Porter retains mayor's office

Posted: Wednesday, October 06, 2010

With some 57 percent of the vote, incumbent Pat Porter beat out current Kenai City Council Member Mike Boyle for another term as Kenai mayor.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Pat Porter does some last-minute campaigning Tuesday morning at the corner of Bridge Access Road and the Kenai Spur Highway. Kenai voters gave the incumbent the green light to another term.

"I'm so excited," Porter said from her home Tuesday night. "I was very, very pleased, honestly, that the citizens of this community wanted me to continue to be their mayor."

Although she said she was "a little nervous" on election day, ultimately she "had faith that that's what would happen."

This will be Porter's third term as mayor after serving four years as a Kenai council member.

Throughout her campaign Porter stressed the need for more responsible economic development within Kenai and attracting more business to come to town.

Boyle said he was not expecting the results of the election tonight.

"I think we're all disappointed and actually we're a little surprised, but, then again, it is what it is," he said.

Boyle said that another run for Kenai mayor in the future, or even for Kenai City Council again next year is up in the air for now. But he's ready to continue to serve on Kenai council for the last year in his term.

"I'm getting along at where I am in my life and there are many options for a person my age," he said. "I do look forward to working with my council people this year and, actually, I'd like to work with Pat as her vice-mayor."

This is the second time Porter has campaigned and beat Boyle, winning by some 220 votes in the 2007 election.

This year Porter and Boyle's campaigns for mayor really stepped up the race -- and budget -- for the city's leader.

Both Porter and Boyle said they spent less than the $5,000 limit set up by the Alaska Public Offices Commission for municipal elections.

Boyle would not disclose the exact amount of money he spent on his campaign but confirmed it's less than the state's spending ceiling, with some "flex room."

Porter said she had spent some $4,500 as of Saturday. She kept costs down in the last few days of her campaign by going door-to-door.

Going door-to-door is her favorite part of running for office, she said.

"It's really fun to talk to the people," she said. "It's amazing how many people have small, trivial concerns and I've been writing them all down to be addressed."

She also campaigned by giving out popcorn at August's Industry Appreciation Day as well as daffodil and crocus bulbs at a Kenai Chamber of Commerce forum.

"I've done that every time I've run for an election. The prior year it was candy bars," she said. "I've always done something like that."

While Boyle has gone door-to-door speaking with constituents as well, he's found some other approaches to promoting himself.

Boyle said his campaign this year was much more organized than it was when he ran against Porter before.

"With knowing the full scale of running a campaign it's easier to get prepared," he said.

He said he had a group of campaign volunteers that gave him ideas for advertising this year.

"There's a lot of people who want change," he said. "They've showed up to help the campaign, and that's phenomenal. It's made it easier."

He said he did a lot of advertising this go-around -- including front-page sticker ads on the newspaper and an insert on the difference in voting records between himself and Porter.

"I think in America we advertise and I think advertising has a place in running an election when the resource is available. If it appears to be something that will work, why not try it," Boyle said.

Porter battled back with inserts of her own challenging Boyle's statements that she supported raising senior housing rents and sponsored and supported adding more restrictions on private property, among other things.

"Many of the things Mr. Boyle addressed were not truths," Porter said.

Porter said she was not surprised with Boyle's increased advertising efforts this year.

"That's what politics is all about," she said.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at brielle.schaeffer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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