The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Wells, Knight and Fleming elected to city council

Sorum and Prax elected to board of education


Valdez Star photo

Election officials Shannon Day (left) and Gloria Day (right) began the electronic vote-counting process at Precinct 2 after the polls closed Tuesday night.

Mike Wells, incumbent council member, was easily reelected to office Tuesday night garnering 399 votes before questioned and absentee ballots were counted. He netted an additional 55 votes Wednesday morning after election officials tallied the numbers from election day and the 100 ballots that were cast absentee or were questioned on election day.

Newcomer Ruth E Knight, a Valdez educator, was elected with a total of 360 votes, along with another freshman, Dennis Fleming, who claimed a win with 351 votes.

Incumbent Karen Ables lost her reelection bid, netting 225 votes, behind fourth place runner up Nate Smith, who earned 280 votes. Candidate Rich Long, who announced last week that he was dropping out of the race, still netted 102 votes, as his name was still on the ballot because candidates cannot withdraw from the race after the nomination period for elected office is closed.

The current sitting council was set to convene at noon Wednesday to certify the election. New council members will be sworn into office Monday, October 7.

The three council seats are for two-year terms.

On the school board side, candidates Joe Prax and Alan Sorum won the race to fill two seats that are for three-year terms. Prax received 485 votes and Sorum 336 votes.

Incumbent Steve Brockman lost his reelection bid, falling short with 234 votes. Hopefuls Jessica Vincent and Billy “BJ” Williams recorded 293 and 187 votes respectively.

The newly elected school board members will be sworn into office Thursday, October 3 at a special school board meeting to be held at 5:30 p.m. at the Valdez High School library.

One absentee ballot and two questioned ballots were not counted out of the 100 cast. One absentee ballot was “over-voted,” meaning the elector filled in the bubble next to the name of three candidates for school board, when there were only two seats up for election. Two questioned ballots were not counted after Holly Powers, deputy city clerk, discovered that the voters in question were indeed registered to vote in Valdez, but had failed to register a full 30 days before Tuesday’s election, as required by law.

“They weren’t registered on time,” Powers said during Wednesday morning’s count.

Valdez Star photo

Valdez Election officials processing absentee and questioned ballots Wednesday morning.

The clerk is required to contact state election officials to validate any ballots cast by voters whose names are not on the city’s voting rolls on the day of the elections.

The final count for all candidates for both council and school board are as follows:


Selah Bauer – 97; Nate Smith – 280; Ruth E Knight – 360; Nicole Tifft - 38 ; Wanda Clark – 53; James “Hotai” Williams – 94; Incumbent Mike Wells – 454; David Lyle – 20; Kyle Hoffman – 50; Incumbent Karen Ables – 225; Rich Long – 102; Dennis Fleming – 351; Nancy Lethcoe – 146


Joe Prax – 485; Incumbent Steven Brockman - 234; Billy “BJ” Williams – 187; Jessica Vincent – 293; Alan Sorum – 336


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