FAIRBANKS - Alaska voters went to the polls Tuesday to decide hotly contested races for governor and Alaska's U.S. Senate seat, as well as ballot measures that sought to legalize recreational marijuana, raise the minimum wage at limit certain types of mining in the state.
The race between Democrat Sen. Mark Begich and Republican Dan Sullivan drew national attention and millions of dollars from PACs. With three-fourths of the precincts reporting as of 10:55 p.m., Sullivan was in the lead, with 49 percent of the total, a lead of more than 11,000 votes.
Incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell faced a strong challenge from independent candidate Bill Walker, who teamed up with Democrat Byron Mallott. As results came in, Walker took an early lead but Parnell drew closer as the night went on. With 73 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had a 1,690 vote lead.
Ballot Measure 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Alaska was ahead with 52 percent of the vote.
Ballot Measure Three seeks raise the minimum wage of $7.75 an hour by $2 an hour over two years and adjust it for inflation after that. Those in favor of raising the minimum wage took a strong lead, with 68 percent in favor.
Ballot Measure Four would require legislative approval for a large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation near Bristol Bay. This could have implications for the massive proposed gold-and-copper project known as the Pebble Mine. The measure was passing, with 65 percent saying yes.
Alaska's sole U.S. Congressman, Don Young, faced a challenge by Democrat Forrest Dunbar, who ran a buzzworthy, social media-centered campaign. Young raised far more money, however, and handily won re-election to his 22nd term in office with 51 percent of the vote to Dunbar's 40 percent. Libertarian Jim McDermott had garnered about 7 percent of the total.
Several seats were up for grabs in the Alaska Legislature.
In Senate Seat A, Republican Pete Kelly topped Democrat Tamara Kruse Roselius, 61 to 38 percent with all precincts reporting.
Republican incumbent Click Bishop led Democrat Dorothy Shockley for Senate Seat C, 67 to 32 percent with 31 of 42 precincts in.
In House District 1, Republican Gregory Bringhurst was defeated by incumbent Democrat Scott Kawasaki. Kawasaki carried 54 percent of the total.
In House District 2, Republican Steve Thompson outpaced Democrat Larry Murakami with 67 percent of the vote with 4 of 4 precincts in.
In House District 3, Republican Tammie Wilson handily defeated Democrat Sharron Hunter by more than 3,000 votes with all precincts in.
In House District 4, Republican Joe Blanchard II was lagging behind Democrat David Guttenberg with 7 of 7 precincts in. Guttenberg garnered 56 percent of the total.
In House District 5, Democrat Adam Wool put in a late challenge to Republican Pete Higgins and led with 51 percent of the total with 9 of 9 precincts in.
In sprawling House District 6, Republican David Talerico led Democrat Wilson Justin with 65 percent of the total with 22 of 33 precincts in.