A full month after election day, a goodly number of Southeast Alaskans are celebrating the election of 23-year old Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins to the Alaska House of Representatives in a newly created district that includes Sitka, Jonathan's home town, Haines, and numerous villages connected only by water and air in Southeast Alaska.
The official recount took place in Juneau yesterday. Jonathan was the certified leader, up by 34 votes a week and half ago, in an election that was so close it couldn't be called until all votes were in and tallied.
The Republican incumbent, four-term Representative Bill Thomas and Co-Chair of the Alaska House Finance Committee, from Haines, waited until the last allowable minute to request a recount. With both candidates gaining a handful of points in yesterday's recount, Jonathon's victory held at plus 32 votes. 4130 to 4098.
A little more about this Yalie here:
Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins is just one course shy of his Yale political science degree, but he’s been working on a different kind of tally: counting votes in his race for Alaska House of Representatives...Even though redistricting in Alaska this past year resulted in the loss of several Democratic incumbents in the Alaska legislature, newcomer Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins was able to overcome the long odds in HD34, which in SE, also was gerry-mandered for the benefit of the Republican incumbent.
An Eagle Scout, competitive runner, and high school debater, Kreiss-Tomkins organized the Alaska presidential campaign of Howard Dean ’70 at age 13 and founded a Sitka fellowship for Yalies.
“I’m young, and believe being young is an asset,” he writes on his campaign website... “I have a long-term mindset, oriented towards generations of Alaskans well beyond my own. A bright future, however, requires hard work in the present day. I really, really like hard work.”
Therefore the achievement is stunning. Jonathan earned his votes, one door-knock at a time, earning the trust of voters by demonstrating his ability to listen, his willingness to share information, his understanding of SE Alaska issues, and vision to help implement public policy decisions in Alaska for the long-term.