Recount confirms Westlake defeated Nageak; Begich considers write-in run for US Senate
A recount has confirmed the challenger in a northern Alaska legislative race defeated incumbent Rep. Benjamin Nageak of Barrow in the Aug. 16 primary.
State Division of Elections officials said Monday that challenger Dean Westlake widened his lead the House District 40 race from four to eight votes. Westlake received 825 votes, and Nageak got 817 votes.
The recount was conducted after the initial certified results showed Westlake won with 819 votes, compared to Nageak’s 815. A previous unofficial count after the primary had Westlake in the lead by 21 votes.
Nageak, a Democrat, has been a member of the Republican-led House majority. Westlake, who has no opponents in the November general election, was backed by the Democratic Party.
The race also was challenged by concerns over ballot issues. State elections officials have said a poll worker mistakenly gave election-day voters both a Republican ballot and a ballot with candidates from the other parties.
Begich considering running as write-in for Alaska senate race
Former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich is considering running as a write-in in this year’s crowded U.S. Senate race in Alaska.
Begich tells Anchorage television station KTVA that people have been calling and urging him to enter the race. He says he will look to see what his options are, and adds he doesn’t have a timeframe for his decision. He didn’t immediately return a message Tuesday to The Associated Press.
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski won the Republican primary last month. Former state lawmaker Ray Metcalfe won the Democratic primary, but is at odds with party leadership. Immigration attorney Margaret Stock is running as an independent.
The race was shaken up earlier this month when Libertarian candidate Cean Stevens dropped out of the race, and Joe Miller took her spot on the Libertarian ticket. Miller was the tea party favorite who upset Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary only to see her mount a write-in candidacy to win the general election.
Begich, a Democrat, says he is not supporting Metcalfe in this year’s race. Begich defeated U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in 2008 but Republicans regained the seat when Dan Sullivan beat Sullivan in 2014.