Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Kirko collects his ballot during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center polling location in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Homer Volunteer Fire Department Chief Mark Kirko collects his ballot during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center polling location in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Cox holds narrow lead over Sen. Gary Stevens

Race is too close to call until absentee ballots are counted

Update: With all precincts reporting, John Cox of Anchor Point still holds his lead over Sen. Gary Stevens. The remaining Kodiak precinct that had not reported when this article originally published, Port Lions, did not have any votes cast. Therefore, Cox’s 69-vote lead from Wednesday morning remained unchanged.

Original story:

With one precinct and many absentee ballots still to be counted, John Cox of Anchor Point holds a slim lead over incumbent Sen. Gary Stevens of Kodiak in Alaska’s Primary Election.

Cox leads Stevens by a margin of just 69 votes with 22 out of 23 precincts reported, according to unofficial results from the Alaska Division of Elections. Official race results may take some time to calculate, however, as many mail-in ballots have yet to be counted. According to the division, Alaska voters had turned in 29,233 mail-in ballots to the state by Monday. Including special needs ballots, absentee voting, early voting, questioned ballots and ballots returned via fax and online, the division had received 38,075 ballots as of Monday.

On the southern Kenai Peninsula, incumbent Alaska Rep. Sarah Vance (R-Homer) ran uncontested in the Primary Election. Her challenger, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly President and business owner Kelly Cooper, will not appear on the ballot until the November election as an Independent.

For District 31, the state sent out a total of 2,319 absentee ballots (including mail and online) and there are 871 absentee ballots that have been received and accepted as of Tuesday that need to be counted. The number of absentee ballots that still need to be counted includes mail-in, online, fax, in-person, and special needs absentee ballots.

Ballots that voters have sent but have not yet been received by the state will be verified and counted as they come in. The division has said it will begin to count absentee ballots on Aug. 25 and is set to certify the election results on Aug. 30, with an Aug. 28 deadline to receive absentee ballots.

The contested race of interest on the southern peninsula was for the Alaska Senate District P seat. Both Cox and Stevens ran for the District P seat in the Alaska Senate in the Republican Party. The precinct for the District P race that has yet to report is Port Lions on Kodiak Island. Stevens carried the rest of the the District 32 precincts on Kodiak Island and in Cordova, while Cox led in the District 31 precincts except for Diamond Ridge. Greg Madden of Soldotna ran as an Alaska Independence Party candidate. Madden’s name appeared on the combined Alaska Democratic Party and Alaska Independence Party ballot as the only candidate for State Senator, District P, on that ballot. He will face the winner of the Republican Party primary in the general election.

On Monday, Madden released a statement saying he supported Cox in the Republican Party primary.

“John supports the full distribution of the PFD and opposes the binding caucus rule, topics that I feel we and most people agree on verbatim,” Madden said.

For the District P race, the state sent out 3,439 absentee ballots (including both by mail and online), and there are 1,307 absentee ballots that have been received and accepted as of Tuesday that need to be counted. As with District 31, any remaining sent ballots that had not been received will be verified and counted as they come in.

According to the Division of Elections, as an added security measure, absentee ballots will not be counted until after in person voter history is completed.

Alaskans also had the chance during this election to cast votes for a host of candidates for Alaska’s Congressional Delegation: the state’s single seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and two U.S. Senate seats.

Incumbent Sen. Dan Sullivan ran unopposed in the Republican Party. Al Gross, running as a Nonpartisan in the Democratic Primary, took home more than 74% of the votes and won that election.

In the race for the U.S. House seat, incumbent Don Young won the Republican Primary with 36,394 votes, or 77%. Alyse Galvin, running as a Nonpartisan, won the Democratic Primary for that race with 23,786 votes, or almost 81% of the votes.

The polling locations in Homer weren’t too crowded on Tuesday afternoon. In order to help keep people separated, election workers had placed markers on the floor at both Homer City Hall, the location for the Homer No. 1 precinct, and the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, the location for the Diamond Ridge precinct.

Even with voters spaced out in line, there weren’t too many left waiting as people trickled into the two locations around 3 p.m. According to election workers, the city hall location had 217 ballots cast by 3:20 p.m. At the Homer Chamber, voters had cast 130 ballots through the counting machine by 3 p.m., and 11 questioned ballots.

United States Senator (93% of precincts reporting)

Incumbent Dan Sullivan, Republican Party – 42,689, or 100% of the votes for the Republican Party

Al Gross, (Nonpartisan) Democratic Party — 22,329, or 74% of the votes for the Democratic Party

John Wayne Howe, Alaska Independence Party — 2,910, or 9.7% of the votes

Edgar Blatchford, (Democrat) Democratic Party — 2,874, or 9.6% of the votes

Chris Cumings, (Nonpartisan) Democratic Party — 1,716, or 5.7% of the votes

United States House of Representatives (93% of precincts reporting)

Incumbent Don Young, Republican Party — 36,394, or 77% of the votes for the Republican Party

T. “John” Nelson, Republican Party — 7,971, or 16.9% of the votes

Gerald L. “Jer” Heikes, Republican Party — 2,732, or 5.8% of the votes

Alyse S. Galvin, (Nonpartisan) Democratic Party — 23,786, or 80.9% of the votes for the Democratic Party

Ray Sean Tugatuk, (Democrat) Democratic Party — 3,155, or 10.7% of the votes

William “Bill” Hibler, (Democrat) Democratic Party — 2,438, or 8.3% of the votes

Alaska Senate District P (22 out of 23 precincts reporting)

John Cox, Republican Party — 1,403, or 51% of the votes

Incumbent Gary Stevens, Republican Party — 1,334, or 48% of the votes

Greg Madden, Alaska Independence Party — 1,215, or 100% of the votes for that party

Alaska House of Representatives District 31 (all precincts reporting)

Incumbent Sarah Vance, Republican Party — 1,758, or 100% of the votes

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com. Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

Election official Erin Petrie sanitizes a ballot privacy sleeve during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center polling location in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Election official Erin Petrie sanitizes a ballot privacy sleeve during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center polling location in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A Homer resident casts their vote during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A Homer resident casts their vote during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A voter fills out his ballot during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A voter fills out his ballot during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A floor marker shows voters where to stand to maintain a safe distance between each other during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A floor marker shows voters where to stand to maintain a safe distance between each other during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 at Homer City Hall in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A sign outside the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center warns voters about COVID-19 precautions being taken during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A sign outside the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center warns voters about COVID-19 precautions being taken during the Primary Election on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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