Mat-Su District 1 Race Too Close To Call

Voter turnout in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough was thin on Tuesday, but the handful of voters that did show up at the polls upset the status quo for what has been until now a pro-development Borough Assembly.

Unofficial results are showing that Matanuska-Susitna Borough voters have put a political novice and a long time political activist in the two available Borough Assembly seats.

Jim Sykes has the edge on challenger Doug Glenn in the District 1 race.  Only 45 votes separate the two in what is sure to be a squeaker before all the absentee and questioned ballots come in.  Reached at his home Tuesday night, Sykes said about 260 – 300 ballots are still out in the precincts in his district

“I knew it would be close and I’m just grateful to all the people who voted, first of all, and to the many volunteers that came to help in the campaign; and it’s always been better to be ahead than behind, of course we don’t know the results,” Sykes said. “I hope it holds up, the trend is good, and we’ll know when they get to counting the absentee ballots.”

Sykes said during his campaign that he has a long standing record of being able to work with all kinds of groups, while helping to ensure that people have a strong voice in government.

In the Borough’s District 2 race, newcomer Matthew Beck trounced incumbent Noel Woods in a surprise upset.  Beck ran on a solidly pro-agricultural lands protection platform, as opposed to former farmer Woods, who favors strong industrial development in the Valley.  Results Tuesday night indicate Beck took 835 votes over Woods’ 712.

Just over 16 percent of the Borough’s registered voters turned out at the polls on Tuesday.

They shot down a proposed 5 percent sales tax on alcohol, but approved a 50 percent state match for road and transportation bonds.

One thousand, eight hundred and ninety five absentee and questioned ballots remain to be counted in the Borough’s 39 precincts. The Matanuska Susitna Borough election will be certified on Oct. 15.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen