Borough Mayor Bryce Ward commanded a lead of about 10,000 votes on Tuesday with 40 of 40 precincts reporting at press time.
With respect to the races on the Borough Assembly, David Guttenberg, Savannah Fletcher and Kristan Kelly held the lead all night and are the presumed winners.
Thousands of ballots were cast for the mayor’s race and for three seats on the Borough Assembly. Voters selected replacements for Assemblywomen Leah Berman Williams, Marna Sanford and Liz Lyke, who are leaving the assembly after serving one term.
The new leaders will be sworn in in late October after the election is certified.
Ward, a landlord and contractor who was born and raised in Fairbanks, said he plans to begin his next term of office working on simplifying planning and zoning processes.
This is Ward’s fifth successful election to public office. The former North Pole mayor has never lost an election since getting into politics about 10 years ago.
His opponents were Robert Shields and Chris Ludtke. Ludtke is a blaster at Fort Knox Gold Mine who believes taxation is theft and campaigned on reducing government. Shields, who worked last year as a political canvasser, ran for Borough Mayor for a third time, continuing to share his vision for sustainable living.
Mary Caro Simmons, a former beautician and school bus driver, entered the race as a last-minute write-in candidate on Sept. 21.
Assembly Seat A
Guttenberg was showing a 1,253-vote lead over Kevin McKinley with all precincts reporting.
He grew up in New York and moved to Alaska at age 18 to fight fires and later worked on the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The former labor activist and legislative aide rose up the ranks of the Alaska Democratic Party to chairman. In 2002, he won election to the state House, where he served for 16 years.
Two issues he talked about on the campaign trail were expanding broadband and bringing a veterans’ cemetery to development.
Kevin McKinley, owner of Body Piercing Unlimited & Tattoo, his opponent, campaigned on budget overhaul and solving the housing shortage. He previously ran twice for State House in 2018 and 2020 as the Republican candidate challenging Rep. Adam Wool, D-Fairbanks.
Assembly Seat F
Fletcher was holding a 1,997-vote lead with all precincts reporting. She came to Fairbanks for a year-long judicial clerkship after graduating from Stanford Law School in 2018 and was later appointed to the borough Planning Commission.
Fletcher works as a lawyer for the nonprofit Alaska Legal Services.
Two of the issues she campaigned on are expanding borough-wide broadband access and increasing affordable, quality housing for residents.
Her opponent, Patricia Silva, a life coach, campaigned on conservative values and upholding constitutional freedoms.
Assembly Seat G
Kelly had a 1,664-vote lead with all precincts reporting. The award-winning journalist and 13-year public employee ran on a platform of maintaining and improving public services. She has lived in Two Rivers for 29 years.
“I’m very cautiously optimistic,” she said in a text message shortly before the final precincts reported.
Her opponent, former Assemblyman Lance Roberts, an energy analyst who was born and raised in Fairbanks and has three degrees from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said he will wait until all of the votes are counted before conceding. Roberts had campaigned on lowering taxes and protecting freedoms.
“I’m waiting to see the results,” he wrote in a text message, “but as a numbers guy I feel that the results won’t change.”