Over 100 people poured through the doors of the home of Jim and Faye Palin on Monday night, the eve of the special general election and the regular primary election.
Jim and Faye Palin are well-respected former senior managers at MTA and MEA; Nick Begich served on the board of MTA for five years.
On the other side of the campaign spectrum, Nick Begich’s uncle Mark Begich is supporting Mary Peltola in the congressional race and a fundraiser for her.
The event was to boost the campaign of Nick Begich III, who is running against Sarah Palin, the former daughter-in-law of the Palins, who provided moose sausage, smoked salmon, and homemade Alaska rhubarb bread, carrot cake, and other Alaska-themed treats.
The noisy and enthusiastic party spilled out onto the back lawn, where eventually Nick Begich was giving his last speech of this phase of his campaign for Congress.
Tomorrow, he’ll know whether he has moved ahead of former Gov. Palin and into striking distance of Mary Peltola, the Democrat in the three-way race, which will be decided by ranked choice voting, a first for Alaska. The final results won’t be known for two weeks, however. Some pollsters suggest that Begich will handily beat the Democrat, and the Democrat will be in strong contention to beat Palin, should she advance to the second round of counting in the ranked choice system.
Begich was relaxed, warm, and poised as he spoke about the need for resource development in the state — minerals, timber, oil, gas, and the renewable resource of tourism. He said he was ready to do the work, and that Alaska needs a serious representative. He said that Palin has been a no-show on the campaign, spending much of her time out of state during the campaign season. Palin has held no events in Alaska in the past month.
Begich said he started his campaign in Wasillla, announcing his candidacy in October. And he was happy to finish where he started — in Wasilla. Reporters from the New York Times, NBC News, Fox News, Daily Telegraph, and Anchorage Daily News, KTUU, were present.
Lawmakers and elected officials attended were Wasilla Mayor Glenda Ledford, Sen. Mike Shower, Sen. Shelley Hughes, Rep. Cathy Tilton, School Board member Julie Underwood, Mat-Su Assemblyman Rob Yundt, former Assemblyman George McKee. Others spotted there were Dr. Wade and Heather Erickson, Janet Kincaid, Kathy McCollum, Jacob Butcher, C.J. and Eric Koan, Adam Crum, Eddie Grasser, Mike Coons, Earl and Karen Lackey, Lorne and Rina Bretz, Dr. Joe and Tyra Chandler, Kim Swanson, Ryan McKee, and Athena Fulton.
The House race has two parts — one to fill out the remainder of Congressman Don Young’s term, and one to advance to the general election to run for the two-year seat.
Kelly Tshibaka, running for U.S. Senate, also finished her primary campaign efforts where she started, on the Kenai Peninsula. She, family, and friends waved signs for hours at different places, and it was clearly Tshibaka country, with lots of honks and waves. She is running against Sen. Lisa Murkowski for the six-year seat. There are 19 candidates running for Senate, and four of them will advance to the November ranked choice general election.
Polls open at 7 am on Tuesday and close at 8 pm. A list of polling locations can be found at this link.