Nick Moe, the 26-year-old write-in candidate in West Anchorage's municipal election race, has conceded defeat after a thorough analysis of more than 200 challenged ballots.
Anchorage Assembly incumbent Ernie Hall ended up with 4,298 total votes while Moe received 3,745, a difference of 553 votes. More than 1,100 votes went toward other write-ins, or to no one at all.
Hall widened the gap between himself and Moe following the release of unofficial tally results Saturday night. Hall originally received only 93 votes more than the number of write-ins, but the new results, which included absentee and questioned ballots, increased the incumbent's lead by 318 votes. According to those results, Hall had 51.92 percent of the vote. Write-in votes made up the remaining 48.08 percent.
Moe's campaign challenged upwards of 200 ballots on which voters had written variations of Moe's name, or wrote different first names, like "Nic Moe," "N. Moo" and "Moo." It also challenged ballots on which voters wrote in "Nick Moe" but forgot to fill in the bubble. The Moe campaign analyzed the ballots and decided against further challenging the results of the election.
There were a total of 239 challenges, according to the Municipal Clerk's office.
Voter intent was the guiding principal for all of the campaign's work, Moe said Tuesday.
Moe launched an ambitious write-in campaign against Hall after the assemblyman cut off testimony on a controversial ordinance designed to limit the power of labor unions that do work for the city.
The campaign started about 13 days before the April 2 election. And it was about 10 days before the election when the press began to cover Moe's political strides, Moe said.
"It was a grassroots effort that started in my living room and was driven by the voters in West Anchorage," he said.
Moe said he'd consider running for political office in the future and he's not limiting his options to the assembly seat; he said he'd consider any position that "helps reinforce my values of a good public process and the importance of free speech." There are many ways to serve Anchorage, he said, and running for office is just one.
Contact Jerzy Shedlock at jerzy(at)alaskadispatch.com