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By Daily News Staff and The Associated Press
A recount has affirmed a victory for a Sitka Democrat in a race for a Southeast Alaska state House seat.
Elections Division Director Gail Fenumiai said by email that Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Bill Thomas of Haines by 32 votes in the race to represent House District 34.
The final totals were 4,130 votes for Kreiss-Tomkins and 4,098 for Thomas.
Fenumiai had certified the election Nov. 23 with Kreiss-Tomkins ahead by 34 votes. Thomas, a four-term representative, requested a recount.
"I’m grateful that there’s a point of punctuation on the whole election process," Kreiss-Tomkins said.
Kreiss-Tomkins made it a point during the campaign to visit the relatively small villages in District 34 during the race. He said he’s going to try to make trips as often as possible.
"I’m going to try to get back to the villages and the communities on weekends," he said, "if not during session, certainly during the interim.
Kreiss-Tomkins also made Gov. Sean Parnell’s proposed oil tax break, which he doesn’t support, an issue during the campaign, and said on Monday that he believes it will dominate the Legislature in the coming term.
"He’s already stated his intention to bring that issue back,"?he said. "That’s going to suck most of the oxygen out of the legislature."
The 23-year-old — who is a year older than Ketchikan Democrat and former House Speaker Terry Gardiner, the youngest member to ever serve in the House back in the 1970s and early ‘80s — said he’s not worried about being written off in Juneau.
"I’ve often found that people who don’t take me seriously because of my age is often to my benefit," he said.?"I’d gladly take a lower expectation and blow them away."
Kreiss-Tomkins will have two staff members and an intern in Juneau, but said it was too early to name names.
Thomas won his first term in November 2004.
He was co-chairman of the House Finance Committee last session.
"He’s left an impressive legacy for our region,"?Kreiss-Tomkins said. "I’m grateful for that and I?know many others are as well."
House District 34 includes Metlakatla and much of Prince of Wales Island.