Sarah Palin leads in a special primary for Alaska’s House seat in a comeback bid | Sarah Pallin
Former Alaska governor and former Republican running mate Sarah Palin tops early results in Saturday’s special primary for the state’s only seat in the US House in what could be a remarkable political re-emergence.
Voters in the state’s far northwest are narrowing the list of 48 candidates vying for the post held for 49 years by the late U.S. Representative Don Young.
Early results showed Palin endorsed by Donald Trump with 29.8% of votes counted so far; Republican Nick Begich had 19.3%; independent Al Gross had 12.5%; Democrat Mary Peltola with 7.5%; and Republican Tara Sweeney had 5.3%.
A candidate whose name is Santa Claus, a self-proclaimed “independent socialist, progressive and democrat”, had 4.5%.
In a statement, Palin said she looked forward to “fixing this country by responsibly developing Alaska’s God-given resources,” then voiced right-wing talking points on gun rights, abortion and the desire for a smaller government.
The top four voters, regardless of party affiliation, will move on to a special election in August in which ranked-choice voting will be used. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Young’s term, which ends in January. Young died in March at the age of 88.
This election was unlike any the state has seen, crammed with candidates and conducted mostly by mail. It was also the first election under a voter-approved system in 2020 that ends party primaries and uses preferential-choice voting in general elections.
Saturday marked the first vote count; state election officials plan additional counts on Wednesday and Friday, and a final count on June 21. They targeted June 25 to certify the race.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee, released a statement expressing her gratitude “to all of my wonderful supporters who voted to make Alaska great again!”
The sheer number of candidates left some voters overwhelmed, and many of the candidates themselves struggled to organize a campaign on the fly and try to leave an impression on voters in a short time. The deadline for submitting applications was April 1.
Palin’s run marks her first bid for elected office since stepping down as governor halfway through her term in 2009. She was endorsed in that campaign by some national political figures who appeared on a “telerality” to her and said Palin would “fight harder than anyone I can think of,” especially on energy issues.
Palin sought to assure voters that she is serious about her candidacy and committed to Alaska.
During the campaign, opponents pushed for this. Gross, an orthopedic surgeon who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2020, said Palin “left Alaska.” Begich and Sweeney have insisted that they are not quitters.
The Associated Press contributed to this report