Skagway now has a contested race for mayor.
Roger Griffin filed as a write-in candidate Tuesday. He is running against incumbent Mark Schaefer.
Griffin is retired from the U.S. Forest Service and now runs a marine repair business. This is not his first bid for public office. He challenged Schaefer in 2015 and lost.
Griffin says his motivation for running is the same as it was a couple years ago: to oppose the tidelands lease with Whitepass and Yukon Route Railroad.
“At that time of course there was an up-or-down vote on whether or not the lease itself ought to go through. That itself isn’t on the ballot this year but there are people running for office who want the lease to go through,” says Griffin. “And because they’re running in that particular position, I’m running in opposition to that.”
Griffin says he supports establishing a port authority.
So, why file as a write-in candidate? Griffin says he wasn’t sure he wanted to run at first. He says initially he thought the assembly and White Pass had been doing a good job with the most recent lease negotiations.
“Open discussion, alternatives were proposed, being voted on either up or down. I thought they were following a pretty good process. But that changed,” says Griffin. “And I think with some of the people that are running for office now who would like to give away Skagway’s waterfront, that open process is over with.”
In 2016, Griffin lodged a citizen complaint against former Assemblyman Dan Henry. The complaint went to the Alaska Public Offices Commission. APOC staff investigated and concluded Henry provided incomplete information about his income on financial disclosure forms.
The incomplete disclosures came to light after Henry pleaded guilty to federal tax charges. He was sentenced to a year in prison.
Henry is seeking re-election to the assembly this fall. There are two write-in candidates also in the running for two open assembly seats. They are political newcomers Philip Clark and Dewey McCracken.
The school board race garnered the most interest this election. Four candidates are competing for two seats.