Election results in Alaska’s Aug. 16 special ranked choice election and statewide primary have been updated with 80% of precincts reporting as of Aug. 17.

In the special election to choose a temporary replacement to fill out the remaining months of late Congressman Don Young’s term, Mary Peltola (38.38%) was leading Sarah Palin (32.59%) and Nick Begich (29.03%). These initial numbers could well change, however, as the remaining ballots along with absentee and overseas votes are tallied over the next two weeks.

If no candidate earns more than 50% of the vote – which is likely – the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated and all the second-ranked choices on the eliminated candidate’s ballots will be awarded to the two remaining candidates as first place votes.

If Palin maintains her advantage over Begich, she would likely defeat Peltola (a Democrat) because Begich would be eliminated and his second place votes will more than likely go to fellow Republican Palin in the second and final round of tallying.

Final results for all contests, however, won’t be available until Aug. 31.

In the primary contest for U.S. Senate, the top four primary finishers were Lisa Murkowski (43.73%), Kelly Tshibaka (40.39%), Patricia Chesbro (6.22%) and Buzz Kelley (2.23%). If those numbers hold, these candidates will move on to the general election. Buzz Kelley is a pro-Trump Republican, which means if he makes it to the Nov. 8 general election, and is the first eliminated, most of his votes would likely go to Tshibaka. That still might not be enough to get her to more than 50% of the vote, which would mean that Chesbro would be the next person eliminated. If Chesbro were eliminated on Nov. 8, the vast majority of her second place votes would likely go to Murkowski since she is a pro-abortion Republican who is willing to break ranks with her party to vote with Democrats. Chesbro’s second-place votes could be enough to give Murkowski the victory.

The top four finishers in the governor’s primary race were Gov. Mike Dunleavy (41.89%), Les Gara (22.04%), Bill Walker (21.92%) and Charlie Pierce (6.87%). Rep. Christopher Kurka was in fifth place with 3.98% of the vote.

If those numbers hold, Kurka would finish fifth and not advance to the November election.

The leading four candidates in the U.S. House primary were Mary Peltola (35.05%), Sarah Palin (31.40%), Nick Begich (26.92%) and Tara Sweeny (3.57%). If those results hold, all four of these candidates would advance to the Nov. 8 general. The winner would then become the full time replacement for the late Congressman Young, and serve out a complete two-year term, beginning in January.

In addition to the statewide races, there were 59 primary contests for seats in the Alaska Legislature, but only one of those races had more than four candidates running.

Under ranked-choice, the top four finishers go onto the general election, which means that every single candidate moves onto the Nov. 8 election, except for Kieran Brown in House District 35, where five candidates were running. Brown finished fifth and was therefore eliminated.

For complete results, including detailed breakdowns of each State House and State Senate race, visit the Alaska Division of Elections website here.

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Alaska elections: Murkowski, Peltola, Dunleavy in the lead, sort of

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.