Merrill Sanford has the inside track to be the next mayor of the City and Borough of Juneau.
The former assemblyman out-polled Cheryl Jebe 55 percent to 44 percent in Tuesday’s municipal election. With about 1,400 absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted, Sanford holds a 660 vote edge over Jebe – 3,334 to 2,674.
“If everything falls as it has in the past with absentee ballots and everything, you probably split those,” Sanford said. “And I think that probably, well, I think that I’ve won.”
However, Jebe said she’s holding out hope that the outstanding ballots will break heavily in her favor.
“I’m just going to wait until they do the absentee ballots on Friday. It’s quite possible that it will continue at the same rate, but you never know,” she said.
Both candidates said they’re proud of their campaigns, and credited each other with running a clean race.
Jebe – who didn’t declare her candidacy until just before the August 13th filing deadline – said she ran for mayor to bring “new energy” to Juneau. She thinks she would have benefited from more time to reach out to voters.
“It took me some time to get going,” Jebe said. “If I had another month, I think the numbers would have been different. I would have had more time to talk to individual people.”
Sanford on the other hand announced his run for mayor in March. After serving on the assembly from 2002 to 2011, he took a year off due to term limits. If his lead holds following the absentee and questioned ballot count, Sanford says his top priority as mayor will be creating a business friendly environment in Juneau.
“I want to try to present the mayor’s office as a pro-economic business climate in Juneau,” he said. “We want people to come here and we want people to open stores here – no matter what the store is – and we want jobs here.”
Sanford said he’ll do that by advocating for better economic planning by the Assembly and by listening to and promoting local businesses.
- In less than a year and a half, Alaska went from one of Moody's highest rated states, to one of its lowest. But now, that's changed.
- Funding for renewable energy projects in Alaska has dried up, but that has not stopped the City of King Cove from pursuing green power.
- Friday is the deadline to apply for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Premiums are down this year and that’s in part due to the Alaska Reinsurance Program.
- Six Hanford Site workers have shown up as possibly contaminated since Dec. 8. One worker was possibly contaminated twice.