Peltola ahead, tight race for second for Congress


Note: This story was updated at 12:30 am Wednesday, Aug. 17

In the 11:53 pm Tuesday update from the Division of Elections, it appears that Democrat Mary Peltola has the leading position for the temporary seat in Congress to represent Alaska. This is not a surprise to political analysts.

Peltola, from rural Bethel, may appear as the leader for several days to come, but the story doesn’t end with tonight’s count, due to the peculiarities of ranked choice voting.

With 138,976 votes counted, Peltola has 52,795 votes, with Republican Sarah Palin coming in second, with 45,542 votes. Republican Nick Begich was trailing with 40,639 votes.

The special election is a ranked choice affair, which means that if Nick Begich remains in third place, he would be eliminated. Some of his voters will have ranked either Palin or Peltola as a second choice, and that person will be awarded those votes, allowing either Palin or Peltola to reach the 50+1 votes needed to win the seat. The winner fills out the remaining term of the late Congressman Don Young.

Some 277 of 402 precincts have been counted. What has not yet been tallied are the absentee ballots. The Begich campaign did a strong absentee ballot chase program, meaning that letters went out to people who had requested an absentee ballot. There are over 26,000 of those absentee votes outstanding, as well as early vote ballots; none have been counting. He may over-perform in that voter group, which trends conservative. There are also a lot of Anchorage votes not counted, and Begich did well in the Anchorage area.

In the race for the two-year seat for Congress, which will start in January, there are 22 people on the ballot, and so the numbers are more dispersed. Four people from this race will head to the November ballot for a final decision from voters. For this race, Republican Tara Sweeney has made the top four, with a little more than 3% of the vote:

  • Peltola: 49,583
  • Palin: 45,109
  • Begich: 38,679
  • Sweeney: 4,866

When Nov. 8 comes along, Alaskans will go through the exercise they just went through for the temporary congressional seat. That is, they will rank the Democrat — Peltola, and the three Republicans — Palin, Begich, and Sweeney.


  1. Sarah Palin……..THE SPOILER.
    Now she can go back to Arizona. Or Texas. Or Florida. Or wherever it is that she likes better than Alaska.

    • It won’t be Florida. We don’t like her down here. The only reason she was wanting to go to Arizona was to try to get McCain’s seat. I’m not sure where she’ll show up next. Probably in summer obscure state like Hillary did.

    • Looks like to me that Begich was the spoiler by 5,500 votes. Alaska Republican leadership and MRA should have stood behind the clear vote leader. Sarah.
      Begich is the one that should go away! He was the spoiler…

      • Palin does not care about you or any Alaskan. She left this state high and dry quitting after 2 years as Governor and hasn’t looked back.

      • Ken, Sarah is a hair brained nit wit screecher in comparison to NBIII.
        You would know this if you have an IQ above 86. That said, I am calling for Nick to step aside if he is unable to beat Palin.
        For the record Ken, I voted Sarah as my #2. Why? Because I’ll take the Drama over the Commie.

    • Palin is the spoiler?
      Uh, Begich, the RINO is the spoiler – he’s in 3rd place.
      Wake up – you are supporting the RINO Conservative Establishment candidate – with no conservative bona fides.
      Sarah will Vote MAGA – do we really know that about Begich?
      Oh yeah, he shoots a gun in his political ads – so he must be conservative, right?

    • No surprises here! Begich’s role as a spoiler is fulfilled. It is amazing how many Republicans fell for this ruse which has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory!

      • Idiot’s votes. Sarah came late to the party in her limousine. She’s the Democrat’s best friend until Peltola is sworn in. Then, Sarah’s off to her next fashion gig on the celebrity circuit. You idiots that backed her can read all about her next big deal in the Globe, or Star, or Enquirer. She laughs all the way to the Bank, and ….at all the idiot Alaskans that bought her latest bag of tricks.

  2. Looks like I called it a while back on this forum. With the Gross man dropping out, it allowed dems to consolidate their votes while repubs bickered amongst each other. The status quo. Sneaky sneaky.
    Never underestimate the sneakyness.

      • me too… the idiots against Nick probably font know he was born and raised by conservative grandparents. the mark Begich family helped campaign money grabs for Peltola not Nick. Mark supported Constant, not Nick. Wake up. Where has Sarah lives in the past number of year? Not there. she showed up when Don passed away.

      • WHERE HAS SARAH BEEN LIVING? Not here for sure. Has been outside not working to help Alaska.
        for the past 10 years. did not come back till Don Passed away.Jumped in at the very last minute to grab the seat ad keep the cameras rolling on her.

    • And thanks to ranked-choice voting, there’s no ability for a candidate to be a “spoiler” since Republicans will consolidate their votes in subsequent rounds.

    • Peltola will not get to 51% in the first round. So, unless a large number of Begich voters either didn’t rank Sarah or even put Peltola as their second choice, she won’t win.

      • I ranked only Begich. Palin does not care about Alaska and will stab us in the back. If you don’t remember she was behind the failed ACES driving Oil producers out of the state to more productive fields in the lower 48.

      • NB3 has been in the game for over a year. Palin jumped in only after Don Young kicked it. Palin is nothing but a cheap opportunist.

    • Begich, from the most LIBERAL political family in Alaska is in 3rd place.
      Name one thing from his background that show’s he’s conservative. He hasn’t been involved in local community politics. He has ZERO conservative bona fides.
      He voted for Nathan Berkowitz for Anchorage mayor.
      Begich, who is a RINO – will be there for 30 years if he’s elected – Sarah will not.
      Wake up – you are being played by the same people that told you to vote for Lisa for the last 20 years – and you know you did!

      • Sorry you are so confused. Why don’t you go to a fundraiser or other event and ask him. But maybe you’d rather spew the hate.

      • Done with you. You keep repeating the same tired canards without ever checking what Nick stands for – he is far more conservative than the princess sally-come-lately that ruined Nick’s run. Try talking to the man for starters like I did. NB3 is smart, articulate, and conservative. He trounced Sarah in every candidate forum. Fools bought the beauty queen and a false reputation and are giving us a lefty extremist. Even Trump (NOT normally a fool…) made a big mistake on this one.

      • DoneWithIt,
        I concur with you on one point, Sarah will not be in Office for long. She will jump ship as soon as she can I’m happy I voted Sarah as my second choice.

    • If you understand how ranked-choice voting works, you’d know that it is impossible for a candidate to be a “spoiler” since, assuming Begich ultimately comes in third, his voters would most likely have chosen Palin as their second choice and those votes would go to her.

      • Pilot – I suspect that Begich voters did not rank Palin second, in fact the ones who know the game plan probably ranked Peltola second!

        • Fish , or Crab Bait of whoever you are… look every Nick Supporter I know voted Vapid Screecher ( Sarah) in second place including me. I’ll take the less informed attention seeking media money machine named Sarah Palin over the Commie. Ok?

          Meanwhile let me dose you with some W-D 40 and let you soak on that for awhile. You need us to get your infatuation over the finish line.
          Divided we fall fish.

          • OOsik – wow, so all of the people that you know voted Palin second. That observation and a buck fifty will get you a cup of coffee, although I hope you are right!

    • No….apparently with rank choice, the 4th person is eliminated, and those people’s vote goes to whomever they ranked second. After that, if noone gets 50% of the vote, the 3rd person will be eliminated and those people’s second choice vote goes to the remaining 2 people. So I think the way it works, either Palin or Begich will win the race. ( I hope that no one who voted for Begich, Palin or Sweeney, even ranked Peltola.) Therefore, sooner or later, Begich’s votes will go to Palin or Palin’s votes will go to Begich. Which is why I think that Peltola has pretty much all the votes that she is going to get, at this first round. SOMEONE PLEASE CORRECT ME IF THIS IS WRONG….THIS STUPID WAY OF VOTING IS NOT STRAIGHTFORWARD BY ANY MEANS….I JUST DID THE BEST I COULD TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON!

      • You are incorrect because there were only 3 on the ballot, not 4 like it was set up to be. Gross who was to be the 4th on the ballot dropped out. And because it was done too late, (i think 60 or 90 days before election was the cut off) Sweeny didn’t make it on the ballot.
        Therefore, the last place candidate will be removed from this round of voting and the other 2 advances to November.

        • There were two elections on this ballot for US Congress. One for the “temporary” seat for U.S. Congress, which is the only rank choice vote we made this primary election. Yes, there were only 3 spots,(thanks to our Alaskan court) So what happens next is that the 3rd place person(probably Begich) gets eliminated, and the 2nd choice votes of those people go to the top two people. (Probably Palin and Peltola) If enough people at least ranked Palin 2nd after ranking Begich 1st, then Palin could very possibly get the 50% +1 that she needs. The problem will be if people who voted Begich first, chose Peltola as their second choice….which I hope didn’t happen.

          One of the other choices we had to make on this ballot was for the full term US Congressional seat. And in that election, you marked only the candidate that is your first choice. Then they will take the top 4, which looks like Peltola, Palin, Begich and Sweeney, and we do this rank choice stuff all over again in November in the general. I absolutely hate this way of voting, it is confusing even for all of us who are paying attention!

  3. Regardless of his personal politics, it’s clear Alaska can’t get past the name Begich

    If Nick really wants to be a player, he needs to win some local elections first and build a record people can study.

  4. Begich- the guy who supported Berkowitz- should have dropped out. I urged him to do so many times in this forum. He clearly was never going to earn as many votes as Sarah Palin.

    Now- you see the trickery of this RCV. A solidly conservative state now (hopefully temporarily) has a socialist Democrat in the lead because the conservative votes are split.

    This socialist Democrat will support the wacked- out Biden agenda (more deficit spending, higher taxes, open borders- and everything else that can be done to destroy our economy and country.)

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    • M, Clearly it will be the wacky RCV that will save your darling girls bacon. Like many astute Alaskans I voted Nick, the clearly more capable and intelligent candidate. However, I also voted Sarah as my second choice since she is preferred over the Commie. I have every confidence that Sarah will prevail. You’re welcome.

  5. If we get a Dem and a RINO in Murky its because Ak is leaning blue. Has been for years. Anchorage is a mess, Legislature is a joke, RINO representation in Washington. Governor who lost his spine. Read the room. 60 years of Ak life and im ready to throw the towel in. The influx of liberals and end of the roaders has ruined this place. The native community has joined in ruining the thing they say they love by embracing the democratic party. They get to own the fallout. How ya liking the crap bag of the largest village in the State? All the result of Democrat policy. A sign of where the state is going. Fairbanks is next. Mat Su is the only place I see putting up a decent fight. Kenai……maybe. November will tell us where we are going. I hope im wrong.

  6. Sarah could be elected by the ranked choice method she has campaigned against. This shows how clueless Sarah is

    • Maybe not so clueless.
      The fastest way to kill RCV is for Republicans to win because of it. The leftists are probably looking at these results and trying to find ways to fix…. errr… I mean, fortify the RCV law for the 2024 elections. Hopefully, they end up destroying it.

    • She would’ve won a Republican primary and been the only Republican candidate on a normal election ballot, since she was the winner in the open primary. So ranked choice or not, Sarah would win.

      • The purpose of RCV was to get moderates elected who would work for Alaskans instead of far right, or far left politicians who got on the ballot through a closed primary which benefits the few over the many

        • Frank – at least you stated a partial truth for once when you say that RCV was enacted so as to elect “moderates. “Moderates” who will work with the neo-aristocracy of this country & never for the common people. “MOderates” who are part of the new Uniparty of the USA. The electorate in Alaska has effectively been neutered, but that is probably ok with you.

    • Frank, I agree with you for once, and might I also point out that this whole charade of RCV was conducted only to get Daddies little Princess re-elected? But you’re cool with it I’m sure. I mean you cannot let the people hold the levers of power, they being so dumb and all.

  7. If Begich voters ranked Sarah second, then she will win. If they only ranked Begich, Peltola will win. If Peltola wins, it will be because the Palin and Begich campaigns didn’t coordinate adequately in educating their voters to rank the red. Even if Peltola does win because Begich voters didn’t rank Palin second, the opportunity exists to correct the mistake in November. Both Palin and Begich need to enthusiastically tell their supporters to rank the other one second.

    • Personal opinion here.
      That’s what happened, even without the campaigns coordinating/educating.
      There are plenty of people who went one ranking, but enough are on the ball enough to rank their party platform, and not rank the opposition.
      Then again… there is the Murkowski situation. But, her Democrat appeal is massive enough to swing it her way regardless of RCV.

  8. I would point out that murkowski sacrificed a republican seat with here ranked choice game. And, you stupid people bought that hook line and sinker. Maybe next time you will pay attention? Nah.

  9. The main problem is so called conservatives/Republicans won’t mark down the other Republican as their 2nd choice, thus handing a victory to the Democrat. This shitty rank choice voting system needs to go.

    • It’s better to have a democrat who will stab you in the front than a RINO who will stab you in the back.

    • Hold on a second, we haven’t even reached the ranked choice part yet. You are making an assumption not in evidence. If this were a regular election there would only be 2 candidates, because we would have settled the Sarah/Nick question in the primary. Peltola received the majority of the vote, because AL dropped out(for what reason we may never know) and the democrat aisle had only the choice to vote for her, otherwise we may have seen both republicans in the #1 & #2 positions. I hope this does not become a pattern for dems. So why don’t we wait until all is said and done, before we throw accusations out there.

    • I am about as conservative as it comes, and I ranked both Republican candidates, and provided no ranking for Petola or Write In.
      I do not know of a single person who admits only ranking one person. Yes, there are the big mouths in the MRAK comments, but I think they are a vocal minority.

  10. Wait what Palin out performed Bag Boy and Sarah is the spoiler really. To many people do not want dynasty families in politics period. That is as big an issue as the Palin hate mongers. Unfortunately the Palin haters were so hell bent on getting Sarah they took their eye off the big target Murky. Appears Murky the true author of Ranked Choice Voting will skate to six more years extending the Murkowski rule to 47 years. Hate is a powerful emotion often clouding judgement. So Alaska will have Pro Death Women at the Federal Congressional and Senate level. Well done Alaska Republican Party.

    • Hate for Palin is a derangement syndrome.
      It’s just like the people that hate Trump.
      These hateful people place more importance on style over substance.
      It’s sad.
      It’s pathetic.
      They are to blame – the Cheney, Kinzinger, Romney, Downing type folks.

  11. If you close your eyes and forget the results, the logical path (for a Republican candidate) is for 2nd and 3rd place Republicans to step out of the race and support 1st place (Republican). e.g. Begich and Sweeney step out and support Palin.

  12. Nice job. Must Read and the rest of you semi-conservatives pushed and pulled and got Nick all the way up to finish …3rd. Dropped one spot from the primary.

    Looking for steady progress as he finishes 4th in the general. Well done.

  13. Palin was a horrible Governor and was more of a socialist than a conservative. Her policies were terrible and caused oil companies to leave thanks to her ACES which was authored by Dems. She also chose to support Walker as Gov over Sean Parnell. I voted for Begich, but I did mark Palin as 2nd choice because Peltola would be terrible for Alaska.

  14. Nick has to get away from reasonableness. It is not reasonable to make our Constitutional rights smaller. A vote for Peltola insures loss of gun rights and communist one world order influence in Alaska. She is weak on the Constitution. She doesn’t like it. It’s too rowdy.

  15. Thank you Republican Party of Alaska for making so that a 3rd place Democratic finisher is now the winner!

      • Exactly. With RCV there is no winner until the last person is eliminated, and his/her 2nd votes spread among the top candidates. And that is what the news releases should say. Something like, “Remember, there are 2 rounds to this election, and nothing is decided until the eliminated 3rd person’s 2nd rank votes are counted.” (Ok that is too long and confusing for a headline, but it certainly is more truthful.) The gloom on one side and the celebratory air on the other side is totally unwarranted at this point.

  16. Let’s see how much the leftists like RCV after Palin wins in the second round.
    Seriously, Peltola at 38%, Palin at 32%. Begich is last, meaning his 2nd choice will become 1st choice. Do you really think any Begich voter put Petola down as 2nd choice? Or even ranked her at all?

      • If you know conservatives that ranked Petola in any way, you need to stop hanging around with idiots.
        Better to vote for a Democrat, rather then let a Republican that I do not like get in is a bogus reason.

        • I totally agree with you. And I hope that conservatives didn’t do that. If your personal 1st place didn’t get in, then get over it and support the next one who is most aligned with what your core beliefs are. (That’s what primaries are supposed to be for, anyway) Seriously, the Republicans have to do a much better job communicating with us, their constituency, and stop bashing each other.

        • The problem, as I outline below in my main comment is that once you get beyond “drill-baby-drill” and the Donald Trump bluster, Ms. Palin has no legislative skills and holds few conservative principles. A conservative would never had endorsed Bill Walker or supported ACES. Conservatives want to work hard and achieve lasting results. Conservatives are not narcissists. Trying to market Ms. Palin as a conservative simply does not work. Other than negative media attention, electing Ms. Palin produces nothing of value for Alaskans.

          (I will save for another day my views on the efforts of some to equate the cult of Donald Trump as conservatism. It is not.)

  17. This is stupid, it’s enough to make this old Alaskan to quit voting. I didn’t support the governor because he refused to look into the last election results. This is the result. He is to weak!

    •! Don’t quit voting. Try to understand this stupid new system so you can at least not end up with a Democrat as governor!

    • No! Look at CBMTTek’s comment. He has it exactly right. The thing about RCV is that you have to count the votes of the 3rd and 4th (well, there is no 4th unless you wrote in Sweeney) ranked people also. Because they get counted for the 1st and 2nd ranked persons. As long as you Never rank anyone whom you absolutely do not want to win, I think this works. AGAIN, PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG….JUST TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF THIS PROCESS!

      • This system makes no sense. That’s why they sold it to us. When things make no sense it it usually means there is a lie in it somewhere.

  18. Peltola is the new face of the Democrats, she will win. Al Gross dropping out was very predictable and this is the result.

  19. It’s called “vigilance”! When Alaskans allowed voter fraud to succeed in the 2020 election, and the highly questionable RCV ballot to pass, the seed was planted to ensure “selected”, not the elected, candidates would appear to win. When the public didn’t immediately resolve the integrity of the 2020 election, it invited a replay for 2022 and 2024. Ask yourself what you, or the government, has done since November 2020 to ensure voting integrity! Why do you need machines to perform simple math? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result!” If you think 2024 is somehow going to be magically different, you’re not as bright as you think.

  20. For anyone thinking Alaska has free and fair elections, please cut and paste the below article into your browser. The Uniparty is alive and well in our State! They purposely pushed RCV and Mail-in voting to steal this election from the people of Alaska.


  21. Enough ranting and wailing! The electorate speaks for itself! The big story is Begich’s loss, especially following all the endorsements he garnered! That is an indication Palin’s backers made their own decisions based on a rationale that evades the grasp of the local power-players: Sarah came flying in hot!

    Now that Dr. Nick Begich the Second (the same ol’ Begich of “Angels Doesn’t Play This Harp” and “Controlling the Human Mind–The Technologies of Political Control or Tools for Peak Performance”) came out with his son the “Third” on election night, you can expect more eyeballs to come popping out! Maybe it is just a family game, but to whose loss and to whose gain?

    Expect, Sarah to come flying in hot in November to “Czar” Nicholas II’s utter dismay!

    And, Giddy-up, Art! Giddy-up, ol’ boy!

  22. Edit: “Expect Sarah to come flying in hot in November to “Czar” Nicholas II’s utter dismay!”

  23. If Ms. Palin wins, it will mean that Alaska has no effective representation in Congress. Ms. Palin has demonstrated she has no idea how the House of Representatives works. She lacks the skill to work on legislation or to ask relevant questions in committee work. She will be expected to vote on every matter that reaches the House floor. She will be unable to understand the rules of the body. She will join Alexandria Occasio Cortez and Margery Taylor Green as members of the Narcissist Caucus. Ms. Palin will become bored and restless very quickly.

    • JMARK, I concur with everything you state above. However I still voted S.P. as my second choice. I did so because the Commie/Evil PARTY candidate is a far worse choice for Alaska every other freedom loving individual.
      The good news is that S.P. will as you say get bored and move along rather quickly. I’d be surprised if she ran for re-election in “24.

  24. Sarah will prevail.
    No Democrat would rank her.
    Begich has one major problem:
    His name.
    And lack of Public Service.
    Alaskans know that blood is thicker than water.
    And the spruce hen doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  25. The primaries are joke. If the idea was to draw in a bunch of people, it did that in the high profile races. Looking at the district level it did not, those will be a rinse and repeat.
    In the high profile races it’s still the same people that would get there anyway. Below the top 4 you have a bunch of nothing but people who want a little attention.

    The idea sold to the people hasn’t born out, the game is the same with different rules and different strategies, nothing gained.

    And get this, there are candidates who knowing they would be in the top 4 because that’s all that entered did little campaigning or door knocking, saving that for the rcv
    round. Keep that in mind when digesting this crap. Mia Costello vs Matt Damon is one. It’s a two way race as usual and one has bucks left and one doesn’t. Did rank choice do diddly? Nope, same for all the races except the big ones. And those, well, it just takes a lot more time that strings this out for what?

    Not a fan

  26. Here’s how I see it. As shown in many of the comments here, we tend to get into pissing matches regarding who should and shouldn’t be considered, voted for, elected…etc. The Dems never squabble even when they’re insanely wrong. They double-down, unite and vote strictly stupid until the end. As much as I dislike RCV, it may help in this instance with a potential bad result due to said “matches.” Rank Red in the first 2 slots and, whichever Repub gets in, it’ll be MUCH better than Petola.

  27. When you add up the Begich and Palin votes Peltola loses in a landslide. Vote splitting is the curse of Conservative politics. Gross backed out for Peltola. This is how the left beat us.

  28. Peltola will be lovingly and gently coopted by what’s left of a deep state. Their empty socialist form of government seems well-manned to her and her constituents I believe. The republic will continue with out much support from her direction due I believe to her basic insufficient knowledge of the founding documents. Protecting any individual rights she can’t articulate will not be likely to happen in her occupation and receipt of public trust fund stipend. Begich and Palin understand the US Constitution better.

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