Sarah Palin Losing Alaska Congressional Race Despite Predictions


In line with polling undertaken before the election, Sarah Palin — the infamous former governor of Alaska who also ran on the GOP presidential ticket in 2008 — is losing to Democratic challenger and incumbent Mary Peltola in early results from the Congressional race featuring the two.

The race used ranked choice voting, in which participating Alaskans can select multiple candidates and rank their picks. The goal is for one of the contenders to eventually pass 50 percent. If nobody does so in the initial results, the last-place finisher is eliminated, and their supporters’ ballots are appropriately reallocated according to their follow-up choices. Peltola is approaching 50 percent in the first round of results, but it still looks like additional rounds of tabulation might be required. In what The New York Times identified as an estimated 75 percent of the vote, Peltola was at 47.1 percent, with Palin at 26.6 percent. Another Republican contender, Nick Begich III, was also in the race but behind Palin.

These three contenders also ran in this year’s special election for the state’s sole House seat, in which the winner was set to serve for the remainder of the last term of the late Rep. Don Young (R). In initial results, the candidates finished in the same order in that race. This time around, results won’t be finalized apparently until all votes that can come in for the first round are received by authorities. Although like everywhere else, Alaska voters still can’t submit ballots that are postmarked after Election Day, authorities can receive and count mail-in votes up to 10 days after Election Day. (It’s a big state.)

There was also a Libertarian candidate in the race, finishing in early results in the low single digits. In this year’s special election, a significant number of those whose first choice was Begich ranked Peltola next, helping boost her to victory. Many also didn’t pick anybody after Begich. Palin, whose bid for Congress was supported by former President Trump, is widely unpopular, with just 37 percent of respondents indicating a favorable view of her in recent polling. It doesn’t seem like there has been a lot of camaraderie between the two Republicans running for what observers might have expected before Peltola’s first win was safely under GOP control. That translated to voters behind each of the Republicans shying away from the other.

Nevada voters may have approved changing their state’s elections to a ranked choice system, although results were still coming in as of early Wednesday. It seems like just a simple majority would be needed for success, and with what the Times ID’ed as 77 percent of the vote counted, 51.5 percent were in favor. Approving the measure would also mean establishing an open primary system, which sounds like what Alaska also now uses for certain elections. Available details seem to indicate all voters would select from a list of the same candidates, with a selection of top finishers advancing to the general election regardless of party affiliation. Under the Nevada proposal, that would include five leading contenders.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons