Incumbent Leads in Anchorage Mayor Runoff
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) _ Incumbent Mayor Tom Fink held a lead of more than 1,000 votes today, but the challenger said he wouldn’t concede defeat until 3,400 challenged ballots were tallied.
″We’re gonna stick it out,″ said Rich Mystrom, who trailed after all 91 precincts were counted in Tuesday’s runoff election.
The municipal clerk’s office said the unofficial count, including absentee votes, gave Fink the edge - 30,338 votes to 29,245.
More than 48 percent of registered voters turned out Tuesday. The election came down to a runoff after neither Fink nor Mystrom gained 40 percent of the vote in a three-way race that included former state legislator H.A. ″Red″ Boucher.
Authorities said challenged ballots - those cast by voters at polling places outside their own precincts - would be examined today. Fink, who appeared headed for his second three-year term, told supporters gathered at his headquarters he was pleased about leading all night, and got a good- natured round of booing when he said the runoff was still too close to call.
It was a remarkable turnaround for a politician who, according to polls six months ago, was rated negatively by 50 percent or more of Anchorage residents.
For Mystrom, that dissatisfaction translated into an early, comfortable lead, but it steadily eroded over the last three months.
Mystrom, 46, is a former Anchorage assemblyman and former advertising executive who led the city’s unsuccessful winter Olympics bid.
Fink, 62, is an Anchorage insurance executive whose first mayoral term found him variously at odds with the municipal assembly, local reporters and unions representing city workers.