Carey named new mayor

Absentees put final Soldotna count at 190-170

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2001

David Carey, a 48-year-old government teacher at Skyview High School, will be the new mayor of the city of Soldotna after he is sworn in April 11.

"Dave is our next mayor, and that will be certified on Wednesday night," said City Clerk Pat Burdick late Monday afternoon after 48 absentee ballots were counted.

"Mr. Carey received 190 votes total, and Mr. Wright received 170 total," she added.

"I feel very good that it's over and also that Kearlee Wright and I had a good, clean campaign," Carey said. "I'm now looking forward to working with the city, the schools, the college and local businesses to build our economy in part to provide jobs for young people."

Carey said that, and making the city's presence on the Internet more interactive, are his two personal goals as mayor of the city.

Carey and former mayor A. Kearlee Wright, owner of the King Salmon Inn and Restaurant, faced each other in a runoff election March 27, with Carey holding on to a 163 to 149 vote lead. The pair, and the citizens of the city, were in limbo last week, as they waited for the absentee ballots to be counted.

Wright was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

The election will be certified at the Soldotna City Council meeting, Burdick said, and Carey will be sworn in at next week's meeting. The council is meeting two Wednesdays in a row, since the March 28 meeting was postponed for a week.

With Carey's election as mayor, his city council seat must now be filled, which the council will do by appointment.

"I will advertise for letters of interest to fill Mr. Carey's council seat until (October), and then it will be on the ballot as a two-year seat," Burdick said.

Carey won a one-year term to that seat in 1999 by 25 votes, but only after absentee ballots were counted. When the polls closed election night, he was behind by one. He then ran unopposed in October for a three-year term.

He was one of five who threw their hats into the ring to replace now-Rep. Ken Lancaster, who resigned in January after being elected to the state House of Representatives. Carey will serve until October 2002, when Lancaster's term would have ended.

Though he was the top vote getter in the Feb. 27 special election with 98 votes, Carey did not receive the requisite 40 percent to be elected. He and Wright, who had 84 votes, were forced into a runoff election March 27.

Almost 100 more people -- 360 -- voted in last week's runoff than did in the Feb. 27 election. That's 13 percent of the city's 2,830 registered voters.

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