While the long wait for the Division of Elections to resolve the special primary is clearly making ranked choice voting less popular with Alaskans, Must Read Alaska predicts that someone with the last name starting with the letter “P” will win: Either Sarah Palin or Mary Peltola will prevail by the closest of margins and there may need to be a recount.
It could come down to 500 votes either way. We’ll know on Aug. 31, when the Division runs the second level of ranked choice voting counting.
With the regular primary now basically complete, it’s time to remind readers that for most seats in the House and Senate, the same candidates who were on your primary ballot will be the ones who appear on your general election ballot. Because of ranked choice voting, the top four go to the general, but in the vast majority of House and Senate races, there were only three or fewer candidate to begin with, which makes the whole primary just an expensive poll.
That said, a couple of observations:
Dunleavy/Dahlstrom had 40.42% of the vote, with Walker/Drygas at 22.77% and Gara/Cook at 23.07%. Considering the Walker and Gara votes will be trading back and forth in ranked choice voting, one of them could reach 45.84, not enough to reach the 50+1 needed to win. Dunleavy will probably pick up Charlie Pierce’s 6.59% voters for 47%, and he’ll be the second choice for the libertarians and constitution party voters. Still, it’s no sure bet.
For Alaska Senate Seat E, Anchorage hillside, former Sen. Cathy Giessel is the leader at 35.64%, with Democrat Roselynne Cacy in second at 33.67%, and Sen. Roger Holland trailing with 30.69%. In this race, Giessel could pick up the ranked second choice votes from either Cacy or Holland and is in a good position to win her seat back from Holland at this point. He has work to do to reverse that result.
In Senate Seat P, Fairbanks, Sen. Scott Kawasaki is in the lead with 48.80%, but Republican Jim Matherly has 44.44% and Republican Alex Jafry has 6.76%. If Jafry is eliminated and his voters choose Matherly second, Matherly is in position to win in November and retire Kawasaki. But he’s not measuring the drapes just yet.
In House District 7, Soldotna, moderate Republican Justin Ruffridge took the lead with 56.80%, and conservative Republican Rep. Ron Gillham is trailing with 43.20%. With just two in that race, will Nov. 8 be a repeat of the primary? Will Gillham start to campaign?
In House District 13, Democrat Rep. Andy Josephson and Republican Kathy Henslee are tied with 1,781 votes apiece. Who will the Alaskan Independence Party’s Tim Huit votes go to, presuming he is first to drop of the three who will be on the ballot in November?
In House District 15, Anchorage, David Eibeck, a Republican, peeled off 11.46% of the vote from Republican Rep. Tom McKay, leaving McKay with barely an edge over Democrat Danny Wells, 44.32% to 44.21%. If the Eibeck voters pick McKay second, he’ll win reelection.
In House District 17 urban core Anchorage, Democrat Rep. Zack Fields has the slight edge, but Democrat Rep. Harriet Drummond is only 92 votes behind him and she is perhaps better liked than Fields in Democratic circles.
In House District 28, Wasilla area, it’s neck and neck between Steve Menard and Jesse Sumner, with only 36 votes separating the two. There are two other Republicans in the race, and so it will come down to how voters choose their second picks in this four-candidate race.
There are other races to look at, but plenty of time to do so.
Events: At the top of the page, Kelly Tshibaka, running for U.S. Senate, and her family were all at the Kelly for Alaska booth at the Alaska State Fair on Saturday. The fair runs through Sept. 5.
Mary Peltola had a campaign kickoff event for the general election at King Street Brewery, a locally owned brewhouse in Anchorage. On Tuesday, she will have a birthday bash and fundraiser at Muse, the restaurant inside the Anchorage Museum. She is turning 49 years old. Her campaign theme seems to be “a regular Alaskan.” And “pro-choice.”
Sen. Mike Shower and Rep. Kevin McCabe held a fundraiser in Big Lake on Sunday. Spotted, Nick Begich for Congress.
Endorsements: Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky of Bethel went off the Democrat reservation and endorsed Bill Walker for governor. She pointed out that he has good character.
The AFL-CIO has endorsed Mary Peltola for Congress.
Nick Begich for Congress got the endorsements of known conservatives Pat Purcell of Palmer, Cathy Mosher of Wasilla, and Cindy Glassmaker of Soldotna.
Giessel is all in for Walker: At a Walker fundraiser on Aug. 23, former Sen. Cathy Giessel scorned Gov. Mike Dunleavy, saying he never talked to legislators, while saying Walker always talked and listened. Her speech was described as “impassioned.”
All’s quiet on the Palin front: Sarah Palin for Congress has been quiet lately, with little other than a radio ad, and that was a small buy, with just three stations and $4,000 spent.