Tuesday’s City of Ketchikan election shows lone mayoral candidate Dave Kiffer making an effortless play for that seat and two leaders pulling ahead in a field of four contenders for the two available council seats in unofficial vote tallies.
As of Tuesday night, there still were 151 absentee ballots, two special needs ballots and 79 questioned ballots to be counted.
Kiffer garnered 820 votes for the three-year mayoral seat in the preliminary count. There were 42 write-in votes for that seat.
In first place for one of the two available three-year council seats was incumbent Janalee Gage with 537 votes, and Jai Mahtani was right behind with 529 votes. Lallette Kistler garnered 483 votes, while write-in candidate Bronson Olson had 34 votes, according to the preliminary results.
Mahtani, in a phone call after preliminary votes were counted, said that he expects the numbers to change by the time the final count is finished on Thursday. He also expressed disappointment in the low turnout by local voters on Tuesday.
Addressing his work ahead if he holds onto his lead, he said, “If I win, the council has to roll their sleeves up and go to work. There is a lot of work to be done.”
In a phone call after the results were released Tuesday evening, Kiffer said, “I’m certainly gratified. Even when you don’t have direct competition, it’s always gratifying when people still take the time to circle your little name there — color the little dot next to your name — put you in anyway.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to getting to work. We’ve got some important issues.”
He mentioned his eagerness to work on issues such as how to help the local economy recover after the COVID-19 disruption, as well as the discussions regarding how to support locals experiencing homelessness and addiction.
His job, he said will be to support the City Council members to work through those issues.
The canvass board is set to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to count absentee, questioned and special needs ballots at the City Hall offices.
Voter turnout ranged from 15% to 19% at the three city voting precincts, with 959 of 6,727 registered voters showing up at the polls.