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Donna Celia: For a conservative win in November, we must lay down our arms and become strategic voters


Alaska conservatives are doing what they always do. Less than a week after our eye-popping defeat in the special election, Alaska conservatives are still squabbling over “Who-is-more-conservative-than-whom?” 

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Instead, they should be strategizing for a win in November’s general election.  

In my last column, I introduced you to the “Never Paliners” and I proposed that these people are in control of our election. The election results prove the point that Sarah Palin is destined to lose because a small fraction of Alaskan voters would rank a bag of Pilot Bread before they’d rank Sarah. And the actual number of “Never Palin” voters is larger than I previously stated. 

I’ll illustrate for you what would happen if Nick Begich stepped down today. Based on the certified Special Election Results from the Division of Elections

In Round 1, Sarah Palin received 58,973 votes. Nick Begich lost Round 1 and his votes were redistributed as follows: 27,053 votes went to Palin, and 15,467 went to Mary Peltola. The latter group is what I call “Never Palin” voters. But there are more voters to account for: 11,243 votes were “exhausted” meaning these voters only voted one candidate in one place: Begich. These people could be “Never Paliners,” or they could be “Anti-RCV” voters. Either way, their votes were dropped from the final totals.  47 “over votes” are attributable to voting for Begich in all four slots. I think these people are also “Never Palin” voters or “Anti-RCV” voters. 

Either way, both categories did not rank Palin. Let’s assume, for this exercise that they will refuse to rank Palin in the coming general election.

In a showdown between Peltola and Palin, Palin would garner the following tally:

  • Original First Place Votes for Sarah: 58,073 
  • Redistributed votes from Begich to Sarah: 27,053
  • Total: 85,126

Now, compare this to Peltola’s outcome, and assume that Begich’s remaining votes go to her.  This would be the outcome of the race if we assume that all of Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes are entirely “Never Palin” voters: 

  • Original First Place Votes for Peltola: 75,799
  • Redistributed votes from Begich to Peltola: 15,467
  • Begich’s exhausted votes: 11,243
  • Begich’s overvotes:  47
  • Total: 102,556

In a scenario where all of Begich’s exhausted votes and over votes to go Peltola, Peltola wins. 

Now, let’s see what happens if we apply Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes to Palin.  This would be the outcome if we assume that all of Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes are “Anti-RCV” voters who would compromise with Palin:  

  • Original First Place Votes for Sarah: 58,073 
  • Redistributed votes from Begich to Sarah: 27,053
  • Begich’s exhausted votes: 11,243
  • Begich’s overvotes: 47
  • Total: 96,416

Compare this to Peltola’s would-be outcome: 

  • Original First Place Peltola Votes: 75,799
  • Redistributed votes from Begich to Peltola: 15,467
  • Total: 91,266

This is the best Sarah can hope for: a margin of 5,150 votes for a win.  Is that margin big enough to stake the lives of unborn children on?  That sounds like hyperbole, but pro-life voters must ask themselves this question, and answer honestly when they cast their votes in November.  

Strategizing your vote will matter in November for other reasons, too. 

As implied strongly by Project Veritas, ranked choice voting was created and promoted by operatives now working for the Murkowski campaign. This scheme was designed with the purpose of getting one of Washington’s most outrageous RINOs re-elected. The outcome of our special election is the wind in Murkowski’s proverbial sails. You, Alaska conservatives, need to consider the ramifications for the future of the pro-life movement.  

The governor’s position is up for grabs. Have you pondered how important this election will be to the future of Alaskan elections? If Les Gara or Bill Walker get into the governor’s seat in November, your hopes of dumping ranked choice voting will be dashed. This system is their dream come true. They’ll never agree to eliminate it. So, for those conservatives who want to see RCV disappear, strategizing your vote will be the penultimate necessity in November. Do not squander it on petty squabbles, such as, “Yeah but Charlie Pierce is more MAGA than Mike Dunleavy.”  

Instead, think: “Which one is the most likely to win?”  Cast your vote for this person as #1 and the less likely as #2.  In the case of the governor’s race (my apologies to Charlie Pierce), it’s got to be Dunleavy #1 and Pierce #2. Do not rank Les Gara or Bill Walker.  

If you get it wrong in November on the governor’s race, you’ll never see RCV go away. 

And of course, as I illustrated above, Alaska is realistically flipping to a blue state with our one and only vote in Congress going to Mary Peltola. Do you want to let her sit there for the next two years representing you?  Stupid squabbles between conservatives who said, “Well, Sarah is more pro-life than that RINO Nick Begich” are exactly the arguments that put the pro-choice candidate in the temporary seat. At the end of the day, you could have a pro-life win if you’d vote strategically, and leave behind that nonsense in-fighting.  

Given that we have to confront the ”Never Palin” cohort, my best advise is to rank Begich #1 and Palin #2. Do not rank Peltola.  This maximizes the chance, no matter how the chips fall, that a conservative candidate will beat Peltola once and for all.  

The choice is yours, Alaskan conservatives.  Alaska’s election is now a Chess Game.  Start playing to win. 

Donna Celia is a mother of two children who lives in Anchorage.

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  1. Well, this election was the maiden voyage into rank choice.
    And a good learning experience.
    At least for those that turned out and now understand first-hand how the new system works.
    I would hope for improvement on the next one.

  2. The author just does not get it: Sarah Palin is not a conservative. She is self-absorbed narcissist that stands for virtually nothing other than her own self-aggrandizement. I will never vote for her. Deal with it. If you want to “confront” me about that, be my guest. (You might want to rethink your choice of words.)

    • Suck it up buttercup. Either vote Republican, even if they are a RINO, self absorbed narcissist, or start putting your preferred pronouns in your comments, and celebrate everything except your own heritage and history. All while freezing, hungry, and in the dark. Oh, and I took out WAY too big of a loan on my car. When can you send me a few thousand.
      Is there a politician that is not a self absorbed narcissist? Please name them. I would love to know who they are.
      I would rather have a full government at every level, Federal, State, and Local full of self absorbed narcissists, than let a dedicated socialist, anti-freedom, leftist take office. But.. hey! You took a stand. Good on you. We are all proud of you, but… next time you take a stand, can you try not to screw over the entire state while doing it?
      The Democrats thank you for your service.

      • There’s a line between unity and blind loyalty, and you crossed it.

        I am a citizen, not a Subject, and certainly not a Party Member.

        What you require is unthinkable, that we march lockstep to the party wil and grant authority to someone simply because our “betters” have decided.


        Think of it as a business. If people stop coming through your doors to purchase your goods, and if you want to stay in business you need to change the way you do business. If Sarah is the best product on your shelf, I’ll go shop elsewhere.

        Palin was at best an ineffectual Methtown mayor and an absentee governor. Remember Palingate?

        She has done nothing of significance since, except help Mccain lose his presidential bid.

    • Palin will vote with the Republicans. That’s better than Peltola who will support Biden’s agenda with her house votes. Either you love Alaska and will suck it up to rank Palin #2 or you’re ok with dooming our state to support Biden’s crazy agenda.

      It’s up to you. I rank both Begich and Palin, because Alaska needs us to to that.

      • No, Palin will vote whichever way the wind blows. How you’ve decided she’ll actually put her party’s interest before her own is beyond me.

        As a matter of fact, her current behavior says that she will never put the collective interest before her own.

    • “……. I will never vote for her. Deal with it……..”
      No problem. Enjoy your Demonrat Congresswoman.
      Deal with that.

    • JMARK, I always appreciate your comments and wise council here on Must Read. I am in agreement with your thoughts regarding Sarah Palin with the following exceptions.

      Faced with a choice between a qualified candidate and a Sarah Palin, I like you, will immediately choose the qualified candidate. However when it appears that the qualified candidate for whatever reason is not gaining traction with the electorate one must do some critical thinking regarding damage control. How can we mitigate the worse possible outcomes from taking place?

      Sarah is not a Conservative. She is an appetite, Sarah is simply all about fulfilling her desires for media attention. Sarah also isn’t a very deep thinker nor is Sarah a hard worker. Happily for us these two traits combined mean that she will not be successful in her endeavors in Congress and therefore will commit little damage to the Republic. In Juxtaposition, her Democrat opponent represents an existential threat to the Constitution and the American way of life. The organization to which Sarah’s opponent is enjoined has vigorously pushed their destructive juggernaut down the throats of the American people. I see a vote for Sarah as a last stand decision. Think “Broken Arrow” , where we call in artillery or an air strike on our own position because the enemy is overrunning our perimeter.

      I believe the concept of being Co-Belligerents with the Sarah folks should apply here. Let us lock arms and work to defeat the Commies! Vote Nick #1 and Sarah #2.
      “Rank the Red”!

  3. Excellent thesis 😅. My head is literally spinning but it was a very good explanation. And we wonder how so many people carried their confusion to the polls in the form of stubborn frustration. To be fair, likely every conservative is actually anti-RCV, (does anyone think this is a good thing?) it is just that some did not understand that stubbornly refusing to follow the awful rules would end up putting us into a bad situation. We need to ‘play the game’ in order to get the people into office that can help get rid of RCV. Stubbornness will only keep us where we now are and it will only get worse.

  4. But if Sarah drops out, Begich gets a slam dunk. Not so, if Palin stays in. Palin and her people are naturally stubborn and have a narrow focus. The problem with Palin is that her brand is recognized for what it is: all about Sarah Palin. This does not comport well for the majority of Alaskans. We don’t need a mouthpiece that yells out platitudes and hyperbole. We need a thinking conservative. And that’s NOT Sarah Palin. I will not rank Palin, and if Peltola wins, as Sarah prefers over Begich, then Sarah can go live out the rest of her natural life in another state. And that will be a good thing for Alaska.

    • Scroll up a little bit and see my reply to JMark.
      If you want to take a stand, and fight against Sarah Palin, do it in an arena that will not F-over the rest of the state.

      • The entire state is getting effed-over by this megalomaniac. Thank you for the intervention, Suzanne. Exposing her mental illness is going to be beneficial to the state.
        Her voters will learn the hard way.

        • Good comment Ted.
          Better to completely destroy the state, and help to destroy the Nation by electing a socialist, anti resource development, pro Biden agenda candidate. Hungry and freezing in the dark, but we do not have Sarah Palin representing us.
          Let’s not destroy ourselves because someone we do not like is running for office, OK?

      • Rather curious how you’ve arrived at the conclusion that Palin will benefit Alaska.

        She’s had opportunities before and failed to do so, or even attempt to do so. Sarah’s past behavior suggests she would represent Sarah Palin’s interests in Congress, not Alaska’s.

        Sarah is not a team player unless she’s in charge of the team. Her focus would only be on re-election and advancement. Look at her history…

    • The drop out deadline was today, so just vote for both Begich and Palin if you want us to have a chance at stopping the Biden agenda.

      • “…….if you want us to have a chance at stopping the Biden agenda…….”
        Yeah, right. Like Begich is going to do that. You should be a cartoon screenwriter. A comic book author. NBIII with the big “S” on his chest and the red cape. “What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane, NO! It’s Nick! Alaska has saved the world!”
        Trump made a good go of it, but the spy class, of all people, screwed that up for the planet. It’s a done deal, Dude. The Establishment owns us all, whether you know it or not, or whether you like it or not.
        America deserves Biden like Alaska deserves Peltola. WWIII is our destiny, and the Nazi Fighter (Putin) and Fascist Fighter (Biden) are the perfect pair to get us there.

  5. Asking Alaska GOP and it’s voters to act sensibly is a tall order. Love to see it, but not waiting up for it

    Rep Mary, Princess Lisa, here to stay. Dunleavy will probably be alright, but never ever msunderestimate the GOP ability to self destruct.

  6. Sarah said she was going to reload so she isn’t going to lay down her arms and the orange guy incites rioting and Sarah asked Nick to quit the race. MRA is probably right to endorse Begich. I’d say the repubs have their panties in a bunch

  7. More NUMBO JUMBO. The more you insult Sarah voters the less likely we are gonna help you. Nick/Mary Voters cast the first BLUE stone. I’ll hold my Real Opion until tomorrow when Suzanne will have Sarah and Mary’s second choice numbers.

  8. Dearest Donna, no doubt, there is a lot of scrambling and “double speak” occurring in the Begich camp!

    First, Sarah stunned the cocktail club by trouncing Begich despite all the endorsements he racked among the Alaska Republican Party operatives: the Begich Clan was thinking that they would conduct a “Republican” version of a play that the Ad Hoc Democrats scripted and ran in the 1970s when they walked off with the State House. But Palin’s team was able to put together a better ground campaign than Begich’s Ad Hoc Republican operatives were able to run, and consequently she beat Begich at the polls! That was a stunner for the Begich’s family and his operatives!

    And Peltola stunned the political pundits by running a race on pocket change!

    Palin and Peltola have the Begich Ad Hoc Republicans scrambling. The Begich clan wants to run a scripted, “so-called conservative” play to pound both of the women. For that to happen, The Republican Ad Hoc operatives must convince the common sense Republicans that Begich must continue to project himself as a “real” conservative, that despite the fact that he was gearing up to bash Congressman Young had the congressman lived through the election! That’s real conservatism, isn’t it?

    Begich is an opportunistic politician. And doubt, he is indeed a “Begich!” We frankly know very little about him other than that he’s preened himself to try reclaim the late Congressman Begich’s old seat that Congressman Young was elected to fill after Congressman Begich’s death! That said, the only way that Begich could pull that off in Alaska was by going “conservative!”

    Begich got into the congressional race to run against Congressman Don Young! But after the Congressman Young’s death the Ad Hoc Republican game plan was thrown into disarray when Sarah Palin entered the race. And none of the Ad Hoc Republicans were going to play nicely with Palin as evidenced by their Ad Hoc campaign!

    Now the Ad Hoc operatives want to “disarm” the Palin supporters so that we all come out of this as “winners!”

    What a crock! Begich is a “conservative” in script only: this campaign is all a Begich family performance!

    See you at the polls, Donna! I’m voting for Palin alone! I’ll let the two liberals–the Begich boy and Peltola–contend with themselves!

    • Edits:

      “First, Sarah stunned the cocktail club by trouncing Begich despite all the endorsements he racked up among the Alaska Republican Party operatives….”

      “Begich is an opportunistic politician. And no doubt, he is indeed a ‘Begich!’ We frankly know very little about him….”

    • Edit: “For that to happen, the Republican Ad Hoc operatives must convince the common sense Republicans that Begich is a ‘real’ conservative….”

      • Agreed, I couldn’t say it better myself.

        There are two democrats running against one conservative here -make no mistake. And the conservative will never be a Begich politician!

        • How do any of you know Palin is conservative? Because of what she says to gain attention?

          She hasn’t held an elected position for many years, and that last one very briefly. She wasn’t exactly a conservative firebrand as governor.

          So look at her personal life…look at her children’s behavior, look at Palingate, look at her divorce, look at her latest fling with an international playboy…

          What, in God’s name, makes you believe she’s conservstive? Seriously, beyond her rhetoric? Anything???

    • So…imagine this.

      If Peltola won on pocket change, how would you expect her to do with real funding?

      Alright, Sarah gives an exciting speech and says alot of fiery things…but what concrete achievements does she have?

      Sarah’s had real opportunities to do good, and I’ve seen no positive results. As a matter of fact, the Governor’s office was one fiasco after another when she was Governor.

  9. “……..Is that margin big enough to stake the lives of unborn children on? That sounds like hyperbole………”
    It sure does, because it sure is.
    Which babies are you referring to? Twelve states have enacted bans or restrictions on abortion since the Dobbs decision. Alaska isn’t one of them, and there’s no Republican in the Legislature wearing a big “S” on the front of his suit who is going to get it done. Alaska legalized abortion well before the Roe decision, and it’s going to remain legal here for a very long time, thanks to the RINOs who just threw this election.
    It’s a done deal at the federal level, and our Republican delegations over the past 50 years accomplished precisely nothing to get that done. We can thank Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell for cleaning up SCOTUS, and thank Alito, Thomas, and Trump’s new Justices for that. Congress, even full of RINOs and Demonrats isn’t going to turn that around.
    “But what about the children?” isn’t going to work. Try “But what about the guns?”

  10. So we are forgetting the need for a constitutional convention to fix multiple items plus true voting changes we have to have a YES on our convention to wrestle control of our government back from the radicals for at least ten years.

  11. This analysis is pure genius. The BEST Sarah could hope for if every single one of Begich voters’ exhausted votes went to her (which they obviously would not), would be to beat Mary by about 2%. That’s simply not going to happen. This proves it. Palin cannot win.

  12. Just want to thank you for explaining this chess game coming up. I never could understand the chess board game. This answers all the questionable reasons, why we lost on the Replacing Congress voting.

  13. So how did Rank the Red work for Sarah Voters—we got STABBED IN THE BACK. I’m Leaning on Bullet Voting SARAH, and let Nick and Mary split the BLUE VOTE.

  14. The 15,000 Begich voters that ranked Peltola second aren’t “never Palin” voters – they are Democrats! Just like a goodly number of voters who voted for him first. Begich is looking like a Democratic Trojan Horse. Let’s see the voter data about Peltola voters – who did they rank second?

    • I’m not a Democrat, never have been.

      I’m a very independent voter and public servant who has voted Republican almost exclusively for over thirty years.

      Life isn’t a vacuum. What I can say, is that Sarah Palin’s personal life doesn’t seem to mesh with the conservative ethics she purports to represent.

      The last thing we need, as Americans or Alaskans, is another firebrand shrieking across the aisle to get more exposure.

      There are plenty of those already there on both sides, who do nothing but alienate people they need to work with.

      So no to Palin this year, and if the shrieking sycophant runs in 2024, no to him also.

  15. People wake up!!! From her crazy 3am email to her boyfriend raving about their sex to the bizarre press conference on her back lawn, Sarah Palin has lost it!

    This behavior would disqualify anyone from a job, let alone Congress! If you owned a business, would you hire Sarah Palin?

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