Al Gross mysteriously pulls out of race, and Tara Sweeney will try to move into final four for Congress


Ballot Measure 2 was supposed to make elections less dirty. It does not seem to have done that. Al Gross is pulling out of the race for Congress due to personal reasons, and he is throwing his support to two Native women candidates.

Gross, the third top-vote getter in the special primary election, will drop his name from the regular primary election ballot and throw his support to Mary Peltola, a Democrat, and Tara Sweeney, the Republican who was formerly in fifth place. It’s the hope of the Sweeney campaign that she will be able to move into fourth place.

Others appearing on the Aug. 16 ballot are Sarah Palin and Nick Begich.

Gross had received 12.65% of the vote by Friday’s count by the Division of Elections. Here’s where the leaders were as of Friday:

  • Palin: 41,302, 27.59%
  • Begich: 28,859, 19.27% 
  • Gross: 18,936, 12.65%
  • Peltola: 14,133, 9.44%
  • Sweeney: 8,671, 5.79%

With Gross leaving the race, that makes three Republicans and one Democrat on the Aug. 16 special general election ballot, which will be decided by ranked choice voting.

The reasons for Gross’ sudden departure are unclear. Word is that former staffers from his 2020 campaign against Sen. Dan Sullivan have turned on him and are providing material that could be used for blackmail. Politicos say that political operative, lawyer, and author of Ballot Measure 2 Scott Kendall, who is part of the team supporting Sweeney, is behind the entire operation. Kendall has threatened a lawsuit over this crossed-through statement unless it is retracted and an apology is issued. In the interest of the solvency of Must Read Alaska, an apology is issued and the statement is retracted.

Gross had returned from a trip to Asia after the death of Congressman Don Young, and quickly joined a crowded field of 47 other candidates who hoped to replace Young.

He filed as an nonpartisan candidate and pledged to caucus with the Democrats. But his fall from grace may be a combination of the dislike of him by the the Alaska Democratic Party, and an opposition research file on his personal life by some other campaign group.

Gross, who is a surgeon by day, ran for Senate against Sen. Dan Sullivan in 2020. He had been savaged by the Alaska Democratic Party after losing to Sullivan; the party endorsed Chris Constant and Mary Peltola.

Gross had just been endorsed by IBEW 1547 on Friday, and had started raising money through an aggressive social media-based campaign to beat Sarah Palin over the weekend. He was also at a brewery over the weekend, taking pictures and posting them on social media. It appears that his campaign melted down quickly after that.

Whether Sweeney can actually be slipped into the top four is unclear. Ballot Measure 2 says that the fifth candidate can only be put in the final four if the withdrawal of one of the four happens within 64 days; it may be that Kendall thinks he found the loophole in the law that he wrote and that voters approved in 2020.

The Department of Law will be reviewing the matter on Tuesday, MRAK has learned.

The Division of Elections will be conducting the final count of ballots in the special primary election on Tuesday, June 21, and plans to certify the election on June 25. What is now uncertain is what may happen if there are lawsuits over the ability of Sweeney to join the final four that will appear on the Aug. 16 ballot.

Gross’ statement to the media:


  1. According to my calendar there is no way to sneak 64 days in before August 16th. But then again I don’t have access to the Liberal calendar.

  2. This should spell the end of Weird Al, sadly in Alaska we have a way with poolitical resurrection…see the run Forrest run for any and every higher office guy, of course Murky, and now Palin. Weird Al will no doubt be a retread that we will be hearing about for years to come due to this backroom deal.

    This is obviously a numbers playing game to try and favor the Democrats.

    • Or something that would compromise the highest vote getting Democrat…

      I hope for Weird Al’s sake it’s not the weird compromising situation, but it probably is.

  3. The Supreme Court will invent a new calendar to shoehorn their preferred RINO candidate into the mix

    • Alaska’s judicial system does not pay attention to the law. Some crazy left wing judge will ignore that section of the law.

  4. I was fully expecting this. As soon as I saw Peltola enter the race I knew something was up. They don’t want to split the votes so Al had to go. We need serious vigilance here or Peltola will win. Our elections have been seriously corrupted and the Liberals are desperate, we need to watch closely. Al is Alaska’s Bernie Sanders, the powers that be will never accept him.

    • We should honestly be more concerned about Sweeney winning. Worst case scenario with Peltola, she wins the 4 moth term until conservatives get their act together and a republican takes her place, but if the leftist coalesce around a Murkowski RINO like Sweeney, chances are we are stuck with her for decades and we will never get rid of her.

    • I agree, Gross looked at the numbers and decided he could not win. Claiming corruption in every news cycle without any factual evidence is wearing thin.

    • Not sure the “split vote” analysis applies in Ranked Choice Voting format.
      Given candidate Palin’s huge load of negatives, the likelihood is that Nick Begich will be Alaska’s next elected Representative in the House.

  5. Democrats have not won a statewide election since Tony Knowles in 1994 and 1998 … unless you count Mark Begich who was elected to a single Senate term after the FBI and DOJ combined to illegally shaft Ted Stevens and Alaska.

    • Well, fortunately the DoJ/FBI has lost so much credibility over the last few years that I don’t think they’ll be able to “Ted Stevens” another candidate any time soon.

    • And although she did not say out loud that she was endorsing him, Palin tacitly endorsed Mark Begich for U.S. Senate by using her position as governor to publicly call for Ted Stevens to resign his Senate seat, “for the good of the state”……and she did this a week before that election.
      Mark Begich then won that election in a squeaker, and went on to be the deciding “yes vote” for ObamaCare.
      Thanks a lot, Sarah………

    • One has to wonder how much Begich was informed about the shafting of Ted by the FBI plan? I don’t have any idea or evidence, but it would seem obvious that some Alaska Dem were involved. Just saying.

  6. Smart move, Suzanne. You saved yourself money and time from possibly having to answer to a frivolous lawsuit by a little, dishonest worm who makes a living by threatening people and ruining an otherwise proven election system. His approach to intentionally disrupt and dismantle a fair election process and send it into full-blown confusion is part of Kendall’s modus oporendi. Gross figured out Kendall and knew there would be some embarrassing moments ahead for his campaign. It was just easier for Gross to throw in the towel rather than rummage for any path to gain credibility.
    But don’t become too afraid of Kendall. He’s a quasi public figure and with that comes a high threshold and toleration of comments that cannot be earmarked for defamation. Remember, little pigs squeal before they are ever harmed. And their pigpens have to be cleaned out daily because they just can’t keep themselves clean.

  7. Biden was criticized (rightly so) for specifying ‘black female’ to be his preferred nominee to the Supreme Court. Gross is doing the same thing, supporting either one of two Native females. Completely overlooking who might be the best person to represent Alaskans in the US House.

  8. At face value this obviously looks like some democrat had mud ready to be flung at Al if he didn’t dropout. I think many people on the left that are also tired of the polarization and the political games going on in our nation like Peltola because they believe she’s a genuinely nice person and honest and does have some success stories of finding common ground. If she wins because of the numbers game of rank choice and because of ruthless behavior of the Democrat party to push out Al Gross, then she’s taking part in the political games and won’t seem so genuine even if she means to be. She better find out for herself what’s going on, but I wouldn’t be shocked to find out that she knows or doesn’t care to know because she’s alright with it because she may not like Al all that much either. But he had the lead over her. In a democracy that should mean something. Self righteousness is a hell of a drug.

  9. It is imperative that Begich drop out.

    A fractured conservative vote can only help elect a socialist Democrat- and a socialist Democrat does not in any way represent the majority of Alaskans.

    Palin was the clear winner among conservative voters.

  10. I will gladly say Scotty Kendall is behind this all. His person didn’t win so he is doing everything he can.
    Absolutely no honor in that man. NONE.

  11. Typically, merely being unpleasant will not make a lawyer’s preferred candidate more popular to anyone will it?

  12. We’ll, if no scandal, then somebody horsetraded him out of the race. Which is weird because he was lined up to beat Peltola in round 1, I think, unless all the Tara vote would go Peltola’s way (highly doubtful). Maybe he stood aside out of graciousness. Frankly my prediction is that if Palin wins and Peltola loses, he’ll come back to run against Palin in the general election.

    Smart poker – he plays the good guy by giving space for Peltola to lose a race that Palin is favored to win in a round two tally, then runs against Palin after Alaska’s gag reflex for Palin kicks in two months later – he spends the whole time using Palin for fundraising. Nick would be back to, but the general would probably favor Dem turnout, and defeating Palin would be a great cause to rally them. Ugh.. sounds exhausting. As Elon said, “politics is a sadness generator.”

  13. My goodness Scott Kendall is the most powerful name nobody has ever heard about. He essentially runs the state’s elections at this point.

  14. But of course Scott Kendall is in this up to his eyeballs, or he would not be offering to sue.

  15. Democrat mysticism.

    Either Al Gross has a major skeleton in his closet, or Tara Sweeny has more $$$ in her war chest.

    Being a cynic, I think that the Dems are angling for a Roe vs Wade repeal turnout boost that the party will use to market Tara as the first “X” in order to get her elected to congress.
    Politics and personal positions be damned, it’s about another member for the uniparty voting bloc.

  16. Big Al’s “departure” is a strategic move in preparation for the next round of elections! This special election is Sarah’s to lose. Big Al’s endorsement of both Peltola and Sweeny is disingenuous: there is as much difference between these two as there is between Palin and Begich! Were both Peltola and Sweeny to make fair showings, Begich will come limping in behind Sarah! Palin takes the house seat until the next round of elections–just months away–and then runs for reelection. Big Al enters the second round hoping to arouse and secure the democratic and anti-Palin crowds, and Peltola refrains from running. Right now Al’s looking like a good guy backing the two Native women, all the while saving his money and positioning himself for the next run!

  17. LOL. A lawsuit by Scott Kendall against MRAK? For what? Telling the truth? Defamation suits or publishing something in a false light is hard to prove. Sarah Palin didn’t do well against the New York Times. But a suit by Kendall against MRAK would be very interesting. First, there would be a six-hour deposition upon oral exam by Suzanne’s attorneys on Scott Kendall. Wouldn’t that make some interesting reading about the dark underworld of Kendall. Next, others would be deposed, presumably some high profile candidates. Discovery would uncover loads of strategy by Democrats who Kendall collaborates with. This would be a high profile suit and Suzanne would get tons of $$$donations and an army of conservative attorneys, who wouldn’t charge her a dime. Kendall is bluffing with his threat against MRAK. He knows that Pandora’s box would be opened, and his little house if cards would come tumbling down. Bring it on!

    • If a suit is brought, can I please depose Scott Kendall? After foundational questions, here is one . ………Mr. Kendall, is your boss, former Governor Bill Walker, a pedophile enabler, a sexual assault enabler, or a child-abuse enabler?

  18. Lots of back room positioning here. Who are they really wanting? Mary Peltola? Tara Sweeney? Are they trying to split the Republican votes in favor of a native candidate? And what is Scott Kendall up to? He has been working overtime the last 3 1/2 years to muck up everything for Dunleavy and Republicans in general. Who is the target here? Nick Begich? Sarah Palin? Or just trying to sneak a democrat in? Thanks, Suzanne for including the statement you had to cross out. I have to wonder how much more Kendall will be after you. Wish I had the money to help, but still dealing with overdue taxes. I will send you some when I can, you deserve all we can do to help. Hang in there!

  19. Well, exit, stage left, to the ‘Bear Hunter’ as he beats feet outta this primary. Interesting that he throws all his support to the native candidates. Identity politics must always come first! But that’s what leftists are all about. His evolution from being an out-of-the closet democrat to now being an Independent seems to highlight his opportunism. Perhaps in his next race he will declare himself a ‘nonpartisan’- a politician who is not political. So now he unexpectedly gives a glint of hope to Tara.

  20. On Sunday, I saw the Bear Doc on the corner of 10th and E street, all by his lonesome appearing to be leaving the Juneteenth festivities on the Park Strip. His face was beet red. The weather maybe? Regardless, he looked like he was done, done, done.

  21. Clever ploy… but also obvious. Peltola is now has 22%… 3-points more than Begich. This is how Walker got elected also (by Mallott bowing out). We have to admit, the Dems know how to rig for a win. Palin won’t bow out for Begich or vice-versa. Welcome your new representative Peltola.

  22. I wonder if Bear Doctor Al was ever embroiled in that opioid medical/legal debacle……….. ?

  23. What are the chances of my formal motion here on MRA of being Seconded?
    I on bended knee and from the bottom of my heart , Ask that Sarah Palin…. please withdraw from this important race. Throw your support to Nick.
    And have one heck of a good time here when President Trump comes up and follows YOUR lead.
    Thanks ahead of time to you.

    • M.J.D. Sarah never quits a campaign! She only quits later when the going gets rough. But I sympathize with your sentiment here. Truly sad.

  24. “……Gross, the third top-vote getter in the special primary election, will drop his name from the regular primary election ballot and throw his support to Mary Peltola, a Democrat, and Tara Sweeney, the Republican who was formerly in fifth place………With Gross leaving the race, that makes three Republicans and one Democrat on the Aug. 16 special general election ballot………”
    Tara Sweeney is a Republican like Leah Thomas is a woman. She’s a Kendall clone. “Party” is a tool to gain power. The party platform is meaningless to them. The far leftists in the Demonrat party are similar ideological creatures, but with the ideology being fantasy instead of money.

  25. If you were not already convinced that Gross is a liberal squirrel, this should convince you!

  26. The Sweeney campaign (including Kendall) are inviting the AK Courts to rewrite Prop 2 on the fly. My guess is they will gladly do so, all of which gives the incoming legislature another reason to repeal the disaster. We will see if they are up to the task. Cheers –

  27. Why is Al Gross still collecting campaign funds if he has dropped out?

    He is collecting for his next run. He is a long run planner. He can talk about being the gentleman, stepping aside so an Alaska Native woman has a chance, when he makes his next run at Sullivan’s seat.

    Just watch. Dollars to donuts, this is his long game plan.

  28. Our election process is thoroughly corrupted. Maybe we can get the “Russians” to oversee them in the future.

  29. Somebody’s are scamming us right now and figuring how to best manipulate the vote. In the machines and computers if necessary. This is gross on so many levels!!

  30. Sorry, Sweeney. You came in 5th. You can’t move up just because Gross quit. There should be only three names on the sham ballot now.

    • Yes, Dan. Any last minute changes to Kendall’s own rigged system will result in a lawsuit. Trust me on this.

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