business community since before most of his detractors were born. That he was branded as some kind of liberal Outsider would be laughable if it weren't so insulting. Mr. Navarre's family homesteaded on the North Road long before just about all of the North Roaders who now brand him a tool of Outside interests arrived in Alaska.

While it's refreshing that Mr. Navarre won the election, it's a bit disturbing that this community has become such a hotbed of ignorance and fear.

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