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Kelty Defeats Marquardt By 5 Votes To Reclaim Mayor's Office

Nov 4, 2016

Frank Kelty (center) campaigns for the mayor's office in October. He defeated incumbent Shirley Marquardt in a runoff election this week.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

For the first time in a dozen years, Unalaska has a new mayor.

Frank Kelty defeated incumbent Shirley Marquardt in the city's runoff election by just five votes. City officials made the announcement Friday morning after canvassing about 90 absentee and questioned ballots.

Marquardt ne​arly won the close race in the regular election on Oct. 4. She fell sho​rt of earning a majority by just three votes, and the contest came down to a runoff on Tuesday.

Ultimately, Kelty earned 50.4 percent of the vote to retake the mayor's office, which he previously held in the 1990s.

"I'm very pleased, and I want to thank the community for all the support I got in this long, long election process," said Kelty. "This will probably be my last three years as an elected official, and I look forward to doing the best job I can on behalf of the community."

During his campaign, Kelty promised to pursue alternative energy for the city, pave more of the community's roads, and install a fish-counting weir to monitor the island's salmon runs.

Still, in such tight contest, Kelty said it's possible that Marquardt will ask for a recount. 

"I'm only ahead by five votes," he said. "I can't speak for her or what she's going to do."

City Clerk Cat Hazen said the incumbent has 10 days to file for a recount. She also said Unalaskans cast 614 valid votes in the runoff, which brought turnout to about 32 percent of registered voters. 

Meanwhile, in the runoff for City Council seat C, Roger Rowland was reelected with just over 52 percent of the vote.

Rowland beat Jeff Treannie by 27 votes, but the newcomer says he'll try to stay involved in city politics. Treannie plans to apply for the City Council seat that Kelty will vacate to accept the mayor's office.

"I don't know if Shirley Marquardt wants that seat," said Treannie. "She's got tons of experience. But I'm new, I'm fresh, and I've got good ideas. Of course I'm going to put my name in for the appointed seat."

City officials will certify the election results at City Hall on Monday at 6 p.m.

MAYOR

  • Frank V. Kelty: 308 votes
  • Shirley Marquardt: 303 votes

CITY COUNCIL SEAT C

  • Jeff Treannie: 285 votes
  • Roger Rowland: 312 votes

TURNOUT

  • Ballots cast and counted on Election Day: 535
  • Valid absentee ballots: 78
  • Valid questioned ballots: 1