The frontrunners for Borough Assembly include two incumbents, Matt Cooper and Mindy O’Neall, and two newcomers, Frank Tomaszewski and Jimi Cash, following Tuesday’s election, but more than 2,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots remain outstanding.
Cooper, a lawyer and presiding officer of the assembly, enjoyed the biggest election night lead of any assembly candidate with over 57% of the vote or 6,418 votes to challenger Zachary Floyd’s 4,619 votes.
O’Neall, a labor leader, took the second-most votes of any assembly candidate — 6,122, which is over than 53%. Her challenger, Jeffrey Rentzel, attracted 5,218 votes.
Tomaszewski, a birch syrup producer, is leading three opponents with 5,552 votes and is on track to unseat Assemblyman Shaun Tacke, who received 4,235 votes.
Jimi Cash, a contractor, has also apparently beat an incumbent in a four-way race, getting 5,057 votes to 4,352 votes received by Assemblyman Geoffry Wildridge.
The winners will be sworn in on Oct. 24 after the final ballots are counted.
The results, if they stick, are likely to change the political makeup of the assembly.
Tomaszewski and Cash, who both ran as conservatives, appear to have defeated progressive incumbents.
Many votes on the assembly have been 8-1 with Assemblyman Aaron Lojewski acting as the sole conservative on the panel.
Lojewski was at the Mona Lisa Drexler Borough Assembly Chambers to take in election returns and said he suspects the two new members might join him in some votes.
Tomaszewski was reluctant to discuss policy positions after a long day of campaigning.
“I’m going to be open. I’m going to be honest. I’m going to be available,” he said.
Cash complimented his opponents for behaving gentlemanly and said that he looks forward to digging into the borough budget.
“I’m just looking forward to just getting into the meat of the budget. It’s going to be a big deal this coming year,” he said.
Cooper said he didn’t know yet if he would seek another term as presiding officer.
“I’m hoping, however it turns out, that the assembly will continue to do its job looking out for the best interests of the people of the Fairbanks North Star Borough,” he said.
O’Neall’s goal is to make government work better for ordinary people, she said.
“I’m ready to make the rules work better for us,” she said.
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7545. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMborough.