Jun 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Sarah Palin advances in Alaska House special election

Sarah Palin. Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will advance to the special general election to replace deceased Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Palin is attempting her political comeback after more than a decade out of politics with support from former President Trump.

Driving the news: Palin finished first in a free-for-all primary field of dozens of candidates to succeed Young, who passed away in March.

  • Nick Begich, a GOP businessman who was challenging Young before his death, also advanced. The scion of a prominent Alaska Democratic political family, Begich positioned himself as a more establishment alternative to Palin.
  • The third and fourth-place runoff spots had yet to be called.

The state of play: While Palin finished first, that has little bearing on her chances in the general election, which is a four-candidate, ranked-choice contest.

  • That means candidates rank the candidates by order of preference. The candidate with the least first-choice votes is eliminated in the first round, and their votes are reallocated to the voters’ second choice.
  • That’s a system that observers believe will benefit a more moderate candidate who is generally inoffensive to most voters, rather than a right-wing firebrand like Palin, who a majority of voters view unfavorably.
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