Final results in for Mat-Su election, with two new Assembly members

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- Two new members squeaked onto the Mat-Su Borough Assembly and Wasilla shoppers will pay a little more sales tax for a new library, according to results from Oct. 1 elections.

The borough canvassing board finished counting votes Friday. The Mat-Su Assembly will certify the election Tuesday night. Palmer, Wasilla and Houston city councils last week certified results in those cities.

Results of the Assembly and library votes remained up in the air when polls closed on election night, the Assembly races in particular.

One Assembly race -- Palmer business owner Matthew Beck versus incumbent Noel Woods -- proved to be the closest borough contest in 10 years, officials said.

Unofficial results late Oct. 1 put Beck ahead by 123 votes but the canvassing board later discovered a typo that gave Beck 100 extra votes, leaving him ahead by just 23 with hundreds of absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted.

Beck ultimately defeated Woods by 61 votes, 871 to 810, to represent Palmer residents in District 2, the borough clerk's office said Friday. Beck is co-owner of North Star Animal Hospital in Palmer. Woods, a retired contractor, served one term on the Assembly.

The other contested Assembly race ended up just about as close.

Jim Sykes, two-time Green Party U.S. Senate candidate, won election to an open seat in the Assembly's District 1, beating pilot Doug Glenn by 69 votes, 1,112 to 1,043, according to the borough clerk's office. The district encompasses residents from Lazy Mountain to Sutton and up the Glenn Highway.

Borough-wide voter turnout came in at a little more than 18 percent.

Wasilla voters, meanwhile, narrowly approved a 1 percent sales tax to build a new library, 528 votes to 460, according to final results from that city.

Other election results from around the borough: Palmer Mayor DeLena Johnson retained that spot despite a strong challenge from city council member Linda Combs; Houston voters approved extending a fireworks sales tax; and Mat-Su School Board incumbents David Cheezem and Neal Lacy lost their seats to challengers Ray Michaelson and Donna Dearman, respectively.