It looks like Soldotna Vice Mayor Jim Stogsdill will have to stay in the center square a little longer, as the city's newest mayor was not determined in Tuesday's special election.
As many speculated -- including Stogsdill -- there will be a runoff election because no candidate received 40 percent of the vote.
The runoff between David Carey and A. Kearlee Wright, the top two vote-getters, will most likely be April 3, City Clerk Patricia Burdick said.
Carey received 98 votes, or 37 percent of the total, while Wright received 84 votes, or 32 percent.
Kristin Lambert had 48 votes, or 18 percent of the total, while Mike Beals got 26 votes and 10 percent, and John Smallwood got four votes and 2 percent of the 260 votes cast.
There are still 20 outstanding absentee ballots waiting to be counted, and if Carey receives 14 of them, it should put him over the top. Burdick did not say when the absentee ballots would be tallied.
Carey, a teacher at Skyview said he was pleased to be in a runoff.
"I'm really proud of the support I've been shown, and I hope I can be successful in a month," Carey said. "I know Kearlee will run a positive campaign, and I will as well."
Carey said he hopes he and Wright can talk about the issues some more, but his main tactic will be to remain visible in the community.
Wright, owner of the King Salmon Motel, said he will not do anything different in the next month before the runoff election.
"We're still looking at a town for businesses and family, that's where I set," Wright said, adding he could support Carey. "He's a good man."
If the absentee ballots put Carey over the top, the election will be certified at the March 14 council meeting. If not, the runoff election will be certified on April 11, and the city's 16th mayor could be sworn in as early as the next Monday.
But Burdick said most mayors like to wait until the next council meeting, which would be April 25 -- keeping Stogsdill at the helm for almost two more months.
Voter turnout was described as "light but steady" by Burdick.
Soldotna's new mayor will serve until October 2002, the date Rep. Ken Lancaster's term would have ended. Lancaster resigned as mayor after being elected to the Legislature in November.
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