In the only contested race in House District 9, Mike Chenault of Nikiski defeated Linda Reynolds of Kalifornsky Beach Road in the closed Republican primary. But there are no hard feelings from the vanquished.
"I did the best I can do, and that's it," Reynolds said. "It's not that I lost, it's that I got in the ballgame."
Reynolds said the people of District 9, a district that stretches from her home on Gaswell Road to Nikiski, where her competitor lives, will be well served by Chenault.
"With Mike Chenault, we're on safe ground," she said. "I will absolutely send the message to my supporters to support Mike. He's an honorable man and a hard-working man. He's not a status-quo politician."
Chenault received 760 votes, or 63.87 percent of the votes cast in the closed Republican primary. Reynolds got 430 votes, which accounted for 36.13 percent of the votes cast.
Of District 9's 10,268 registered voters, 1,248, or 12.15 percent chose the Republican ballot.
Chenault said he appreciated Reynolds' support and said if she had won, he would have supported her in the general election.
"She did a good job with a grass-roots campaign with no money," Chenault said. "She got a lot of votes."
Meanwhile, Democratic incumbent candidate Hal Smalley of Kenai ran unopposed and received 640 votes, or 80.86 percent of the votes cast in the open ballot. He shared that ballot with Republican Moderate candidate James Price of Nikiski, who received 152 votes or 19.14 percent of the vote.
In the open ballot, 815 of the 10,268 registered voters turned out; a meager 7.94 percent.
Smalley said now was the time to get down to the business of the general election campaign.
"Now we can get down to the issues and the differences between the three of us," he said.
Smalley said his experience would be the main difference. He served more than a decade on the Kenai City Council before being elected to the Legislature in 1998.
"It takes time to figure out the job," Smalley said. "And I think I did a good job."
He said Price's presence in the general election is a wild card.
"It's possible the Republican Moderate can take votes from me, and he could take votes from Mike," Smalley said.
The relatively low turnout in the primary does not phase Smalley, who said the ballot initiatives and presidential race should bring the voters out in force come November.
"There's a bit more at stake in the general election," he said. "It's for the whole bag of marbles. The primary was just to see who got in the game."
Chenault said he also thinks there will be a large turnout in the general election and thought the closed Republican ballot hampered turnout in the primary.
"I'm disappointed in that," Chenault said. "Also, since Hal didn't have any competition, I think that a lot of Democrats stayed home."
He said he wouldn't be surprised if 50 percent of those registered will turn out for the general election.
He said while he and his two opponents may have some agreements on some of the major issues such as road maintenance, excellence in education and protecting the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend, he will try to set himself apart from Smalley and Price simply by being a Republican.
"If I'm elected and sent down there, I feel pretty comfortable that I'll be sitting in the majority," Chenault said. "I may be wrong, but I really feel that as part of the majority, I will have more say so where dollars are spent."
Meanwhile, Price said he feels pretty good about his 152 votes.
"I haven't really put any effort into the primary election, and I have no name recognition, and I've never run for office before," he said. "I started at 1 percent, and now I have 8 percent. I'm pretty happy."
Price said he now plans to work harder at getting his message out for the general election.
"I hope to do better, I hope to get my message out between now and Nov. 7."
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