With 60% of the voters choosing Republicans (Palin and Begich) in round one of Alaska’s ranked-choice vote election for the U.S. House, it seemed like the final outcome should have been a Republican win. One of the Republicans should have inherited the other’s votes with rank choice voting. But the Democrat won. This baffled my mind when I found out. I wondered what in tarnation happened. It was not until I looked at polling data, and took into consideration differing cultures in Alaska, that I found the answer.

The factor that has not been considered in this race is Palin’s 63% negativity rating revealed by pollsters. A high negativity rating gives candidates a low ceiling, and makes them unelectable.

For Republican voters, I thought Sarah would be a far better second-choice option than Peltola (a Bernie Sanders-styled, far-left Democrat) any day of the week, but apparently about half of Begich’s voters did not agree with me. That seemed really odd, given how conservative Begich is. We don’t really know who those voters are, nor their motives. We can only speculate.

Polarizing candidates just don’t win our statewide races. They offend too many voters.

Some Begich voters did not choose to fill out a second-choice candidate at all. There are probably many reasons for that, all of them negative. The ones that really surprised me were the ones who chose Peltola as their second. There is no question about Begich being conservative, so that defied logic to me. Reasoning is not always political, especially in a state-wide campaign in Alaska. One man I met at a Republican meeting (who lives remotely in the Bush) told me that in the Alaska Native culture respect is the utmost priority. If you come across as disrespectful, people will not listen to you or vote for you, regardless your political viewpoint.

Sarah did hardly any campaigning in Alaska, but she did show up for debates. Many people in Alaska live remotely and may not know her history as governor, nor her status as a celebrity, but they may have watched some of the debates. Her persona on the debate stage probably turned some people off. Additionally, Palin’s supporters are aggressive on social media, with many trolls in attack-mode against anyone who supported Begich. Her entire social media campaign was negative. All of that came to mind when I looked at the data and saw Palin’s negativity rating. Peltola and Begich were well spoken and had low-key personalities at debates. Sarah is anything but low-key. I suspect this played a big part in Begich voters ranking Peltola as their second choice.

A statewide candidate cannot overcome the low ceiling that a high negativity rating causes in Alaska. Joe Miller faced the same problem when he ran against Murkowski (twice) and against Dan Sullivan. Likewise, much of Rep. Christopher Kurka’s entire campaign was spent bashing his Republican opponents. Kurka was so unpopular that he didn’t even make the final four during the jungle primary.

Since Palin beat Begich in round one, there is no way for Begich to face Peltola alone and win the seat for Republicans in November, unless something changes dramatically.

Polarizing candidates just don’t win our statewide races. They offend too many voters. To further the point, Dunleavy is married to a native woman and spent his working career in Bush Alaska. He has a very low-key, respectful personality. His campaign is low-key and positive. His ratings are the highest in the governor race. There are probably many reasons he is doing so well, but in Alaska’s statewide races you simply must take the negativity rating into account. Polling data and round two in the Palin/Begich/Peltola race confirm that point. 

I imagine that pollsters asked questions like, “If Palin and Peltola are the final two, who would you vote for?” and “If Begich and Peltola are the final two, who would you vote for?” The resulting data verifies that a negativity rating is a very important factor. It also verifies that the native culture plays an important role in the final outcome, because their vote is often all about that negativity rating rather than political viewpoints of candidates. I can think of no other logical explanation for the polling data and final outcome going to a Democrat.

No one paid attention to polling data done in July, but now it all makes sense. It shows that if Palin were to be eliminated, Begich would beat the democrat easily (see chart):

Since Palin beat Begich in round one, there is no way for Begich to face Peltola alone and win the seat for Republicans in November, unless something changes dramatically.

The best solution for conservatives is for Palin to change that final outcome by dropping out. She is unelectable and cannot win. She prevents a Republican victory by blocking Begich from facing Peltola. I don’t see Palin as a team player, so that may be a long shot. Palin would need to put the good of our state and our country above all else. It would be such a huge blessing if she is humble enough to do that. I bet it would do wonders for her negativity rating too. 

If Palin refuses to back down, then we can only hope for the best. Begich will need to step up his campaign and Republican leaning voters need to be convinced to rank the red. Whichever candidate is eliminated, their votes simply must go to the other Republican in this race. That is a huge hurdle to get over, as voters may not want to do that.

Bottom line: it is all about data-informed strategy at this point. If Palin is a good strategist she will see the writing on the wall, and if our state and country are most important to her, she will do her part to help secure that seat for an electable Republican.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

OPINION: Palin should quit so Alaska can elect a Republican to U.S. House

Carol Carman
Carol Carmen is the Republican Party District Chair for District 29 in the Mat-Su Valley.


  • Penny Seliger says:

    I agree.

  • Wilson Wilson says:

    I love jow you there is no question Begich is conservative. Look at his voting history. He has voted for democrats more than Republicans. So I don’t agree that there’s no question he is conservative. Not that 0ali. Is any better but we need to stop choosing the lesser evil. It’s just sad that our failed elections have led to this ranked choice. That’s the true reason any of this is happening anyway.

  • Jerry says:

    Spot on!

  • Tim Agosti says:

    Also Agree

  • wayne walton says:

    Another stolen election. Paper ballots, hand counted with same day result voter ID No machines. It`s not hard, France did it with a larger population then Alaska. Come on Alaska,stop letting the criminals rule over us.

    • Marth says:

      This author clearly works for the Alaska Republican party who hates Palin because she did not work for the benefit of oil companies like they do.
      I agree about the election- It takes even longer to put it through the machine, it is absurd. We can still count by hand, and the results need to be posted at the precinct level before going through electronic tabulators. In 2004 Alaska had 200% voter turnout in 16 out of 40 districts, with evidence of massive manipulation to the voter database, also involving a Murkowski election… and people here still pretend our elections cannot be tampered with.

  • Greg in Homer says:

    So, the most popular Republican should drop out? Is that what the author is saying? Quick, someone check Carol Carmen’s voter registration. I bet it is Democrat. Only a Dem could come up with a lunatic idea like having the Republican frontrunner drop out. Carol should have either asked the #2 Begich to drop out to give Palin a better chance or should have asked Begich voters to rank all Republican voters in the November election. Bullet voting is a losing proposition, and evidently, Begich voters were not smart enough to figure that out.

  • AK Pilot says:

    Excellent analysis. People need to stop with the claims that the election was stolen or the system is somehow rigged and look to the next election, which is thankfully only 2 months away in this case. I agree that Palin is probably not going to be a team player, so Begich needs to be: He needs to spend the next 2 months convincing his voters to rank Palin second in order to keep our seat in Congress, and quite possibly Congress as a whole, in Republican hands.

    • Vince Guerra says:

      So, ignore the mountains of data proving fraud in the last election and focus on winning the next election without addressing any of those previous issues? Logic test: failed.

    • Vickie says:

      Ak Pilot- get your head out of the clouds…. You better do some research. Please go to…true the vote and get educated. Good grief!

  • RandomReader says:

    The Democratic party couldn’t be happier if a Trump-endorsed candidate lost because of a vote split between Palin and Begich.

  • Terry says:

    This claim is that this woman is a Republican District Chair, and if so, we have clear evidence of how deeply Democrats have infiltrated the Alaska Republican Party. That’s how Begich and Murkowski get and keep their support, and that’s how Democrats have turned the State blue.

  • Michael Lindbeck says:

    Begich’s conservative creds ARE questionable: he’s an unknown & his supporters voting demokrat or throwing away their vote only makes him more suspect. Palin is a social conservative, but does have high negatives as a quitter, a tax & spend leftist, mean-spirited, arrogant, disdainful, didn’t bother to campaign, trooper-gate, & a “Johnny come lately” to the race. If all Nick & Sarah voters ranked the other 2nd, we’d at least not have a radical leftist who helped Lisa best Joe Miller: but Nick’s won’t, so we’ll be Blue. I don’t like either, but Sarah quit once citing good of Alaska: she should quit again for the same reason.

    • Trained Observer says:

      Michael, I should have read your comment before I chimed in. I agree mostly, but jury still out on the Begich vote, though you make a good point.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Carol Carman, you sure seem to be doing what you are accusing other Republicans of “Polarizing candidates…..” This ranked choice voting should not be in Alaska period. When I am voting for a candidate, I don’t want to have to “vote” for a candidate of the other party. When I vote, I want to vote for the person that I want in there – not a second, third, and fourth – end of story. The ranked choice voting is forcing Alaskans to manipulate the votes and this has no place in Alaska because many Alaskans want honest and fair elections.

    • Jacob says:

      You don’t understand how ranked choice voting works (as 20% of Begich voters apparently didn’t either.) You don’t have to vote for the other party. All you have to do is check all the Republicans as 1st, 2nd, etc. And not check the Dem. If every Republican voter uudetatood this, Palin or Begich would have won.

    • sangeo247 says:

      So let’s start the presses to get standard Republican/Democratic primary back and get rid of rank choice voting! Every state in the lower 48 who tried rank choice voting overturned it quickly because it is a mess.

  • Therese Syren says:

    Thank you Jacob!!! Begich 1st rank voters, who didn’t rank Palin 2nd, are you listening??? You made the difference to give the victory to a Pro-Abortion candidate!! UNBORN BABIES’ LIVES ARE ON THE LINE!!!!

  • Kenneth L Wells says:

    The underlying assumption here is that rank choice isn’t designed by cheaters for the purpose of cheating. It is the case, nearly always, that when something simple is made complicated, it is done so as to obfuscate shenanigans. Project Veritas revealed Murkowski was in on it and the whole rancid thing is a scam.
    It is also the case that the republican party has become so… leftist… that we vote for their candidates while holding our noses and cursing their names in our heads. We elect them, they go to office and do nothing they promised to do and everything they promised not to do. Republicans in office, you’re only there because your slightly less disgusting than democrats. Proud of that, are you? You should not be.

  • Jan DeLand says:

    Some Palin followers who were fooled by the Palin endorsed Walker/Mallott team and subsequently voted for ranked choice, believed bullet voting (for Palin only) would somehow now get rid of corruption or absolve them from past mistakes perhaps. Nick did recommend ranking Sarah 2nd and the Begich supporters were repeatedly asking the Palin devotees to rank Nick after their 1st choice, or in short, to “rank the red”. In that the end result was opposite of what I observed after Palin jumped into the race, it does beg the question if the machines flipped some of the votes. We need real reform including going back to secure paper ballots & ID, cleaning up voter rolls, getting rid of the jungle primary, ranked choice and machine counting because they can be programed or hacked. In the mean time, we must rank the red, voting for Nick and Sarah or vice versa because the stakes too high to send a Democrat to D.C.

  • Clearly says:

    Rank the red. Vote for both Palin and Begich, leave Peltola blank. That’s how the Republicans win. Stop the complaining and just rank both.

  • North to Alaska says:

    Carol Carmen, please show me any writing, opinions etc (even a freaking post-it note) by Begich that confirms his conservative beliefs prior to him running for office???? He had to migrate his pro-abortion during an radio interview.
    Telling Sarah to quit based on polls which are notoriously bad is definitely something an establishment hack would do. Telling her to quit because much of Begich voters are democrats is like telling Kelly Tshibaka to quit because some of Lisa Murkowski’s votes might go to the other democrat.

  • Trained Observer says:

    With regard to the Republican ticket this was clearly a popularity contest, and the most popular candidate did not overcome. The math is simple and there were enough total republican votes to put a republican in the seat, if properly employed. But I continually heard people saying that they would only vote for one candidate, and that’s ok as long as everyone is on the same sheet of music. I’m not crazy about the Republicans as a party either. They don’t play well with others, they don’t see politics as a team sport, and they are hungry for power until they get it, then don’t know how to use it effectively. Ranking the Red is a strategy and without a strategy we get what we got, a democrat win. Palin had her shot in Alaska and thinks bubbleheaded quips and hockey mom antics are what we need now. There was a race for this seat before she returned her gaze on Alaska. Like a shark on a feeding frenzy she came late into this race and had not even considered serving Alaska again until Young passed. I read that as an opportunist. We’ve been saying for years that it was time for Young to retire, but who would replace him? Remember, she did not get the Part nod, Begigh did. She thought she could walk back in and no one would remember her war against the private sector, her liberal policies, ACES, the bridges to nowhere, Troopergate, and that was just half of her term. She doesn’t really see herself as a conservative – she’s never met one. Her short attention span saw her leave the state in the middle of her term to be a VP candidate for a RINO. She tried to use the excuse that she was spending too much of the people’s money to defend herself against in state attacks and would rather leave than continue to waste taxpayer money. That was a deception to make it look as though she were taking the high road. Palin had seen the world and its alure and sought to make her fortune, and it took its affect on her family and Hollywood, and reality TV could not stop the downward spiral. Time to retire this mediocre derby runner and back a different horse; she would drown Alaska in the sinking mire of the DC Swamp. But her ego is too large and she feels her obligation to Trump is greater than her obligation to Alaska. Trump only saw her popularity and not her history and should never have backed her. She is addicted to the camera and the microphone and won’t give up that drug.
    I voted for Begich. I ranked Palin #2 in spite of her character and history. I view her as another flag waiving, ineffective, cheerleader like Marjorie Taylor- Greene, who will never get anything accomplished. I don’t agree with the thinking of other Begich voters to not rank the red. Begich is a new-comer with a questionable name and poor ‘election’ voting record. But he has been honest when questioned, he is an astute businessman, he has put his money and reputation ahead of his name, and he admits his shortcomings publicly. Naïve, cunning or honest; we must decide, but we know Palin and she does not admit her shortcomings, has shown her lack of political prowess in spades and is predictably ineffective. I support an effort to see Palin withdraw her candidacy for the good of Alaskans, and for the party.

  • Brett says:

    I voted for Nick and so did everyone i know and yes we didn’t vote for the brain dead Quitter Palin, she was at CPAC campaigning not in Alaska campaigning . Thats should be enough for the braindead Palin bots that vote for her. She was one of our worst Governors so nce state hood. She should go back to taking care of he r imagine and let the voters have a real conservative in congress. Remember, she waited till Rep. Young passed away before running.

  • Sarah Palin Supporter says:

    Begich III needs to WITHDRAW❗️HE received the least votes in this Special Election & in our June 2022 Election. Sarah Palin beat him in both Elections‼️ DON’T IGNORE ALASKA VOTERS’ CHOICE/VOICE❗️Begich III appears to be deceitful & untrustworthy, so why act surprised that so many voters can’t & won’t vote for him❓SARAH PALIN for U.S. Rep. of Alaska❗️✅✌

  • Me says:

    If the author really is a chair in the Republican Party, then she underscores why I won’t commit to that party. Anyone who can’t understand the corruption and fraud in our election system and condemns candidates that are too negative because they are talking about it, is not only part of the problem, but leading the charge. Look in the mirror and congratulate yourself on destroying our country.

  • Ed says:

    The Alaska Republican Party needs to show some real proactive leadership — and insist upon there being ONLY ONE Republican candidate on this upcoming November ballot.

  • Ed says:

    Also, flip a coin between the two — if need be! Let’s get behind ONE person.

  • Living in the Mat Su says:

    If we had a traditional Republican primary race, Palin would have won the Republican ticket. I can’t believe that they want a Republican who carries the most votes to drop out of the race. Begich insulted Palin on the Alaskan News Source by treating her like she was unintelligent. Men who treat women like they’re unintelligent lose the votes from other women. Palin is the only chance of winning the Congressional seat. Republicans need to stop pointing fingers and get realistic, drop the candidate with the least amount of votes, it’s a no brainer!

    • Mable says:

      She may have some modicum of intelligence but she is one of the most ignorant candidates I have ever watched. She is also an attention whore who will be self-serving if elected, not a servant to Alaskans and the U.S.

    • Valley Conservative says:

      I can’t support Palin after reading her ranting about her sex life with her boyfriend and watching her weird press conference on her back lawn, it is obvious she can’t be put in charge of anything of value.

      “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”

  • Me says:

    We can solve all of this if the gutless GOP and candidates just stand up and demand a forensic audit of proposition 2 in the November 2020 election. People have lost faith in our elections and if it really did pass, then we need to see that. Denying election fraud and ‘moving forward’ only cements my lack of faith.

  • R says:

    Machines do NOT CHEAT….: it’s the cheating liars: Despots!
    Sarah: Please DO NOT back out of the race!

  • Tabitha Nardini says:

    Palin is the right chose. She is strong, hard working and believes in the right to life. She won’t tell you what you to hear. She will tell you truth. That is what our state and the hole country needs. There is people out there that don’t want the truth and will do anything to stop it. I believe with my heart. She will due the right thing, not only for our state, country but our children.

  • Tabitha Nardini says:

    Palin is the right chose. She is strong, hard working and believes in the right to life. She won’t tell you what you to hear. She will tell you truth. That is what our state and the hole country needs her in congress. There is people out there that don’t want the truth and will do anything to stop it. I believe with my heart. She will due the right thing, not only for our state, country but our children.

  • Tabitha Nardini says:

    Palin is the right chose. She is strong, hard working and believes in the right to life. She won’t tell you what you to hear. She will tell you truth. She will due the right thing, not only for our state, country b0ut our children. That is why we need her in congress.

  • Tabitha Nardini says:

    Palin is the right chose. She is strong, hard working and believes in the right to life. She won’t tell you what you to hear. She will tell you truth. She will due the right thing, not only for our state, country but our children. That is why we need her in congress.

  • Diana says:

    Keep on going, Sarah!!! Don’t stop and don’t give up! The next few weeks are full of change and good activity. “It ain’t over till the Fat Lady Sings!” What a change in attitude after the debate between Tshibaka , Murkowski and Chesbro. ADN publications are trying real hard to make it hard to get the debate video from the Oil and Gas conference on September 1, 2022 and viewings are limited because they are bought and paid for by the Democrats and the Murkowski bunch. We say the back handed way Frank Murkowski dealt with the voters when he put his idiot daughter in a position that should have been a voted event by the residents of the state. We were disenfranchised then but not now. Never give up and don’t cave. It’s not over yet and the winds of Alaska are blowing in a new direction.

  • Michael Alexander says:

    A preliminary background check of Begich, shows his Uncle Mark is a limited business partner. Nick Begich also is the owner of several shell corporations, a prime way of money laundering. Unfortunately for most valley conservative voters Mrs Carmen and her fellow Republican women groups endorse many less than conservative candidates due to the fact they do not perform back-ground checks, and grant endorsements based on being told what they want to hear. They also do not believe in criticizing their endorsed officer holders actions, that is unless it’s David Eastman. My advice would be to do your own research on Mrs Carmen’s future endorsements. The last thing Mrs Carmen or the Republican Women want is a true conservative. They mostly prefer cowardly moderates that claim they are conservative.

  • Debi says:

    I totally disagree with you. In my humble opinion Begich is just another Murkowski. He would be just as harmful to Alaska as the democrat. Palin’s only problem is that she’s to honest and wants to do things the right way with using some common sense and that just isn’t popular any longer it seems. We are doomed! Our poor state.

  • Akdale says:

    Sarah got the most votes. I am not a fan. But to the victor goes the spoils and you get what you ask for. A weak, reality show train wreck who gaves use ACES and Bill Walker. Way to go Alaska….from a 60 year lifelong resident.

  • Vince Guerra says:

    The second this went into a second round the fix was in. This has nothing to do with Palin or Begich’s personality, it’s 100% about machine manipulation. Anyone who doesn’t understand that hasn’t learned the lessons of the last two years.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I am researching Begich more. I know Sarah Palin’s history – both work and what personal information we all found out. I hear information about Begich and am trying to tie it all together: where he grew up because I thought he grew up in Eagle River, but heard someone say he was raised in Florida? Who raised him? Why is he a Republican and not a Democrat like the rest of his family that we Alaskans are familiar with? Has much been asked about his techie company FarShore that he is the founder and executive chairman of? I see partners listed on the website that concern me given the technology nightmare that we are in these days with threats to our lives, security, personal data. Are my concerns unfounded or are others concerned about this company of his – see webpage Would love to hear others opinions.

  • Sidney Bertz says:

    Neither Begich or Palin are going to resign. Proverbs 29 says The people rejoice when the righteous rule. How do the righteous rule? The righteous put them there. Church. Get out and vote. The democrat is not prolife, but the other 2 are. If the democrat gets in the blame falls on the Church. We have enough votes in Alaska in the Church to overcome this rank choice voting. Please live your faith and support life.

  • Gunter Thompson says:

    Peltola probably doesn’t fully represent the political views of Watchman readers, but she has an abundance of what America needs right now: integrity. She has poise, kindness, humor and confidence. She’s intelligent. I trust her.

    Don’t Alaskans want some peace and quiet from our representative?

  • Jodie Pessolano says:

    We’ve had our primary. Peltola won the Democratic primary, and Palin the Republican. Let’s vote for the Republican winner – Sarah Palin, and be done with the divide and conquer tactics of the Democrats and their enablers (Hello Lisa).

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Whoa! Watch out that you don’t hurt the opinion writer’s feelings, because she might try to sue you! Just saw this while doing a search.
    Carman suing due to harassment. Mustreadalaska article from 2020.