The House District 8 race between Ken Lancaster and Pete Sprague, both longtime residents and public servants of the central Kenai Peninsula, ended in victory for Lancaster.
Lancaster attributed his success in the election to voters' recognition of his experience, to the issues he addressed in his campaign and to his campaign staff.
Nearly half the registered voters in the district voted in the election. While 2,070 voters chose Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Sprague, 3,698 voters chose Lancaster, Soldotna's mayor, who ran on a platform of establishing direction for the state and instituting accountability in government.
Throughout his campaign, Lancaster emphasized the need for a fiscal plan and mission statement for Alaska. He said the vote was a response to those themes.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Borough Assemblyman Jack Brown shares a laugh with Kristin Lambert and Steve Vanek while discussing election results.
"The other thing (that appealed to voters) is my proven track record of being able to work with budgets at all levels," Lancaster said.
"My proven track record is, I think, why people want me working in Juneau," he added. "People know I'm accessible."
Lancaster said he plans to introduce a bill to limit the legislative session to 90 days, which, he said, he believes will make the Legislature more efficient and more accountable. He said it is important for legislators to be home in their districts.
"Just because we're not in Juneau doesn't mean we're not back home in our districts, working for the state of Alaska and for our districts," he said.
Lancaster also said he is going to Juneau with an agenda.
"Others have said I'm not going to Juneau with an agenda," he said. "I am going to Juneau with an agenda. It is to build accountability and some statesmanship into the legislative process, (with) trust, accountability and integrity."
Lancaster praised his campaign manager Helen Donahue, his technical assistant "Huck" Hucklebee and his media manager Kris Erikson, as well as other campaign supporters, for their hard work.
"I can't thank them enough," he said.
Lancaster also praised Sprague for his part in "a good, clean race."
"I know he worked just as hard as I did," he said.
Sprague returned Lancaster's kind remarks.
"Mr. Lancaster ran a good race and had a lot of support," he said.
Sprague said he was disappointed about losing the race.
"I had expected to do a little better than I did," he said. "But I'm satisfied with my efforts. ... It was a very good campaign on both sides."
Although Sprague had only kind words for Lancaster, he expressed concern over what he called "a veto-proof majority" of Republicans in the Legislature.
"I would have liked to have seen more balance in the Legislature," he said.
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