Juneau forum: Peltola hopeful about ranked choice voting while Palin and Begich give it low marks



The finalists seeking to take the late Rep. Don Young’s seat in Congress met in person at the Juneau Radio Center on Monday to participate in a forum moderated by news reporters Kevin Allen and Greg Knight.  

This was a first-of-its-kind event sponsored by the Juneau and Sitka Chambers of Commerce and the Southeast Conference. The broadcast was heard in Ketchikan, Sitka, and Juneau.

The three were given two minutes each to introduce themselves. Nick Begich gave his standard pitch emphasizing his business background, hinting that Congress had too many professional politicians and needed more people like him. 

Sarah Palin gushed over being back in Southeast Alaska but then emphasized her “connections” across the USA as being valuable for someone in Congress. Mary Peltola, apparently indifferent to Begich’ low regard for professional politicians, gave a long recitation of her political history.

Watch the event at this link:

The first question was “what is the biggest problem in Alaska right now?” 

Palin started off with “inflation” and used it as a springboard for encouraging expansion of resource development in the state, a theme she would repeat several times as the 70-minute program went on.  

Begich took a broader approach saying the problem was dependence on the federal government and the fed’s interference with resource development and Alaska’s need to broaden the economy.  

Peltola also went with “inflation” as well but said the solution was to punish corporations for price gouging, and raise the minimum wage.  She also expressed hope that the pending federal Inflation Reduction Act (Manchin, Schumer et. al.) would help a lot.

Read: Heritage Foundation commentary on Inflation Reduction Act making it all worse  

The next question was: “If you do not win this special election, will you stand for the regular election and try again?” Both Begich and Peltola answered “yes” but Palin may not have understood the question because she went on to chastise ranked choice voting at length.

Palin answered the “What makes you the most qualified?” question by mentioning her “connections across the nation and around the world” as a valuable quality. This might be a reaction to former Sen. John Coghill’s criticism that Palin’s fame could be a problem for her if elected.  The other two repeated their histories from the opening.

Both Begich and Palin agreed that ranked choice voting was bad and should be disposed as soon as possible. Peltola said she is “hopeful” that it will turn out well and she defined “well” as the election of moderate candidates.  

Most of the remaining questions were generic and there were no surprises – let alone any laughs – from any of the contenders. There was a Southeast-specific question about repealing the Roadless Rule (plaything of anti-timber industry groups) and both Begich and Palin called for repealing it. Peltola did not answer the question.

Early voting started Monday in the regular Aug. 16 primary election and the special general election for Congress. The three candidates appearing in the forum are on both sides of the ballot. The special general election will determine who fills out the remainder of Congressman Don Young’s term, and that person will become the incumbent as the race heads to the Nov. 8 general election.

Walsh is a Juneau-based consultant who hosted a talk radio show on KJNO, the talk radio sister station to KINY from June of 2009 to June of 2012.  His listeners were the first people in Juneau to hear about Sarah Palin’s resignation which occurred while he was on the air.


  1. Ranked choice assures by it’s design that the Candidate in the middle wins.
    Nobody gets their #1, but where the sheer mutual approval of a #2 outnumbers the first level of ranking…
    Unless of course 51% is met.
    The only way to play it is pick your #1 and live with it. Your vote will stay there unless eliminated.
    And that isn’t so bad, it’s almost like the way we used to vote.
    Besides that, I don’t particularly like any of them. I am voting for the lessor of evils.
    And there isn’t a #2 I’d vote for in any case.

    • Ranked choice assures by it’s design that the Candidate in the middle wins.
      Nobody gets their #1

      No. What RCV does is make sure nobody can split the vote.

      This election is case-in-point. A conservative can now vote Beg#1 & Pal#2 and not worry about the liberal being able to split the vote. Now Beg or Pal will win for sure without having to worry about voting for the “middle” candidate to ensure we don’t get a liberal.

    • Don’t try to out-smart the ranking system. If you only vote your 1st ranked candidate you are helping elect your 3rd rank. You will not hurt your 1st rank by voting your 2nd rank; for your 2nd rank to even be used, your 1st rank must have already lost the election. However, with only three candidates, it makes sense to not vote a 3rd rank.

    • “Ranked-choice assures … nobody gets their #1 [choice].”

      In fact – for those who still consider facts relevant – in over 90% of ranked-choice elections, the candidate who had the most #1 votes in the first round eventually won. So it’s probably a bit more accurate to say that in ranked-choice elections, over 90% do get their #1 choice. But, hey, the distinction between “nobody” and “over 90%” may not be worth getting worked up over – subtle differences in definitions are just semantics.

      Ranked-choice voting changes incentives (for candidates, campaigns, and voters) – outcomes, not so much.

  2. Peltola…you have to feel sorry for this woman she literally cannot think for herself.
    Begich…sounds like the teacher in Charlie Brown or Dan Sullivan.
    Palin…she needs to kick off those Louboutins and get into some bunny boots and bring her A game soon.

    • No. Peltola has integrity, varied and relevant work and life experience. You probably don’t agree with her left of middle politics, but she has tons of integrity and honesty.

      • Your boot licking goose stepping is just boring, lucinda. Peltola takes sneaky and thieving photos of Palin’s notes, with no shame in front all those people and cameras, and turns and gives a smug and self satisfied grin.That tells me everything I need to know about Peltola. She’s nothing but a repulsive and worthless cheat and thief who has no right to be in civilized company, like yourself. You people are literally nauseating to honest and good human beings.

  3. Hey Peltola what do you think is the least Constitutional, illegal public group behavior you have you seen recently in Alaska and how would you cure it? Send your collegues to mandated Constitution training by the Marines as a prerequisite to to taking an oath and stipend? Why won’t you defend the US Constitution? When will you ever defend the rights of Americans? Please don’t say the right to kill infants in utero. That’s not a right.

    • I REALLY try to follow your arguments, because you have such an interesting take on the world, but sometimes, most of the time, I can piece it together.

  4. Even having the questions in advance didn’t keep palin from looking like a baffoon. This woman is vacuous in terms of comprehending issues. She’s full of empty rhetoric.
    Our children and Alaska’s future is too important to even consider Palin as a good candidate.

    • Sally G, You are absolutely correct. Check out the mind-numbing comment signed by “Fire” above.

  5. Peltola displayed her complete lack of economic knowledge if she thinks that punishing corporations, passing Beijing Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act & raising the minimum wage will help ease inflation. It will do just the opposite! Out of control government spending is the cause of inflation, but she probably can’t grasp that concept as she seems to be a product of government largesse her entire life.

  6. Alaskans for Prosperty? Whose prosperity exactly? Until Begich says positive words regarding President Donald J. Trump we realize the prosperity is for the establishment like Pence. See where that has us? Within moments of an a carefully arranged cataclysm. Until then Pence and the establishment believe in “America Last”.

  7. It’s obvious that Mary (Sattler/ Kapsner) Peltola doesn’t understand RCV. Begich and Palin will most likely score in the 1st and 2nd choices. If neither receives 50% + 1 of the total votes cast, the race will probably be decided.in the 2nd round.

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