Although 60% of voters chose a Republican — Nick Begich or Sarah Palin — during the Aug. 16 special general election for the vacant congressional seat, Alaska has elected the 40% candidate — Mary Peltola, a Democrat, who will fill out the remainder of the term vacated by the late Congressman Don Young.
The Alaska Republican Party has been silent on the result, but the party has been largely paralyzed by the ranked choice voting system now being used by Alaska.
Nationally some Republican leaders are speaking out about the system of jungle primaries and ranked choice general election voting systems that robbed either Republican from being able to advance to represent Alaska in Congress. The reliably red seat just went to a Nancy Pelosi-Joe Biden Democrat. Alaska’s congressional seat was won by a congresswoman-elect who has a D rating from the NRA.
“The race in The Last Frontier was the first federal test of the state’s unusual voting system that is gaining influence across the country,” writes Emily Brooks in The Hill. The story is linked here.
“Ranked-choice voting is a scam to rig elections,” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tweeted after Alaska’s results came in Wednesday afternoon. “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion—which disenfranchises voters—a Democrat ‘won.’”
Not all Republicans agreed with Cotton. Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain, who picked Palin as his vice presidential running mate, said, “Political hacks will come up with absolutely any excuse for a loss other than just admitting their candidate was bad.” Meghan McCain has been a stinging critic of Palin, who she said brought too much drama to the McCain-Palin ticket.
But Republican National Committee national press secretary Emma Vaughn said in a statement to The Hill that the Alaska special election results “prove what we’ve known all along — ranked-choice voting disenfranchises voters. Our Republican nominees earned nearly 60% of Alaskans’ votes on the ballot, and now every single one of those voters lost their voice to choose their representative in Congress. Alaskans deserve an equal and fair process, two things this special election were not.”
Now, an RNC national committeeman from Arizona has told The Hill that he plans to lead a resolution for the RNC to formally oppose ranked choice voting at the party’s next winter meeting at the start of 2023.
Tyler Bowyer, national committeeman for Arizona, said he will offer the resolution. “It eliminates any possibility that someone that’s more conservative — and really, on the Democratic side, more progressive — can ever make it through that system,” Bowyer said to the newspaper.
“In the Alaska system, voters pick one candidate in a nonpartisan jungle primary. Then the top four candidates head to the general election, where voters rank their choices. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, there is an automatic runoff where ballots for the candidate with the least votes are reallocated to the next-choice pick, if the voter made one,” The Hill described in its story about the Alaska experiment.
Robert Dillon, a Murkowski ally, told The Hill: “The reason the party doesn’t like it is because it takes the decision about who the candidates are away from the party and gives it back to voters. The parties naturally, you know, find that threatening, but voters don’t.” Alaskans for Better Elections is the group that put ranked choice voting on the ballot, pushed it through, and is now defending it. The newspaper did not disclose Dillon’s paid association with Alaskans for Better Elections.