Alaska primary: Lisa Murkowski, Sarah Palin, other top candidates advance in new ranked-choice system

·2 min read
Sarah Palin, Donald Trump
Sarah Palin, Donald Trump Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowsi (R-Alaska) will appear on the November ballot after advancing in Tuesday's primary — but so will her Republican primary rival, Kelly Tshibaka, and two other candidates, under Alaska's new voter-approved ranked-choice system. Under the new voting process, the top four vote-getters compete in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R), Democrat Les Gara, and independent candidate Bill Walker all advanced to the general election for governor, along with a fourth Republican candidate, likely either Charlie Pierce or state Rep. Christopher Kurka.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Republican businessman Nick Begich, and Democratic former state lawmaker Mary Peltola all advanced to the general election for Alaska's lone House seat, with the fourth slot to be determined. Palin, Begich, and Peltola are also vying to represent Alaska until January in a special election prompted by the death of Rep. Don Young (R) in March.

With about half of the ballots counted, Peltola is ahead of Palin and Begich in the special election by a handful of percentage points. If that holds with all the votes in, "either Begich or Palin would have to rely on second-place votes in order to overtake Peltola in the ranked choice tabulation," the Anchorage Daily News explains. Begich said he picked Palin as his second choice, followed by Donald Duck Jr. Palin said she voted only for herself, leaving the other slots blank. "I do not believe in this system," she said. "It should not be embraced by enthusiastic participation when we know it's not right."

The results of Tuesday's special election aren't expected until Sept. 2.

Palin, trying for a political comeback, and Tshibaka were endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Begich, the nephew of former Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), is backed by the state's Republican establishment and the parents of Palin's ex-husband, Todd.

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