FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The Alaska Supreme Court has officially ruled that Bart LeBon is the winner of the race for State House District 1. Friday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from lawyers representing Kathryn Dodge, Bart LeBon and the Division of Elections.
Later in the day, they released a ruling siding with the Division of Election Director's decisions on the challenged ballots which means that LeBon is the winner by one vote.
Dodge made a statement saying, "While I am disappointed in the ruling from the Supreme Court today and wish the outcome had been different, I respect the court's decision, and I have no regrets about pursuing this appeal process through to completion...I thank all those who voted for me and supported me through this process and I sincerely wish Representative-elect LeBon the best of luck as he heads to Juneau to represent House District 1."
LeBon answered questions in Anchorage after the oral arguments and talked about his focus for the legislative session.
"I spent 42 years in banking, so I'm very comfortable reading finical statements. I spent six years on the Fairbanks school board, so I'm comfortable with budget process with governmental point of view," he said.
LeBon will head down to Juneau to represent District 1 in the next legislative session which starts January 15.
While this is a clear victory for LeBon, it is not a complete victory for the Republican Caucus. After Dodge announced she was challenging the election results, Representative Gary Knopp of Kenai announced he was pulling out of the caucus.
With him leaving, even with LeBon's win, the house is still split evenly between republicans and democrats. This means that there is no leadership for the Alaska state house and it is unclear who the speaker of the house will be.
We spoke to Knopp about his decision and how well the parties are working together.
"I removed myself from the caucus to force the coalition talk. On that avenue, a conversation started. It's not going well, but I can expect, now, everybody's held out, waiting for the decision, today. Now that that's done, I think that they'll get serious about the talks,” he said.