In unofficial Homer City Council results, Donna Aderhold has emerged as the apparent top vote getter, taking 46 percent of votes cast. That’s easily above the 20-percent bar in the two-seat race to avoid a run-off election.
There won’t be a run-off for the second council seat, but at press time the race is too close to call. Heath Smith is in second place with 37 percent, Joni Wise in third with 35 percent, and incumbent council member Beauregard Burgess in third with 34 percent. Still to be counted are 202 absentee and special needs ballots and 10 mailed ballots yet to be received. Smith has 344 votes, Wise 325 and Burgess 319, a 25-vote gap between Smith and Burgess that could cause the slate to shift. Ballots will be counted at 10 a.m. Friday when the Election Canvass Board meets at Homer City Hall.
“Honestly, I was surprised,” Aderhold said Tuesday night at an election party at Alice’s Champagne Palace. “Incumbents usually do well. We had several really strong candidates, I thought, so I was surprised I was that far ahead. I was definitely not expecting that.”
Smith said he remained optimistic that he would hold on to the second-place slot, “but cautiously,” he said. Smith has a 19-vote lead over Wise.
“Anything can happen between now and then,” he said.
Wise said she was glad to see Smith up there and said she voted for him as well as herself. Aderhold’s lead also was a surprise to her.
“I thought Beau had it,” Wise said. “I was shocked to not see him beat Donna, honestly.”
In the bottom of the ballot, Tom Stroozas took 25 percent of the vote for fifth place and Bob Howard took 18 percent. Micheal Neace’s name was on the ballot, but he’d said earlier he had withdrawn. Neace got 4 percent of the votes.
At a private party at Alice’s, Howard was philosophical about his loss.
“I’m not losing any sleep over it. The public doesn’t need my service. I know what I’ll do with my time,” Howard said. “I get to go fishing on council days.”
Howard said he would continue to serve on city commissions. He was a past member of the Sewer and Water Rate Task Force and is on the Port and Harbor Commission.
“I will continue serving my city because I care,” Howard said.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.