Kodiak incumbents leading in Tuesday’s primary election

A “vote here” sign outside of the Kodiak Harbormaster’s Office.

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State Senator Gary Stevens and Representative Louise Stutes – both longtime Kodiak residents – hold significant leads from yesterday’s primary with over 20% of the ballots counted in both races as of Wednesday afternoon. Both candidates have received just over 60% of the vote from the ballots counted so far in their respective races.

The State Senate District C includes House District 5– Kodiak Island, Seward, and Cordova– and House District 6– Kachemak Bay, Ninilchik, and Kasilof.

Stevens has served as state senator for nearly two decades, and Stutes was first elected to the House in 2014 and has served as speaker for the last two years.

Stevens says he was not surprised by the early results.

“I’ve done a lot of campaigning and traveling around the district. Really half the district is off the island off Kodiak, in the Kenai Peninsula, Seldovia, and Seward and Cordova,” Stevens said. “So it’s really important to get around the entire district. It’s a very big district, you know. So it’s, you know, it’s 1/20th the population in the state of Alaska. So it’s good to get around and see everyone.”

Stutes says she doesn’t take any race for granted.

“I never expect anything until I see the vote. I just don’t have any expectations. All I know is that I work hard to do my very best,” Stutes said.

However, under Alaska’s new election laws, candidates in races with less than four people running aren’t eliminated in the primary. That means Stutes and Stevens will face off against the same candidates in the general election as they did on Tuesday.

Stevens is running against Republican Heath Smith – who received just over 28%of the vote – and Republican Walter Jones, who has so far received 10% of the vote. Stutes is also running against another Republican, Benjamin Vincent, who has received about a third of the vote tallied so far.

Under Alaska’s new election laws, candidates that receive more than 50% of the vote in the general election win automatically without the multiple rounds typical in ranked-choice voting. If the votes hold from the early results and voters were to make the same first choice picks in the general election as they did in the primary, Stutes and Stevens would both win by default in the first round.

The general election will be held Nov. 8 of this year.

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