Notes from the trail: Predicting that someone whose name starts with ‘P’ will win the special election for Congress


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.”

Nick Begich for Congress spotted at the Alaska State Fair on Sunday.

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.


  1. Isn’t David Eibeck the guy who’s been campaigning nonstop against Nick Begich instead of his actual opponent? How do you suppose that’s going to sit with voters once they realize it?

  2. Giessel is literally the devil. A miserable person whom NO one gets along with or likes, and who is HELLbent on making Dunleavy’s life miserable.. If South Anc let’s her back in, then, The ruin and chaos of Dunleavy’s second term (and hence the affairs of the state) are completely and utterly on them. They will have torpedoed the state and its future out of ignorance and arrogance and it won’t have been the first time for this insulated, privileged, and typically tone deaf, sector of the electorate.

    • You can say that again, Lawrence. Dunleavy is pulling 2:1 over both Walker and Gara, so its a sure bet that Dunleavy will be in for four more years. If Cathy gets in she will be on a revenge tour. And there is no one nastier than Cathy Giessel when she is angry. I hope her district voters see the light and keep Roger as their senator. For the sake of calm. That old tyrant pleasures herself on ruining lives.

  3. I have to echo Lawrence on this one. Giessel was a Walkeryte from the git-go and she also made Dunleavy’s term as a state senator a nightmare. In spite of her and Walker’s efforts, Big Mike did manage to get some things done in his first term, like killing SB91 which was Walker’s soft on crime bill, and bringing down the crime rate. I also note that if Rep. Zulkosky thinks Bill Walker has good character, then it doesn’t say much for her powers of judgment. As for Dunleavy, he had better start campaigning like he is behind and emphasize the poor record of Walker on a number of things like the China deal and the soft on crime to start. Contrast his own record on the same items. Also, he did manage the Covid thing quite well, considering the information he and his staff, including Dr. Zink, had. Walker has a track record – use it!

  4. Howdy Lawrence. This District, and Geissel are gonna effect All Alaskans. I’ll be calling Roger Holland and ask him what I can do to help him out. I live in Eastman’s District so I got my work cut-out to do. Roger is a good man, we can’t afford to lose him. Eastman is the reason why we got half PFD check this year, STEWART GRAHAM is running against him. Stu, and Roger are very much alike personally, and they both have an uphill fight. I heard Roger on the Radio saying he had a lot of yard signs–just give him a call. If you can put them in good and legal locations that’s a start. If you can put 5-10 signs out, and 100 people get on board that’s 500- 1000 signs passively working for Roger and Stewart. Working 24 hours a day. They must be LEGALLY placed. Signs are a reflection of the canidate, you need to tend to them–keep them clean and upright —Like Our Candidate.. We have TWO MONTHS to get Roger and Stewart to the Top. Let’s DO IT.

  5. Murky not mentioned, but this is a very interesting analysis of democrats affecting primary results.


  6. Trafalgar is the only poll worth looking at:


    (R) Laxalt 47% (+3)
    (D) Cortez Masto 44%

    (R) Vance 50% (+5)
    (D) Ryan 45%

    (D) Barnes 49% (+2)
    (R) Johnson 47%

    (D) Fetterman 48% (+4)
    (R) Oz 44%

    (D) Bennett 47% (+5)
    (R) O’Dea 42%

    AZ Senate
    (D) Mark Kelly 47.6% (+3.3)
    (R) Blake Masters 44.3%


    (R) Lombardo 46% (+2)
    (D) Sisolak 44%

    (R) DeWine 54% (+16)
    (D) Whaley 38%

    (D) Evers 48% (+0.5)
    (R) Michels 47.5

    (D) Whitmer 49% (+4)
    (R) Dixon 45%

    (D) Shapiro 49% (+4)
    (R) Mastriano 45%

    AZ Governor
    (R) Kari Lake 46.5% (+0.7)
    (D) Katie Hobbs 45.8%

      • Yes, in the end what matters is on election day. Especially the counting process ?.
        However, Trafalgar get the polls extremely close as apposed to the others that push a 10 point advantage to Democrats. Other polls have Masters down by 10 points. Senate superpac pulled funding of ads for him because…, mostly because they don’t want a real conservative to win.
        Lots WILL change in next two months.

  7. Show of hands:

    How many think Porcaro will own up to the upcoming election disaster? He pushed this Ranked Choice farce harder than anyone.

    • Mike didn’t push the ranked choice voting, he talked about how confusing it is and in June he began to tell people to “Rank the Red” because some people were only voting for 1 person like we used to do in the “good ole days” and that’s not going to get a Republican in. I listen to Mike and Crash every day and they have been giving people the right info not pushing it. I usually like reading your comments Masked Avenger. Peace Out!!!!

      • You’ve not been listening. He was on board since it was initiated. He was paid quite well to promote it.

        If you listen to callers who complained about it, they were either talked to like slow children or talked down to.

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