John Weddleton, a member of the Anchorage Assembly’s leftist majority for the past six years, has conceded to conservative challenger Randy Sulte.
At the last official vote count, on April 8, Sulte was ahead by roughly 450 votes over Weddleton – 7,924 to 7,471. While several thousand more ballots will likely be tallied, Weddleton admitted that the race is essentially over.
“It is clear that the election was won by Randy Sulte,” Weddleton said in an April 9 Facebook post. “I called Randy last night and congratulated him. The seat I have served from for six years belongs to South Anchorage. I respect the decision of the voters to give that opportunity to Randy.”
Sulte’s win is the lone conservative pick up in the April 5 election, one in which conservatives had hoped to win several more Assembly seats and two school board seats.
Conservative Kevin Cross won the Eagle River Assembly seat, but he is just replacing fellow conservative Crystal Kennedy who is stepping down. Following the election, the Assembly’s liberal block will still enjoy an 8-3 majority with the ability to override Mayor Dave Bronson’s vetoes.
In his concession statement, Weddleton said he would work with Sulte to make the transition as smooth as possible.
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“While the election results are a disappointment; my life outside of the Assembly is full to the brim and I look forward to getting back to things that have languished for six years,” Weddleton said. “The path of my life has included public service for decades. I do not plan on changing that though I may lay low until I finish restoring a couple motorcycles and go on a long-delayed honeymoon.”
Sulte ran on a conservative platform that pledged to “bring balance back to a deeply polarized Assembly.” He, Kevin Cross and Jamie Allard will be the three conservatives on the 11-member Assembly. This summer, the city will add a twelfth member to the Assembly in a June 21 special election. The new seat is expected to be filled by a liberal given that it is from downtown area, which leans to the left.
Click here to see the latest count from the April 5 election.