Smith takes area wide assembly seat

Carlton Smith (right) and Loren Jones (left), along with Jones' wife LaRae (middle) chat during Friday's count of absentee and questioned ballots from Tuesday's municipal election. (Photo by Casey Kelly/KTOO)

Carlton Smith has been elected to the Juneau Assembly.

The race for an area wide seat was the only one in doubt after this week’s local election. Tuesday night, Smith held a slim 53 vote lead over Loren Jones, with Geny Del Rosario in distant third place. After nearly 14-hundred absentee and questioned ballots were counted this morning (Friday), Smith had expanded that lead by 21 votes.

The final tally was Smith 2,777; Jones 2,703; and Del Rosario 946.

Smith says he’s ready to get to work. He says the assembly’s priorities will be balancing the budget and searching for a new city manager and finance director to replace Rod Swope and Craig Duncan – both of whom plan to retire in 2012.

“Both of them have timing issues connected with them,” says Smith. “The budget, of course, that shows a 7.3 million dollar deficit, that’s in front of the assembly right now. And as far as the search for both the finance officer and the manager, since those processes take several months, we’ve got to get going on that right away.”

Jones says he expected a close race. And while the result was disappointing, the first time candidate wouldn’t rule out another run for office.

“I might. This wasn’t that bad. But that’s down the road a ways, at least a year or two,” says Jones.

No other outcomes from the municipal election changed significantly with today’s count. The results will be certified on Tuesday. Smith and new assembly members Jesse Kiehl and Randy Wanamaker will be sworn in on Monday October 17th.

Voter turnout increased to 30.8 percent from 25 percent on Election Day.