Barring a surprise after absentee and questioned ballots are tallied, voters in Soldotna will be going to the polls once again at the end of the month to determine who replaces Jane Stein on the city council.
Five candidates were vying for the spot and the highest vote getter Tuesday was Peter Micciche with 211 votes.
That total, however, represents only 38.22 percent of the votes cast. The city charter requires a 40 percent plurality.
With no one candidate receiving 40 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held between the two top vote getters.
Even that result is up in the air.
The second highest vote getter was Lydia Bower with 121. Linda Murphy nabbed 120 votes.
"I think we're gonna have to wait till the official canvas and see what the absentee and questioned ballots show," said Murphy on Tuesday evening.
"It's still too close to call. I would prefer to be in Mr. Micciche's position at this point," she said.
Bower said she was really pleased to be in second place at the moment.
"Linda (Murphy) and Penny (Vadla) are really strong candidates," she said, of the next two highest vote getters. Vadla received 81 votes.
The fifth candidate, Chris Pankratz, received 17.
"I went from being 100 percent unknown to having a good base of support," Bower said of being a first-time candidate and relative newcomer to the community. "It's really close."
Micciche said, "I'm flattered and honored folks demonstrated a high level of trust in me. If successful in the runoff, I plan to live up to their trust.
"Hats are off to the others who are all willing to run (for office)," he said.
Saying she was somewhat disappointed, Vadla said, "This was my first time running. Probably not having my picture and blurb in the election book hurt me. That was due to my misunderstanding. That was my fault.
"I am happy for the people who came out at the top. I think we have some good candidates there. Good luck to all who are still in the runoff," Vadla said.
When told of the election outcome, Pankratz said, "That's great. I've known Pete Micciche a long time. I'll be voting for him again."
A runoff election will be conducted Oct. 30.
Two other council seats up for election in Soldotna those of Ed Sleater and Shane Horan saw no opposition candidates.
Sleater was re-elected to a three-year term with 401 votes. Horan, who will finish out the remaining one year of a term to which he was appointed after Lisa Parker resigned, received 396.
Vote totals are unofficial as reported on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Web site Tuesday evening.
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