Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is most likely to take the seat of the late U.S. Rep. Don Young. He was the longest-serving Republican in Congress, having served as the U.S. congressman for Alaska’s congressional district for almost half a century, from 1973 to 2022. The list of 48 candidates running for the seat was whittled down by voters.
Young’s term ends in January, and the special election winner will serve the remainder of his term.
Palin, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, received 29.8% of the vote so far. Republican Nick Begich got 19.3%, independent Al Gross received 12.5 percent, Democrat Mary Peltola received 7.5 percent, while the Republican Tara Sweeney received 5.3 percent. Santa Claus, a candidate who described himself as an “independent, progressive, democratic socialist,” received 4.5 percent of the vote.
The state Division of Elections reported preliminary results that comprised 108,729 votes. So far, the division has received almost 139,000 ballots, but the number of outstanding ballots was not known immediately.
The winners of the special primary have yet to be announced by the Associated Press.
After the special primary, the candidates who finish in the top four (regardless of party membership) will advance to the special election, which is scheduled for August.
This election was unlike any other in the state, with a large number of candidates and a mail-in voting system. This election process was in accordance with the new voting system that voters passed in 2020, which replaces the party primaries with ranked choice voting in general elections.
The vote counting should be finalized on June 21, and the race results should be revealed on June 25.
Palin released a statement to express her gratitude “to all of my wonderful supporters who voted to make Alaska great again!”
A lower court ruling prohibiting officials from publishing the final results of the special primary until visually impaired voters were given the opportunity to vote was reversed by the Alaska Supreme Court.
The lower court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by Robert Corbisier. Corbisier, executive director of the Alaska State Commission for Human Rights, filed a lawsuit against state election officials on behalf of a visually impaired person identified as B.L.
Some voters were overwhelmed by a large number of candidates, and many of the candidates themselves encountered difficulties in putting together a campaign. Candidates had little time to make an impression on voters.
Palin is running for the first time since resigning as governor in 2009, midway through her term. Some big political personalities endorsed Palin in this campaign, including Trump, who spoke at a “telerally” for her and stated she would “fight harder than anybody I can think of.”
Palin went above and beyond to reassure voters that she was dedicated to Alaska and very serious about her campaign, while her opponents tried to make fun of her during the campaign. One of Palin’s opponents, Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020 but lost, noted that Palin “quit on Alaska.”
Palin replied by saying that she understands the “pressure cooker” environment of Washington, D.C.
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