Charlie Pierce speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates in September. Pierce is headed for a runoff election against Linda Hutchings on Oct. 24. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Charlie Pierce speaks during a forum for borough mayoral candidates in September. Pierce is headed for a runoff election against Linda Hutchings on Oct. 24. (Photo by Will Morrow/Peninsula Clarion)

Pierce wins borough mayor’s seat

Charlie Pierce will take over as mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The final vote tally Tuesday showed Pierce leading opponent Linda Hutchings by a razor-thin margin — 45 votes, to be exact. Pierce won 50.3 percent of the vote, with 4,301 votes, to Hutchings’ 49.7 percent of the vote, or 4,256 votes.

The night of the election Oct. 24 concluded with Pierce about 226 votes in the lead, but the absentee by mail, questioned and early voters favored Hutchings, bringing the margin up to about half a percent differential. Official turnout came through significantly lower than the Oct. 3 municipal regular election, with about 19 percent of voters turning out as compared to more than 25 percent on Oct. 3.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly certified the election results at its Tuesday meeting on the consent agenda.

Outgoing mayor Mike Navarre congratulated Pierce on his victory. Navarre will leave office Friday and start his new position as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development on Monday. During his comments at the end of the meeting, he thanked the borough staff for their service and the community.

“It has been an honor,” he said. “… It’s a big challenge, and I want to wish Charlie the best as he takes on the challenge.”

At the end of the assembly meeting, Pierce thanked Navarre for his service as well as the borough clerk’s office and his supporters and family. He will meet with Navarre in the coming days before taking the oath of office and starting the job Monday. He has named Nikiski resident John Quick as his chief of staff.

He thanked Hutchings and Dale Bagley, who ran and was eliminated from the race in the Oct. 3 results, for their effort.

“It was a hard-fought race,” he said. “I want to thank both of you. I want to wish Mrs. Hutchings the best and I look forward to working with you, Mr. Bagley, for the next several years.”

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read