The final unofficial vote counts were in by Thursday afternoon for the City of Ketchikan’s regular municipal election, which included a race between four candidates for two 3-year Ketchikan City Council seats, in addition to an uncontested race for the city mayor position.
The front runners did not change from Tuesday night’s counts of in-person ballots cast on election day. On Thursday, the canvass board counted and assessed 136 absentee ballots, 16 special needs ballots and 75 questioned ballots.
City Council Member Dave Kiffer earned 992 votes as the sole mayoral candidate. There were 45 votes cast for various write-in candidates.
Council Member Janalee Gage held onto her seat and first place with 665 votes, which allows her to serve a third consecutive term.
Jai Mahtani earned second place with 628 votes. Lallette Kistler earned 591 votes, and write-in candidate Bronson Olson earned 46 votes. There were 22 votes cast for various write-in candidates for council seats.
Gage, in a phone call Thursday afternoon, expressed thanks for people’s votes.
“It’s an honor to work for the community for a third term,” she said. “I appreciate everybody’s faith in me.”
She added, “I’m just looking forward to continue trying to be a voice and get that new lease with the hospital up and running, and working on the issues of homelessness and substance abuse and also our port system. There’s just so many challenges and I’m going to dig in and do the work, because this is my home and I want it to be the best home for my family — all of us — I consider Ketchikan my family.”
She added, “Everybody’s voice is important.”
Mahtani also offered his thoughts on his election to the council in a Thursday afternoon phone call.
“I’m honored to be selected to the City Council, and I promise to go to work for people” he said.
He added, “We will see changes and we will see transparency, because there’s a lot of work to be done. We need a city manager, we need a police chief, we need a fire chief, we need a public works manager, we need a lot of stuff that has to be done, and with the input from the people of the city of Ketchikan, we will go to work.”
He said, “I’m just honored and I’m so thankful for the people of Ketchikan who put me on to the City Council, and I appreciate me bringing diversity to the council.”
The City Council will have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Ted Ferry Civic Center to certify the results and swear in the new mayor and City Council members.