Fairbanks candidates react to 2022 municipal election results

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 4:55 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Seats on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly, the school board, and the Fairbanks and North Pole City Councils were on the ballot in the 2022 municipal elections, as was Mayor of the City of Fairbanks.

Going into the absentee and questioned ballot count on Tuesday, October 11, two races in particular were too close to call.

“Today, once again, shows how important votes do count inside local elections,” said candidate Aaron Gibson.

For borough school board seat C, candidate Brandy Harty led opponent Les Nichols by only 20 votes. “I, at one point, felt as though I’m going to go non-verbal... like I can no longer process any more anxiety,” Harty said.

In the race for Fairbanks City Council Seat D, incumbent Gibson held a 14-vote lead over challenger Crystal Tidwell.

Candidates held their breath in the Mona Lisa Drexler Assembly Chambers as ballots were fed into processors.

Finally, the results were in.

The outcomes seen on election day largely held, with Harty extending her lead over Nichols. Of her win, Harty said, “It’s humbling and it’s surreal and overwhelming.”

However one race proved an exception, as Tidwell flipped her slight deficit to overcome Gibson by 11 votes. The incumbent said, “I’m disappointed in the way the election went, obviously. I’ll still continue to fight for lower property taxes and good city services.”

The contenders, however, had only kind words for one another, with Gibson saying, “I wish Crystal the best.”

“Aaron was a great opponent for me and I really do think that he’s somebody that I’ll be able to go to for help if I need anything, and I just plan to get in there and take a breath and try to start learning as much as I can,” Tidwell said.

The winners in the City of Fairbanks races are scheduled to be sworn in on October 24, borough candidates three days later on the 27th. “I’m a better person coming out of it than I was going into it, and so even if I’d lost I would just be grateful that I took that chance,” said Harty.

The only seat up for election that is not expected to change hands is borough assembly seat C, where incumbent Mindy O’Neall ran unopposed.