In a squeaker of an election, after the city elections canvass board tallied absentee and other votes on Friday, incumbent Homer City Council member Bryan Zak made up a 4-vote deficit in unofficial results to win re-election. Zak has been elected to a third term, winning with 547 votes over Corbin Arno’s 536 votes — an 11-vote lead.
The leader in the four-man race, Gus VanDyke, kept his first-place finish, with 651 votes. Justin Arnold, the man who guided the successful citizen referendum to repeal the plastic bag ban, came in fourth, with 292 votes.
The initiative to repeal a ban on retailers providing onion-skin thin plastic bags to customers succeeded, with 661 yes votes to 519 no votes. The repeal will go into effect when the Homer City Council certifies the election on Oct. 14, and retailers can once again provide customers with the plastic shopping bags.
Zak acknowledged Arno’s strong finish and his hard work in the campaign.
“I hope that he continues to be involved,” Zak said of Arno. “I thought he ran a good race. It’s exciting. All politics is local. When you do stand up to run for the election at a local level, or any level, it’s a commitment.”
The city canvass board counted 188 new ballots on Friday. Most were absentee-ballots voted in person. Sixteen questioned ballots were ruled eligible. Four ballots were special-needs voters, that is, people who for health or other reasons could not vote in person. The tally also included 10 votes sent in by email or fax, a process allowed under city code. The board hand counted those ballots. There also were 56 total write-in ballots. A total of 1,232 ballots were cast out of 4,337 registered voters, a 28-percent turnout.
Zak also congratulated political newcomer VanDyke. A mechanic and the owner of Scruggs Automotive, VanDyke had been endorsed by Homer Voice for Business, as had Arno.
“I’m really looking forward to having another voice on the board there. I’m looking forward to things he said in the debates about speaking up for the people,” Zak said or VanDyke. “I think he brings with him some fresh ideas and maybe some business experience. I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Arno, who works with his father, Mike Arno, at Arno’s Construction, did not return phone messages seeking comments.
The city council will certify the election at its Oct. 14 meeting. New and re-elected council members will be sworn in at a special meeting on Oct. 21.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.