Vance wins GOP primary for District 31 representative

In official election results released on Tuesday, Homer resident and District 31 Alaska House of Representatives candidate Sarah Vance has won the Republican Party nomination.

Vance will face Rep. Paul Seaton in the general election. Formerly Republican, Seaton ran uncontested as a nonpartisan in the Democratic Party primary. Two Soldotna candidates have withdrawn from the race, Andy Cizek and Greg Madden.

“The people of the district will be able to compare the two candidates before them and decide who they want to work for them in Juneau,” Seaton said on Tuesday.

“Thank you, to everyone who voted Vance in the primary election,” Vance wrote in an email. “It is an honor to represent you as the Republican nominee in the November election for House District 31. With your vote, and my determination, we can unseat Seaton!”

According to final results with 10 more absentee ballots counted, Vance finished with 1,222 votes, compared to the 1,122 votes for second-place finisher John Cox. Henry “Hank” Kroll finished third with 398 votes. That gives Vance a plurality of the 2,742 votes cast, or 44 percent. Cox won 40 percent of the votes.

With 16,818 registered voters, turnout in the GOP primary was 16 percent. Total turnout for the entire primary election was about 27.3 percent.

Seaton earned 1,490 votes in the Democratic Primary vote. Any voter could select the ballot for people running for the Alaska Independence, Democratic or Libertarian Party primaries, but only Republicans, undeclared or nonpartisan voters could select the Republican Party ballot.

This is Vance’s first run at the District 31 House seat, and Cox’s second time running. In 2016, Cox came in second to Seaton in the Republican Party and former Homer Mayor Beth Wythe came in third.

Seaton pointed out that Vance had not responded to Homer News requests for an interview or answered written questions in its coverage of the primary election.

“I believe in transparency and openness in government,” he said. “I’ve demonstrated that in all my time in office. … I don’t know what other issues she will bring up. If you have to go to Facebook to find out, that will be a different kind of thing.”

Although he ran unopposed in the primary, Seaton has been campaigning heavily, such as waving signs on election night in downtown Homer. On Saturday he visited the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival.

“I’m talking to voters, knocking on doors, making calls,” he said. “Of course I’ve always been involved in the community, going to events and board meetings, those kind of things — staying in touch with the voters of the district. I will continue to do that as well.”

On her website, Vance has said she would repeal Senate Bill 91, a criminal justice reform bill that did such things as lower bail for first-time defendants and reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor. Vance also said she would restore the full Permanent Fund Dividend and reject a state income tax.

In talking with voters, Seaton said issues citizens have raised include crime, drug addiction and the rising cost of health care.

“Crime is a big thing,” he said. “Of course we’ve worked on that significantly in the last two years in the Legislature in passing things to modify SB 91.”

Seaton said people are happier that their PFD this year will be $500 more.

“People understand we passed a comprehensive fiscal plan and we couldn’t get through a lot of changes (in the Senate),” he said. “People have wished me luck and hopefully get over the hump we’re on.”

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Homer City Council candidate Sarah Vance speaks at a Homer City Council candidates forum, Sept. 21, 2017, at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News)

Homer City Council candidate Sarah Vance speaks at a Homer City Council candidates forum, Sept. 21, 2017, at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer. (Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News)