Alaska guaranteed Sarah Palin three more months

The stage is officially set for a MAGA-fuelled election season in one of America’s wildest and most politically idiosyncratic states: Alaska.

On Tuesday, Alaskans voted in a rare dual election: a primary to set the field for November’s U.S. House and Senate elections and a special to fill the remainder of the late GOP Rep. Don Young’s term in Congress. The votes in this competition will not be fully counted until the end of August.

Regardless, Donald Trump’s dual choices for Alaska’s House and Senate seats are very much alive as we head into the middle of election season — and give the ex-president an opportunity to solidify his hold in the state by elevating an ally and dethroned an enemy.

On that first front, Trump-backed Sarah Palin — the former Alaska governor-turned VP candidate and reality star — will advance in the general election for the US House of Representatives race, the first open-seat Competing for Alaska’s lone seat after five decades of Young’s service.

On the second, Sen. Lisa Murkowski – one of six GOP senators who voted to convict Trump after Jan. 6 – will advance to the general election as she seeks a third term in the US Senate. But also Kelly Tshibaka, the candidate running as Trump’s choice to get revenge on a renegade Republican.

Due to the peculiarities of Alaska and its voting system, these races are not entirely easy. The state has an open primary system, with the top four voters, regardless of party, moving on to the general election.

In November, as well as the special election that also took place on Tuesday, the winner is determined through a system called ranked voting. Sometimes referred to as an “instant runoff,” the ranking asks voters to rank their preferred candidates, automatically determining a winner if no candidate achieves a simple majority on the first ballot.

The Senate race is widely viewed as a contest between Tshibaka and Murkowski.

The house race is more dynamic. Palin faces two leading rivals, one from each faction. Nick Begich, who comes from a famous Democratic family in Alaska, is running as a strident right-wing conservative despite lacking Trump’s support. Begich has already harshly attacked Palin, tapping into the dissatisfaction of many Alaskan Republicans with the former governor’s career and perceived detachment from the state’s problems.

Democrat Mary Peltola will also enter the top 4. If she wins, she would become the first Alaskan Native ever to be elected to Congress from the state, which has a sizable Indigenous minority.

Alaska has been consistently Republican at the presidential level for decades, but it does have an independent streak: No other state has a higher proportion of non-political voters.

That dynamic has convinced Democrats to invest resources in contesting their congressional seats, though those efforts have yet to pay off. In 2020, GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan beat a well-funded Democratic-leaning challenger by 12 points, and Young won his last race against a repeat Democrat-leaning candidate by nearly 10 points. Alaska guaranteed Sarah Palin three more months


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