UPDATE: After election recount, Caruso wins narrow Bristol Bay Borough assembly race

Nov 15, 2019

Candidate Gene Sanderson requested the recount after the borough's canvas of the absentee and question ballots put him only two votes behind incumbent Pete Caruso. 

Credit KDLG

This article was updated on Nov. 19, 2020, to include the final results of the election. 

Incumbent Pete Caruso has narrowly won a tight race for a seat on the Bristol Bay Borough Assembly. The assembly certified the election results today after holding a recount of the race on Friday. 

Candidate Gene Sanderson requested the recount, after the assembly's count of question and absentee ballots placed him only two votes behind Caruso. It was conducted by two precinct judges and a former borough clerk. 

When polls closed at 8 p.m. on November 5, the unofficial results showed Caruso ahead of Sanderson by one vote. Sanderson had a strong lead in South Naknek 14-4, while Caruso was ahead in King Salmon 46-34. The candidates were neck-and-neck in Naknek, with Sanderson ahead by one vote 64-63.

Caruso has just finished his first term with the assembly. He came to the borough in 1978 and worked as the school’s maintenance director for 20 years, and he was involved in the school’s basketball and wrestling programs as well. 

Sanderson moved to Naknek after three decades working for a Caterpillar dealer. He came out of retirement to run the Delta Western plant for almost six years. Sanderson was born at the military base in King Salmon and moved to Anchorage with his family as a teenager.

The borough assembly postponed its local election by a month at the end of September, citing missing information in the original election announcement.

Contact the author at isabelle@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.