Pamela Melin

One year after narrowly losing its conservative 4-3 majority, the Palmer City Council appears to be headed back into conservative control.

Four candidates were running for two seats with a 4-3 liberal majority in the balance. By the end of election day on Oct. 5, it looks like the council may have a 4-3 conservative advantage.

About 14% of registered Palmer voters (709 people) bothered to cast a ballot. Left-leaning candidates Julie Berberich (an incumbent) and Lee Henrikson were far behind the two conservatives, incumbent Steve Carrington and newcomer Pamela Melin.

When polls closed, Carrington had earned 231 votes (31.8%) in the four-way race, while Melin had 222 votes (30.6%). Berberich had 144 votes (19.8%) and Henrikson sat at 126 votes (17.4%).

There are just over 300 early, absentee-by-mail and questioned ballots left to tally. While Berberich and Henrikson will likely gain a larger share of these remaining votes they have a sizable gap to close on Carrington and Melin.

Palmer’s unofficial election results will be updated after the Canvass Board completes the ballot count on Friday, Oct. 8, after 4 pm. The city council will certify the election during a special meeting on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. Click here to view Palmer’s unofficial results.

In the days leading up to the Palmer election, Berberich was the subject of a city investigation into whether she and three other council members violated Alaska’s Open Meetings Act by discussing city matters in a private far-left Facebook page, Mat-Su Moms for Social Justice, which was closed to the public. The investigation revealed that the four councilmembers likely broke state law.

In Wasilla, only 7.6% of voters turned out for two city council seat elections. With 189 provisional ballots still left to tally, former State Representative Colleen Sullivan-Leonard was comfortably ahead of incumbent and fellow conservative Jordan Rausa 128 to 55. In the other race, Stu Graham was easily defeating DaJonee Hale, 143 to 36. Click here for the latest updates.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Conservative majority appears restored on Palmer City Council, Sullivan-Leonard Stu Graham win in Wasilla

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Fergie says:

    Glad to see conservatives won for the short term. However, the number of registered voters that voted in the Valley is pathetic! In the long run if people don’t bother to vote, we are doomed! An apathetic public spells tyranny in the long run as then, a small highly motivated minority can eventually call the shots. In the last Palmer mayoral election, the current mayor only won by a handful of votes! Wake up, people!

  • Kfinh says:

    Glad to see Palmer moving back in the right direction. Sad to see only 14% of the registered voter bother to participate in a year when political tension seems very high and the trampling of our freedom could be just 2 vote away. With such a low showing next time around the leftist knows they just have to engage more of their base and they could easily win back the majority. For Wasilla citizenry the engagement was even worst. What will it take for individuals to wake up and realize these local races are more important to our daily lives than any national election.

    • Brian says:

      The word notifying people not having their nose in politics, of the election isn’t very loud either.

      • mhs says:

        I had no idea there was an election or I would have voted. And I live right down the street from a polling place. I saw no voting today signs like I usually see.

  • Jen says:

    Condemning residents for low voter turn-out is not going to help increase interest. Just as any other place in Alaska Palmer and Matsu residents need more church activities bringing in new neighbors and returning neighbors for potlucks and bible reading. Considering Alaska’s problems churches should be full and self proclaimed Christians should be hosting bible studies everyday of the week.

    • Kfinh says:

      You’re absolutely right. The conservative who did turn out to vote participated in their government and should be commended for taking back Palmer as it sits right now. I do believe the matsu as a whole is a conservative bunch but however those conservative bunch most likely live outside the city limits and aren’t allowed to vote in their local elections which a lot of outside folks don’t realize. Hence I believe that’s how Palmer took a left turn the last election. The closer you get to the city center the more left leaning the population tends to be. I do hope I am right about the conservatives folks and they turn out on Nov. 2nd for the Matsu council and the Matsu school board. The fight is not over yet.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Although I am thankful for the outcome, the voter apathy is really disheartening. What is wrong with people? Freedom is not free. We are seeing the results across our nation of apathetic uninformed voters.

  • Andy says:

    Wow, super low turnout, I was figuring maybe 30%, nonetheless, congrats Melin & Carrington!

  • Ryan Mckee says:

    A ballot initiative moved the Borough elections to fall on the same day as the general elections.

    The cities had a choice yet they decided to stick with this current date. If they followed what the Borough does they would see a higher turnout.

    • Andersen Ted says:

      I agree with you Ryan, but in general, has anything good EVER came out of initiatives?
      Ballot initiatives are by design democratic functions.
      Which is “mob rule”.
      The main reason our country has succeeded is the brilliance of a republic.
      Let’s pray we keep it.

  • Yatalli says:

    In the Wasilla world, this may well have been the worst promoted/advertised election in 20 years.

  • Max Musial says:

    I didn’t see anyone even talking about the elections besides you guys.

  • Amanda says:

    Look, I know you’re not a real reporter, but even you should realize this headline will mislead and confuse people with the election awaiting certification.

  • DAN says:

    They Still have 309 ballots to count… its not over yet… 186 early votes and 124 absentee…. The wording is very misleading.

  • Dean says:


  • Dean says:

    14% turn out? That’s disgusting. That’s a parenting failure, that’s putting your stuff before your future. That’s gotta change. Makes you wonder if a single communist could even get elected if just 70 or 80% of conservative people voted.

  • Dave Maxwell says:

    Want a new definition to pathetic? Wait till you participate in Kevin Myers “Rank” choice voting.! The turn out will indeed be RANK!!!

  • Marie Fremlin says:

    The turn out was terrible because nobody knew there was an election. I didnt know or I would have showed up. No signs, no voting locations announced, no notifications by mail, etc… I cant even get the Republican Party to return my phone messages. Maybe our problem is a failure within the Republican Party to rally the voters.

    • mhs says:

      Yep. I always vote but I didn’t know about this election. This article is the first I have heard about an election. I will admit I was not paying attention. There was an illness and death in the family (not covid) which was taking all my time and my internet time has been and will be limited in the future. But still I should have seen a go vote sign or something.