A recall election aimed at unseating three Haines Assembly members was unsuccessful, according to initial results.
Unofficial numbers show the majority of voters saying ‘no’ to the recall of Tresham Gregg, Heather Lende and Tom Morphet.
There are still some absentee, questioned and special needs ballots to be counted. But they’re unlikely to change the outcome, as the ‘no’ votes have a more than 100-vote margin for each assembly member.
According to uncertified results, 433 residents voted ‘yes’ to recall Gregg. Six-hundred-sixteen voted ‘no.’
For Lende, 405 voted ‘yes,’ 644 voted ‘no.’
And for Morphet, 440 voted ‘yes,’ 611 voted ‘no.’
“It’s a good day for local government and democracy because the voters of Haines have spoken that the way to deal with assembly people they don’t appreciate is to vote for or against them in the general election, not in a recall,” Assemblyman Gregg said Tuesday night.
Morphet’s initial response was to focus on the 400-plus people who voted in favor of recalling him and the two others. He encouraged them to stay involved and consider running for office. There are three assembly seats and a mayoral seat up for election this October.
“I’m just hoping that this little skirmish has not been such a civil war that we’re unable to talk to each other and move forward because we need…to come together as a community,” Morphet said. “And because we’re not enough people to, in a divided way, make any progress.”
KHNS was unable to reach Lende Tuesday night. Recall leader Don Turner Jr. was also unreachable.
Turner and the other recall sponsors accused the three assembly members of misconduct in office. Recall sponsors say they violated open meetings law and coerced the local police chief.
But those accusations didn’t pass muster with some Haines residents who cast ballots at the ANB Hall Tuesday. Dick Flegel was one of them.
“They were fairly elected and if you don’t quite agree with what they say I think that’s the issue here,” Flegel said. “I think that’s why they’re trying to be recalled, because somebody doesn’t like how they think. And they found some little minutiae, and they’re trying to make a big deal out of it.”
Voters’ feelings one way or the other appear to have generated a strong turnout. More than 1,050 residents cast ballots. That’s a higher turnout than last fall’s regular election.
A handful of additional ballots will be counted at a Canvass meeting Monday. Election results are set to be certified at Tuesday’s assembly meeting.
KHNS will have a more detailed report on the recall election Wednesday evening.