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City Council Confirms Election Winners; Andersen Narrowly Avoids Runoff

Richard Beneville sworn in as mayor of Nome, Alaska

It’s official. Nome’s City Council has certified this week’s election, confirming all early winners — including Stan Andersen, who held onto his City Council seat despite a close race.

“Councilman Andersen avoided a runoff by eight votes,” said City Manager Tom Moran. “If there had been eight fewer votes for Mr. Andersen, it would have been in a runoff in November. But he avoided that.”

Moran took council members through the official results at a special meeting Thursday. He said the city had to send 10 questioned ballots to the State Office of Elections before confirming Andersen’s victory.

That’s because the City of Nome requires elected candidates to win by a plurality of votes. So even though the early, unofficial results showed Andersen well ahead of opponents Sarah Swartz and Chuck Wheeler, the incumbent still had to earn 50 percent of the vote plus one.

The state verified that only two of the 10 questioned ballots should be counted. And with everything tallied, Andersen had the plurality. He’ll keep City Council Seat D for another 3 years.

Old St. Joe's on election day

Old St. Joe’s on election day. Photo: Emily Russell, KNOM.

The city’s other races may not have been as close, but they, too, were certified at yesterday’s meeting.

New Mayor Richard Beneville beat incumbent Denise Michels with 61 percent of the vote. Lew Tobin — another newcomer — won City Council Seat C, defeating Randy Pomeranz with nearly 59 percent of the vote. For the school board, Nancy Mendenhall earned more than 65 percent of the vote, claiming Seat C over John Tidwell. And with all three running unopposed, Keith Conger will join the school board while Pat Knodel and Dave Barron maintain their spots on the utility board.

The Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation had a race on the ballot as well. But that spot only required the winner to take 40 percent of the vote plus one. Patrick Johanson earned more than 50 percent, defeating incumbent Don Stiles to serve as Nome’s community representative on the NSEDC board.

All in all, Moran said voter turnout came to nearly 26 percent.

Six hundred and thirty-nine ballots were issued, and all 639 ballots were accounted for,” he said. “We got it to the very, very vote. It took us until [Wednesday] at about 4:30 p.m., but we got every single vote accounted for.”

Mendenhall and Conger will assume their new roles at the school board’s meeting on Tuesday — the same day Tobin formally joins the City Council. Beneville was sworn in as mayor on Friday afternoon.

1 Comment

  1. Douglas D Mackiernan on October 9, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    I believe your article is in error in terminology, a plurality of votes is having more votes than other candidates. The city must require a 50 percent majority of the votes to avoid a runoff when one candidate has a plurality..