Closing in on Election Day: As much as 23% of the vote has already been cast for Alaska’s primary, which ends Aug. 16. Here’s the analysis that gets us to that conclusion:
In Alaska’s 2020 primary for U.S. House, 130,317 total votes were cast. It was a presidential election year, which means the turnout was higher than in 2018, when 110,636 voters cast ballots in the U.S. House primary.
So far this year there have been about 23,000 early and absentee votes received by the Division of Elections (including online voting, fax, etc). That’s less than 4% of the registered voters in Alaska who have voted so far. (The Division of Elections says there are 598,083 Alaskans registered to vote. )
But if only 110,000 vote this year, as they did in 2018 (non-presidential year) then the 23,000 who have voted represent perhaps 21% of the expected total vote.
A reminder about where Alaska primary votes go: Two years ago during the Alaska primary, the Republican candidates received 47,482 votes combined. The Democrat candidates received 30,107 votes.
Kenai Classic: Lots of political leaders will be heading to the Kenai River after the primary/special general election on Tuesday. The Kenai Classic takes place Aug. 17, 18, and 19. The Classic is an educational, invitational fishing event that raises funds and educates policymakers and business leaders about Kenai River Sportfishing Association’s habitat-restoration and access projects, fisheries education, research and management. The event has raised $18 million during the past 25 years for fisheries conservation. If you want to find the big-name politicians, many of them will attend the banquet at least (it is sold out). For Alaska’s political class, it’s a must-attend event.
Zoom-bombing apology: A handful of the 19 congressional candidates took part in a get-out-the-Native-vote Zoom meeting when someone photo-bombed Sarah Palin with a line drawing that depicted a penis and vagina. It took up nearly the entire screen. Someone could be heard yelling obscenities at her during the video-conference. She was not amused.
The Native Peoples Action Community Fund issued a statement following the incident:
“The U.S. House Candidate Forum was a virtual event co-hosted by Native Peoples Action Community Fund (NPACF) and Get Out the Native Vote on August 11, 2022. … NPACF has a zero tolerance policy for unwanted, disrespectful and racist behavior and we apologize for any harm caused in the space we hosted. We do not condone any of the words or behaviors exhibited by the zoom bombers. We are modifying our internal protocols and procedures for hosting with hopes that this will never happen again. We are issuing apologies to all the candidates and we are issuing this apology to the public. We sincerely thank each candidate who participated for their role in upholding a respectful environment, for their insightful contributions to the forum, and for engaging with our organization and the voters of Alaska.”
2000 Mules: Rep. Ron Gillham of Kenai is taking it easy on the campaign trail, so much so that he even has time for a movie. Anyone who wants to see “2000 Mules” can stop in at the Kenai New Life Church starting at 5 pm on Aug. 15, where there will be a free showing of the election movie by Dinesh D’Souza, a film that shows evidence of coordinated voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. That’s at 209 Princess Street, Kenai.
Keeping up with Nick Begich: The busy congressional candidate from Eagle River voted and then had a meet-and-greet on Thursday in Wasilla with 50 people, flew to Ketchikan on Friday to meet with 60 people and do media interviews, and on Sunday will meet with voters in Kodiak at the Kodiak Island Brewery, 2-4:30 pm. He’s also meeting with the Filipino-American Association, with the mayor, and some more media.
On Monday, Jim and Faye Palin are throwing a huge party for Nick Begich out in Wasilla, with a co-host list of over 100. They are the former in-laws of Sarah Palin, clearly not impressed with her.
Mary Peltola is in Juneau: Peltola, running for Congress, voted on Friday in Anchorage. Then she went to Juneau for a fundraiser that had over 100 co-hosts. It was held at the home of Ken Alper and Jill Ramiel. On Saturday, she’ll still be in Juneau for a meet-and-greet at the Pioneer Pavilion at Savikko Park, Sandy Beach. She has a lot of voters in Juneau.
Tara Sweeney write-in: Sweeney, on the last day allowed, filed as a formal write-in candidate for the special general election for Congress. She said she gave it a lot of thought, but her main focus is going to be on making the final four for the general election in November.
Sarah Palin sighting: Palin voted on Thursday in the Valley. An anecdotal sampling of voters is showing that Palin voters are voting for her and not ranking anyone else on the three-person special general election ballot. As Palin marked her ballot on the video she posted, she, too, only voted for herself and did not rank either Nick Begich or Mary Peltola. There was no “rank the red” on her ballot.
Mailbag of Hate:
Lisa Murkowski talks Project Veritas: Murkowski had a grand opening for her campaign headquarters in Juneau, during which she talked about the Project Veritas undercover investigation of her campaign, when her staff members admitted they’d been part of tricking Alaskans into voting for Ballot Measure 2. Murkowski blamed the sting on a 50-year-old volunteer who had worn a camera while volunteering in Murkowski’s Anchorage campaign office.
“She sits with the volunteers for three weeks,” Murkowski told the Juneau Empire. “She’s just being the perfect volunteer. All the while she has a camera in her clothing and she’s talking to all these people trying to find some connection, some conspiracy.”
Out and about with Kelly Tshibaka: Just under 10,000 attendees were on the tele-rally Thursday with former President Donald Trump and Tshibaka, who is running for Senate against Murkowski. Tshibaka spoke to a group, Alaskans for Medical Freedom and Liberty, was at a gathering in Wasilla, and another in Eagle River at the Lions Club.
Shoshana Gungurstein road trip: The Senate candidate from Juneau who just moved to Alaska has traveled from Anchorage to Fairbanks and met with small groups, waved signs, and shot videos for social media in the Golden Heart City.
Bill Walker and Heidi Drygas lit drop: The gubernatorial campaign will be trolling for votes in the neighborhoods around Anchorage with “lit drop” activities, which means taking brochures to the doorways of homes in East Anchorage, starting at 10 am Saturday.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy: He was in Kotzebue earlier this week, then in Anchorage to toast Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and sign some bills. A fundraiser for Mike Dunleavy and Nancy Dahlstrom is planned for Aug. 19 in Kenai, at the end of the Kenai Classic.
Spotted in Seldovia: Rep. Sarah Vance, touring the Jakolof Bay dock, which needs to be replaced as a matter of public safety.
Endorsements: Ken McCarty won the prize endorsement of John Sturgeon as he runs for Senate for Eagle River. McCarty also received an A+ from the National Rifle Association. Tara Sweeney got the endorsement of Rex Rock Sr. and Crawford Patkotak for her congressional bid. Dan Fagan, radio show host and columnist at Must Read Alaska, said Friday, “If Trump is your guy, then Palin should be your gal.”