Court contest deadline imminent in pivotal House election recount

Democrat Kathryn Dodge is considering a court challenge to last week’s election recount that put Republican Bart LeBon one vote ahead of her in a race to represent downtown Fairbanks. (Dodge photo courtesy of Kathryn Dodge and LeBon photo courtesy of Bart LeBon)

The deadline to legally contest the outcome of last Friday’s pivotal House District 1 election recount is Wednesday afternoon.

The recount last week put Republican Bart LeBon one vote ahead of Democrat Kathryn Dodge for the seat representing downtown Fairbanks. The outcome of this race could determine control of the Alaska House of Representatives, which is closely split between Republicans and a coalition of mostly Democrats.

Dodge, speaking Tuesday afternoon, said she had hoped to have a decision on the whether or not to contest the recount already, but Friday’s earthquake set her team back.

Though the recount is over, Alaska Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke said her office is still busy in anticipation of a lawsuit.

“We’ve just been busy responding to requests for additional information in advance of the recount appeal filing deadline with the Supreme Court tomorrow afternoon,” she said Tuesday.

Bahnke said the requests are from Dodge’s camp.

Meanwhile, Bart LeBon said he’s in a holding pattern, too. He wants to start representing the district, hire staff, make housing and travel arrangements — but said he doesn’t want to make commitments he can’t keep.

LeBon said it wouldn’t surprise him if there’s no lawsuit.

Jeremy Hsieh is the deputy managing editor of the KTOO newsroom in Juneau. He’s a podcast fiend who’s worked in journalism since high school as a reporter, editor and television producer. He ran Gavel Alaska for 360 North from 2011 to 2016, and is big on experimenting with novel tools and mediums (including the occasional animated gif) to tell stories and demystify the news. Jeremy’s an East Coast transplant who moved to Juneau in 2008.

Previous articleGVEA fires up backup generators after earthquake knocks Intertie offline in Mat-Su
Next articleMedicaid in Alaska: excessive spending or an investment in our future?