Rural Alaska

Election to replace North Slope Borough mayor is too close to call

Voters in the North Slope Borough went to the polls Tuesday to pick a replacement for ousted mayor Charlotte Brower, but she didn't win back the job she lost in an April 5 recall election.

With seven candidates in the race, and about 250 absentee and questioned ballots still to be counted, there wasn't a decisive winner Tuesday. Under borough law, the winning candidate needs to collect more than 40 percent of the vote and no one did. In addition, votes from Wainwright had yet to be tallied.

The election appears headed for a runoff. Borough law specifies it will be held within 40 days between the top two candidates.

The leading candidates were George Ahmaogak Sr., a former borough mayor who collected 495 votes or 32 percent of the ballots, and Harry Brower Jr., deputy director of the borough's wildlife department and Charlotte Brower's brother-in-law, with 463 votes, or 30 percent.

[Unofficial election results are here.]

Charlotte Brower came in sixth, with 40 votes, just ahead ahead of her cousin, Gordon Brower, deputy director of the borough's planning department.

The other candidates were former Barrow Mayor Donald Long; Borough Assemblyman Vernon Edwardsen; and Mike Aamodt, currently the borough's interim mayor, who came in third.

Voters ended Brower's term early after reports of questionable spending and ethical lapses, including using borough money to send her grandchildren to a California basketball camp and the purchase of expensive cakes for borough events from a daughter.

Lisa Demer

Lisa Demer was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Dispatch News. Among her many assignments, she spent three years based in Bethel as the newspaper's western Alaska correspondent. She left the ADN in 2018.