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Hometown Mat-Su Election Coverage


This year’s Mat-Su Election Breakdown:
With three council seats up for grabs and no mayoral race and only one proposition to argue about, the Wasilla election was fairly quiet. Well, except for that one weird thing about the convicted felon. Read on, it’ll make more sense.
City Council Seat A
This seat was left wide open after the unfortunate accidental death of Steve Lovell. Three new faces threw their hats in the ring.
Holly Herrick: Although I am sure she is dearly loved by close friends and family, there is not much to be found about her in the broader universe. Not only does Google insist she doesn’t exist but it doesn’t look like she bothered to launch any sort of public campaign. 
David Wilson: Wilson was a hopeful for a seat several years ago, but pulled out to tend to family business.  This time around he went for it. Although he admits he is the director of a local non-profit, he remains tight-lipped on where he works. Why? Who knows.
Glenda Ledford:  Ledford is a little more well-known, having applied for the seat vacated by former councilman Steve Menard last year. She currently serves on the Wasilla Planning Commission and is a long time hairdresser.
Results: Wilson is leading the pack with 275 over hopefuls Herrick (180) and Ledford (233).  With 178 absentee and early votes yet to be counted it could change but Wilson looks strong.  
City Council Seat E
Seat E was an uncontested seat that came with big shoes to fill after city council member Dianne Woodruff reached her term limit.
Gretchen O’Barr: Lucky Gretchen!  No one to run against, but she still campaigned with gusto.  O’Barr describes herself as “very conservative” and “very Christian”.  Sarah Palin would be proud.
Results: She won. Do you really need the numbers? Okay. 605.
City Council Seat F
The race that everyone has been watching with a mixture of fear and fascination.
Brandon Wall:  The incumbent has served one term and is known for being conservative but reasonable.  In fact, Wall has gone on record, questioning the consequences of transporting a million tons of coal through downtown Wasilla (should the local coal mine proposals go through).  Imagine that!  Sarah Palin would be pissed.
Vic Kohring:  Say whaaaa?  Is that the same guy who plead guilty, as a state legislator, to corruption charges after getting caught on camera accepting a bribe from Veco’s Bill Allen?  He couldn’t possibly have the nerve to… Oh wait, I guess he did. I’d recognize that hair anywhere.
Results:  Prepare yourself now.  No, seriously. Find a belt and tie yourself down or something.  The good news is, Kohring LOST.  Phew!  Wall clinched an easy victory with 570 votes.  The bad news is Kohring actually got 265 votes!  Who are these people?  He can’t possibly have that many close relatives in town can he? Do you think they voted for him for the entertainment factor?  This brings up a lot of sociological questions that I now feel the need to look into.
Proposition W-1: Who wants to triple their sales tax to build a library?  Wasilla, apparently.  The proposition won 441 to 406.


This year’s Palmer election was a race for who can “out conservative” the other.  One mayoral seat and two city council seats were up for grabs.  For anyone hoping to see the light at the end of that long tea party tunnel, um, sorry.
City Mayor
DeLena Johnson:  The incumbent. Although known for rubbing elbows with legislators and other high-ranking conservative mucky-mucks, DeLena surprised many by supporting the indoor smoking ban as well as bringing back a light rail train to Palmer.  Then again, she is endorsed by Mead Treadwell so, there’s that.
Linda Combs: Currently serving as a city council member, Linda belongs to a family with a very long history in the Mat-Su.
Results: Johnson is back for another round of mayoring with 344 votes to Combs’ 289. 113 absentee and early votes left to count are probably not going to turn the tide. Whatever.
City Council
Two spots for four candidates. Aaaaaand GO!
Steve Carrington:  Who is he? I don’t know.  He has lots-o-conservative friends and a desire to “get back on track,” whatever that means.
Edna Devries: Devries is a longtime Palmeranian with a long list of credentials, including a stint as mayor in the 80’s. Edna loves to serve Jesus and we have like 34 mutual friends on facebook.  Works for me I guess.
Elden Tritch: Tritch ran for city council in 2012. He is pro-resources, pro-Jesus, and pro-Constitution.  Do you know how when you say a word over and over and over again it starts to lose all meaning? Yah, that.
Kathrine Vanover: Vanover once served on the city council in the 90’s but other than that I couldn’t dig anything up.
Results:  Top two vote-getters –  Devries (294) and Carrington (266) – won the spots with Vanover (199). Tritch (65) was pretty much left in the dust.  Guess we know who loves Jesus the most now don’t we?

Mat-Su Borough

This is the good stuff folks!  With an Assembly hell bent on deregulating everything under the sun, the two seats up for grabs included one held by the only dissenting voice known lovingly in inner circles as Don Quixote.  Three school board seats and two ballots issues also created enough radio ads and road signs to choke a horse, should a horse make the poor life decision to eat road signs.
Assembly District 1
Warren Keogh, our favorite assembly person, who loves to tilt at windmills, decided he needed a break from the constant head bashing.  Two people stepped up to vie for the seat.
Jim Sykes: Tilter extraordinaire, Sykes has a long history in this state.  He ran for governor once, as a “never gonna win” Green party candidate. But, whatever. You gotta love his moxie.
Doug Glenn: Local pilot and Usibelli Coal Mine contractor, Glenn is fresh and young and never tilted at a windmill in his whole life.  He is itching to be part of the status quo to “get things done quicker”.
Results:  Holy smokes this race is tight!  Sykes has a very early lead by only 45 votes over Glenn with the numbers coming in at 996 to 951.  This race is far too close to call with well over 300 absentee and early votes yet to be counted.  I know a lot of people who will be on the edge of their seat over this one until all votes are reported.
Assembly District 2
This seat covers the main city of Palmer.
Noel Woods: Mr. Sleepy loved to shoot guns in his youth which is probably why the local gun range is named after him.  When he is awake, he votes in whatever way the mayor wants him to. Oh, and he also thinks coal miners getting paid in shiny gold coins is pretty cool and hopes the new coal mine will do that too.  Right, go back to sleep now.
Matthew Beck: Local animal hospital owner and glowing Catholic, Beck is new to politics but on the surface seems cut from the same conservative cloth.  However, I might have to stop assuming “Child of God” is synonymous with “being mean to everyone who isn’t” because I’ve heard through the grapevine he is actually pretty nice and reasonable.
Results:  In another surprise upset, Beck leads the race with 835 to Woods’ 712.  Since absentee ballots generally swing the way of the general election odds are in Beck’s favor.
School Board 
Seat C: Susan Pougher  6674 uncontested votes. Cool.
Seat F: Donna Dearman (2435) beat out Stephen Jacobson (1921), incumbent Neil Lacy (2300), and Jim Tapley (1398).
Seat G: Conservative newbie Ray Michaelson (4457) beat out local bookstore owner and fan favorite David Cheezem (3731).  I hear Ray is a good guy but I don’t care yet.  I am still too hurt about losing David from the school board.  He is one of the best humans I have ever known.
Proposition B-1:  “Do we want to raise taxes on alcohol?” No, we don’t, said 6,231 residents.  There are 3,548 people in the Mat-Su who were really hoping beer would cost like $15 a six-pack.
Proposition B-2: We say hell yes to roads to schools.  Sure beats roads to resources. 5,600 to 3,987
City Council
Seat F: Paul Stout over incumbent and current mayor Rosemary Burnett, by 21 votes.
Seat E: Jim Johansen doubled Alma Hartley’s vote tally.
Seat G: Incumbent Lee Himes fell, by a large margin, to Kathleen Barney.
My Thoughts
Okay, clearly this coverage reflects a personal bias.  As a heavily entrenched community member I had my favorites picked out long ago.  And I worked my butt off for some of them too.  But despite being pleasantly surprised by some of the results (I am blue in Mat-Su, get it?), and even more surprised that Kohring got more than his own one vote, I can’t help but be disappointed in the deplorable voter turnout. 15% of our population cared enough to spend 5 minutes in a voting booth? Tens of thousands of dollars (per candidate) are spent so that a hand full of our community can exercise their rights?  
I am not going to end this election coverage with a lecture about the laziness of the general public, but I gotta say one thing…we have political fall out raining down around our ears nationally and locally all the time.  I firmly believe that all – yes ALL – of the things we complain about the most could be solved if even a fraction more of our community gave a damn enough to pay attention.  Maybe then we wouldn’t have to choke horses with road signs.  
If you loved horses, you would vote more.


  1. To win, Doug Glenn would have to get 58% of the 300 or so absentee and challenged ballots.
    He only got 49% on election day, and there could be write ins that diminish his chances even more. He’d have to get about 173 of the remaining 300 or so ballots, versus Jim’s 127.
    Jim took every precinct except Butte and one other.

  2. Thanks for the Wednesday morning chuckle! Let us know if you discover who those 265 people are that voted for Vic…

    • Sarah, Todd, Track, Bristol, Willow and Piper all voted 44 times each. Trigg only voted once, because he’s just five and a half years old, but in 2014, “Heee’lll beee baaaack!”

  3. As resident who has lived in the Mat-Su for several decades, I agree results from the last election cycle are puzzling. What I find more baffling is the notion that readers should accept Ms. Duhamel’s analysis on the election as relevant. Locally, she is widely viewed as a wannabe political hack and imposter who lacks any relevant credibility or track record of accomplishments. She seems to tirelessly for political platforms and opportunities to appear “entrenched,” which is most likely feeds her addiction to be in the spotlight and look important.
    In actuality, she is nothing more than a poser who capitalizes on the work of others when the timing is right. In cases where Ms. Duhamel has personally ran for political office (there have been many) she has lost miserably and failed to secure even a marginal amount of the total votes. The outcomes of these races all have two things in common, a lack of credibility and the failure to do any real work on the part of Ms. Duhamel. If she has concerns about the percentage of voters who participated in the last election, perhaps she should focus her efforts on getting people out to vote. Caution though, this would require real work and may not include much glamour. You see for Ms. Duhamel, it is not about good politics or doing the actual work it takes to get elected, it’s about being in the spotlight and appearing to be important. Please choose your sources more wisely so readers can know what they are reading and the perspective they are hearing from is credible.

    • While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, Mr. Williams, we ask that in the future you keep your commentary focused on the content published through the Alaska Commons and refrain from further personal attacks on our contributors. Thank you.

    • Hey John Williams, I don’t know who you are but you are very astute. In fact, you are right on about everything you said about me except one thing. I lost the last of many elections by only 75 votes. I think my avoidance of hard work is really starting to pay off! 😉