Alaska Democratic Congressional contender Mary Peltola is substantially ahead of longtime public menace Sarah Palin in currently available results from a Congressional race including the two candidates.
Whoever wins will serve what remains of the last term of Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), who died after decades of Congressional service. The race uses a ranked choice voting system, meaning a second round of tabulations will take place whenever initial counting concludes. Voters can pick more than one candidate, ranking their choices. If nobody surpasses 50 percent, the candidate with the lowest number of voters picking them first gets eliminated, and their supporters’ ballots with second choices marked are re-tabulated, with the appropriate numbers of votes going to whichever other candidates received them. Currently, Republican Nick Begich is in third place in available results. It seems safe to assume that some of Begich’s voters, who already had the option to make a primary selection of another Republican (Palin), intentionally avoided her due to concerns about her extremism.
How many were committed to opposing Palin to the point of selecting Peltola as their second choice? Peltola is ahead of Palin in available results by over 8.5 percentage points, with 39.6 percent of the overall vote versus Palin’s 30.9 percent. Elections analyst Dave Wasserman estimated that Palin will probably require at least 68 percent of Begich’s supporters’ votes redistributed to her for a victory. Did she get that many? There’s no requirement for a voter to complete more than one selection on a ballot, so Begich’s voters could have also simply not selected anybody as their second choice, should they have found themselves aghast at the prospect of even secondarily backing Palin. According to Alaska Public Media, “The division won’t begin ranking candidates until Aug. 31, the deadline for mail-in ballots to arrive.” Division refers to the state Division of Elections.
Peltola’s lead widened after a recent drop of various early, absentee, and disputed ballots. Peltola, Palin, and Begich were also candidates in a recent primary election in the race to win the next full term representing Alaska in Congress. (The state only has one seat in the House.) All three candidates advanced from the primary to the upcoming general election. The primary was open, meaning candidates appeared alongside each other on the same ballot distributed to all participating voters. The primary election didn’t operate on a ranked choice basis. According to results available as of this weekend, Peltola also received the most votes in the primary, with 36.8 percent of the total. Palin was second. (According to the standards, the top four finishers move forward.) While running in Alaska, Palin — as could be expected — has received support from Donald Trump.