FAIRBANKS — The race grew closer as election night turned into Wednesday morning, but Rep. David Guttenberg maintained his lead in the 30 precincts spread across more than 600 miles that make up state House District 38.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Guttenberg, a Fairbanks Democrat, had 45.12 percent of the vote. Incumbent Rep. Alan Dick, R-Nenana, had 40.39 percent. Non-partisan candidate Dorothy Shockley had 14.2 percent.
The District 38 election featured two sitting representatives forced into the same district by decennial redistricting.
The District 38 race also featured a diverse electorate that heavily favored Guttenberg (62.8 percent) in Ester, University Hills and the Goldstream Valley but only gave him 27.81 percent of the vote in remote communities off the road system.
Guttenberg is a former pipeline worker and a new owner of a peony-exporting business who has served in the state House since 2002, making him the senior member of the Interior delegation.
Guttenberg said Wednesday that he is pleased to be returning to Juneau and, he hopes, his seat on the House Finance Committee.
He said the election results support his long-held argument that districts need to be re-drawn.
“The district has still been declared unconstitutional, and I think the voting pattern justifies that being re-visited,” he said. “The justification was that this was a ‘Native’ district. It clearly didn’t perform the way they thought it was gong to.”
Although Dick earned more votes in the rural areas, Guttenberg said he will do his best to represent his large Bush constituency.
“If you look at the difference between my voting record and other rural legislators, the good ones who know what they’re voting for, I think you’ll see it’s comparable,” he said.
It was a difficult election night for Shockley, who campaigned in part on her Native ancestry and experience in rural communities.
“I certainly have a new appreciation for candidates and the hard work and everything that they put into it,” she said.
She said she was disappointed with voter turnout in District 38 villages and with losses by Native candidates across the state, including Sen. Al Kookesh, D-Angoon, for whom she spent eight years working as a legislative aide.
Wednesday’s election total does not include questioned and absentee ballots. The last results to come in Wednesday were from Nenana, where results were not available until Wednesday afternoon because of a problem scanning the ballots, Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said.
Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545.