Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin cleared a major hurdle Tuesday as she seeks Alaska’s seat in the House.
Alaska’s primary for the House seat formerly held by the late Republican Rep. Don Young attracted 22 candidates. Only four will advance to the November general election under the state’s rules that put all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, into one primary with the top four advancing to the November general election.
According to ABC, the numbers that were in as of Wednesday morning show Democratic former state Rep. Mary Peltola in the lead with 35 percent of the vote. Palin, a Republican, is second at 31 percent, followed by two more Republicans, businessman Nick Begich III at 27 percent and Republican former Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tara Sweeney at 4 percent.
Because Young died during his term, a special election is also being held to fill what remains of his term. The primary election for that was held in June, when Palin advanced to the final round of voting.
— New York Post (@nypost) August 17, 2022
According to ABC, Palin is second in the special election to fill Young’s seat, trailing Peltola. Peltola has 38 percent of the vote, against 32 percent for Palin. Begich is at 29 percent.
Palin has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
“With only a few points separating Palin and Begich for second place, that’ll be a really important race to watch as more votes are counted in the coming days. If Palin finishes third, she’ll be eliminated and her support will probably overwhelmingly go to Begich, likely leading to his election. But if Begich finishes third, his support will probably split more evenly between Palin and Peltola, possibly pushing Peltola over 50 percent if she is close enough.”
The complication arises due to Alaska’s ranked-choice system of voting. That does not impact the primary for the full House term, although it will impact the special election and the general election.
As explained by NBC, Alaska’s ranked-choice system works this way: Voters identify their first choice, then rank the other candidates in their order of preference.
The system comes into play if no one wins a majority. If that happens, an instant runoff is implemented. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. Ballots cast for the eliminated candidate are then recast for the voter’s second choice, and the process is repeated until a candidate reaches a majority.
That is why in the special election, with only three candidates, the battle for second place is crucial.
In a four-person race, that would lead to the elimination of the fourth-place candidate first, and then the third-place candidate. But in the special election involving Palin, a fourth candidate dropped out of the race.
Alaska will certify the results of the special election by Sept.2, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Alaska also voted in an open primary for the Senate seat held by Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Murkowski and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka will advance to November’s general election.
Democrat Patricia Chesbro is also expected to make it to the general election, but it was unclear as of early Wednesday which other candidate would do so. Trump opposed Murkowski’s re-election and has backed Tshibaka.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.