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Topkok’s Victory for Nome City Council ‘D’ is Uncertain, Pending Challenge and Appeal Over Residency

Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

Unofficial results for the Nome municipal elections are in, and a rare challenge to one City Council race leaves the outcome of seat D uncertain.

With a wide majority, Meghan Topkok received the most ballot support for seat D on Tuesday, with 356 votes, easily besting competitors Sarah Swartz (158) and Lucas Sawyer (78). Ballots for Topkok thus easily exceeded the Nome city metric for municipal election victories: 50% of the vote plus one. However, her seat is being challenged. City Clerk Bryant Hammond explains:

“At the last minute yesterday, we received a challenge to her candidacy based on residency qualifications. And from the evidence available, she is not qualified to run for this seat. However, I feel she will probably be appealing this to the council as outlined in NCO (Nome City Ordinance) title 7.”

Topkok will be appealing on Thursday to remain a candidate. If her appeal is unsuccessful, and if Topkok is disqualified, Nome’s 50-plus-one rule would require an additional vote for the remaining candidates. Per City Clerk Hammond:

“Because neither of them have 50% plus one, it would be a run-off between Lucas Sawyer and Sarah Swartz.”

Topkok has returned to Nome after doing her undergraduate studies at Dartmouth and recently graduated law school at the University of Oregon.

For the other City Council contest, seat C, Jennifer Reader, with 318 votes, is set to unseat incumbent Lew Tobin.

In the run for school board seat D, Sandy Martinson is the victor, with 344 votes. Nancy Mendenhall ran unopposed for School Board Seat C.

Both Derek McLarty and David Barron ran unopposed for utility board Seats C and D. Also on the ballot were candidates for an NSEDC representative seat; Adam Boeckmann, with 278 votes, defeated incumbent Patrick Johanson.

Preliminary results also show Nome residents narrowly rejected increasing the hotel/motel room tax from 6% to 10%; 318 voted “no” to 306 votes for “yes.” Voters also said “no” to repealing Nome’s 2% seasonal sales tax, with 319 voting against repealing the tax.

Official results will be announced on Thursday in a special Nome City Council meeting.

David Dodman also contributed to this story.

Image at top: file photo: voters casting ballots at Old St. Joe’s meeting hall in Nome. Photo: David Dodman, KNOM.

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