Update: The Division of Elections posted another update on Wednesday afternoon, with 133,022 ballots total counted. The updated counts for the top four in the special primary for the congressional race are:
- Palin: 37,558, 28.30%
- Begich: 25,625, 19.31%
- Gross: 16,921, 12.75%
- Peltola: 11,560, 8.71%
The Wednesday release of ballots counted by the Division of Elections in the race for Alaska’s congressional seat shows another approximately 18,400 ballots counted, for a total of 127,409.
Sarah Palin’s lead has been eroded slightly in the latest count. With 36,152 total votes, she is holding onto the lead at 28.44%, which is down about 1.4% from the election night total.
Nick Begich is holding steady with 24,696, or 19.43%, gaining slightly since election night.
Between the two front-runners, they have captured 48% of the total vote among the 48 candidates on the ballot.
Al Gross, a Democrat who is running without a party, now has 16,223 votes, also maintaining at 12.76% of the vote since election night. He maintains his third place position for the Aug. 16 special general election ballot.
Mary Peltola of Bethel increased her share to 10,904 votes, now at 8.58% of the total vote, an increase of more than a percentage over election night.
Tara Sweeney has slipped a bit in her percentages, with 6,915 total votes, or 5.25% of the total vote. Santa Claus kept 4.45%, and the other contenders not making up substantial ground.
There may be another 10,000-20,000 ballots to be counted, as ballots trickle in through the mail. The counting has been done in the chronological order the ballots were received, and thus, the later ballots are shifting slightly away from Palin and distributing through the other 47 names on the ballot.
Alaska held a mail-in special primary election because of the untimely death of Congressman Don Young and the need to get an Alaskan in place to fill the rest of his term until January, when the winner of the regular general election will be sworn in.