Alaskan Conservatives are doing what they always do. Less than a week after our eye-popping defeat in the Special Election, Alaskan Conservatives are still squabbling over “Who-is-more-conservative-than-whom?”  Instead, they should be strategizing for a WIN in November’s general election.

The “Never Paliners,” I propose, are in control of who gets elected to represent Alaska in the U.S. House. The August special election results prove the point that Sarah Palin is destined to lose because a small fraction of Alaskan voters would rank a bag of Pilot Bread before they’d rank Sarah. And the actual number of “Never Palin” voters is larger than I thought.

I’ll illustrate for you what would happen if Nick Begich stepped down today. Based on the certified Special Election Results from the Division of Elections:

In Round 1, Sarah Palin received 58,973 votes. Nick Begich lost Round 1 and his votes were redistributed as follows: 27,053 votes went to Palin, and 15,467 went to Peltola. The latter group is what I call “Never Palin” voters.

But there are more voters to account for: 11,243 votes were “exhausted” meaning these voters only voted one candidate in one place: Nick Begich. These people could be “Never Paliners,” or they could be “Anti-RCV” voters. Either way, their votes were dropped from the final totals.

A total of 47 “over votes” are attributable to voting for Nick Begich in all four slots. I think these people are also “Never Palin” voters or “Anti-RCV” voters. Either way, both categories did not rank Sarah. Let’s assume, for this exercise, that they will refuse to rank Sarah in the coming general election this November.

In a showdown between Peltola and Palin, Palin would garner the following tally:

Original First Place Votes for Sarah:               58,073

Redistributed votes from Begich to Sarah:    27,053

Total:                                                               85,126

Now, compare this to Peltola’s outcome, and assume that Begich’s remaining votes go to her. This would be the outcome of the race if we assume that all of Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes are entirely “Never Palin” voters:

Original First Place Votes for Peltola:             75,799

Redistributed votes from Begich to Peltola:  15,467

Begich’s exhausted votes:                              11,243

Begich’s overvotes:                                                47

Total:                                                               102,556

In a scenario where all of Begich’s exhausted votes and over votes to go Peltola, Peltola wins.

Now, let’s see what happens if we apply Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes to Palin. This would be the outcome if we assume that all of Begich’s exhausted votes and overvotes are “Anti-RCV” voters who would compromise with Palin:  

Original First Place Votes for Sarah:               58,073

Redistributed votes from Begich to Sarah:    27,053

Begich’s exhausted votes:                              11,243

Begich’s overvotes:                                                47

Total:                                                               96,416

Compare this to Peltola’s would-be outcome:

Original First Place Peltola Votes:                   75,799

Redistributed votes from Begich to Peltola:  15,467

Total:                                                               91,266

This is the best Sarah can hope for: a margin of 5,150 votes for a win. Is that margin big enough to stake the lives of unborn children on? That sounds like hyperbole, but pro-life voters must ask themselves this question, and answer honestly when they cast their votes in November.

Strategizing your vote will matter in November for other reasons, too.

As implied strongly by Project Veritas, Ranked Choice Voting was created and promoted by operatives now working for the Murkowski campaign. This scheme was designed with the purpose of getting one of Washington’s most outrageous RINOs re-elected. The outcome of our special election is the wind in Murkowski’s proverbial sails. You, Alaskan Conservatives, need to consider the ramifications for the future of the pro-life movement.

The governor’s position is up for grabs in November as well. Have you pondered how important this election will be to the future of Alaskan elections? If Les Gara or Bill Walker get into the Governor’s seat, your hopes of dumping Ranked Choice Voting will be dashed. This system is their dream come true. They’ll never agree to eliminate it. So, for those conservatives who want to see RCV disappear, strategizing your vote will be the penultimate necessity in November. Do not squander it on petty squabbles: “Yeah but Charlie Pierce is more MAGA than Mike Dunleavy.”  Instead think, “Which one is the most likely to win?”  Cast your vote for this person as #1 and the less likely as #2. In the case of the Governor’s race (my apologies to Charlie Pierce), it’s got to be Dunleavy #1 and Pierce #2. DO NOT RANK Gara or Walker. If you get it wrong in November, you’ll never see RCV go away.

And of course, as I illustrated above, Alaska is realistically flipping to a Blue State with our one and only vote in Congress going to Mary Peltola. Do you want to let her sit there for the next four years representing you? Stupid squabbles between conservatives who said, “Well, Sarah is more pro-life than that RINO Nick Begich,” are exactly the arguments that put the pro-choice candidate in the temporary seat. At the end of the day, you could have a pro-life win if you’d vote strategically, and leave behind that nonsense in-fighting.

Given that we have to confront the “Never Palin” cohort, my best advice is to rank Begich #1 and Palin #2. DO NOT RANK Peltola. This maximizes the chance, no matter how the chips fall, that a conservative candidate will beat Peltola once and for all.

The choice is yours, Alaskan conservatives. Alaska’s election is now a chess game. Start playing to WIN.

The views expressed here are those of the author.

Click here to support the Alaska Watchman.

OPINION: Conservative Alaskans must be calculating voters to win under RCV

Donna Celia
Donna Celia is a wife and mother of two in Anchorage. While politically active in city politics, she is not formally affiliated with Alaska Covid Alliance and did not participate in the delivery of packages to Anchorage physicians.


  • Reed OHair says:

    We all laugh at the dead continuing to vote, but if the unborn could vote, I bet it would be 100% for Sarah Palin, and no second choice.

    • Elizabeth Henry says:

      Perhaps, and then she likely still wouldn’t win. And you best learn to enjoy RCV and democrats running our state. The only way we are going to get rid of RCV, and be able once again to legitimately vote, is to play the game to get the people in office that can help get rid of RCV. Stubbornness can be blinding to what needs to be done. Did you read the article?

      • Mary says:

        Very well stated. We are a hard headedot here in Alaska. It is time for us to think like the “other side” and calculate carefully how to make each vote count for the welfare of all Alaskans.

  • John J. Otness says:


  • Fred says:

    I really can not trust Begich to be a republican. I believe he is a lib wolf in sheep’ clothing. A pure political gambit by his hopeful dynastic family. RINO!

  • Kenneth L Wells says:

    We cannot win with rank in place. It was designed by cheaters to facilitate cheating and murkowski was in on it.

    • Jakob Ernst says:

      You’re right – You won’t win because you’ve already given up. This is exactly what they wanted. Instead you need to stand up strong, follow the advice of this article and get everyone else you know to do the same. Only then we can have the opportunity to win. Ranked choice voting isn’t some mystical voodoo… it’s math. Follow the equation and you get the correct answer.

  • Greg in Homer says:

    RCV is a little confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. RANK THE RED. Select all of your conservative candidates in whatever order you think most important. If you hate Sarah Palin, but like her more than Mary Peltola, vote for Nick, but be certain to put Sarah number 2 on your ballot. Under no circumstances put any Democrats on your ballot. You don’t have to vote for every candidate. The reason for Peltola’s victory was confusion on the part of Begich voters. A bullet vote, for Begich, and only Begich is a wasted vote if he doesn’t win. Voting for only Nick is a vote for Peltola as your ballot will be thrown out if he doesn’t win outright. Peltola’s victory could be short-lived as long as we vote wisely in November. Remember conservatives, RANK THE RED!

    • AK Pilot says:

      It was not confusion but childish stubbornness on behalf of the nearly 27,000 Begich voters who couldn’t hold their noses and vote for Palin second, or maybe they just wanted to make an anti-RCV point and not vote for anyone second. See what that accomplished?

  • Whidbey Thedog says:

    How shocking to see a Conservative actually admit defeat, and not claim that the loss was the result of election fraud! So refreshing!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I posted this originally on the 9/4/22 opinion board. Looks like it goes along with this topic since it is just a continuance of that topic.
    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 his webpage Would love to hear others opinions.

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    As for the ranked choice voting: it does not have a place in this state or any state in our nation. Voting for one person and one person only worked well. SINCE we are stuck with ranked choice voting, we need to learn to accurately manipulate the votes, win back our state, and then DUMP the ranked choice voting and fire everyone who pushed for it! Nothing like having to learn to cheat and accept that as that as the way of life in this upside down world.

  • RandomReader says:

    Nick Begich and the Democrats know that as long as Nick Begich is on the ballot, Trump-endorsed Sarah Palin will not win the election.

  • James says:

    I’m much more worried about the Governor’s race and the various state legislature races. DC is a lost cause and it really doesn’t matter who we send to that cesspit. Before the results of the special election came in, I was probably going to vote Pierce 1, Dunleavy 2 for governor. But after seeing the number of exhausted Begich ballots, I have to factor in the stupidity of other voters into how I cast my ballot.

  • Joe Hartley says:

    The congressional race for Federal house is over.
    Sarah beat Begich the three. Sarah beat Begich the three in the a couple of times. What does the Alaska Republican Party ARP do, not support Sarah?
    There is problem.
    Democrats convinced Gross to drop out, insuring solid Democrat unified support.
    Commitments by both Republican candidates should have been brokered through the ARP, that the lower vote getter would drop out of the Race and Support the other candidate.
    Nope, the ARP did not want to risk it. Instead they are choosing HATE over good judgment.

  • Joe Hartley says:

    The congressional race for Federal house is over.
    Sarah beat Begich the three. Sarah beat Begich the three a couple of times. What does the Alaska Republican Party (ARP) do, not support Sarah?
    There is problem.
    Democrats convinced Gross to drop out, insuring solid Democrat unified support.
    Commitments by both Republican candidates should have been brokered through the ARP, that the lower vote getter would drop out of the Race and Support the other candidate.
    Nope, the ARP did not want to risk it. Instead they are choosing HATE over good judgment.

  • Scott Estey says:

    I thought the term of a US Representative was 2 years not 4.

  • JD says:

    So we’re supposed to vote Begich to appease never Sarah voters? Pffff! Currently we have one conservative senator, a lib for our only house seat and a shyster, self-serving, two faced, lying RINO as our second senator. Then you want us to put another RINO in place of the current lib house rep. It’s easy to see it the most honest person between Begich and Peltola is the lib who currently holds our house seat. Begich is at LEAST as deceptive as Murkowski, and possibly more deceptive. His only purpose in his first and only run for office? Siphon votes to elect Peltola by proxy. You think there was no Begich family meeting agreeing to help him split the vote and still have his family’s empire support? Ha! Those who cast a first place vote for Nick are as intelligent as the flat earthers from centuries ago. Don’t delude yourselves, were Nick to win, he’ll vote exactly as Peltola will, within 98% or more. One openly lib, the other a snake posing as a conservative. There is only ONE tried and true conservative, and it ain’t Nicky.

    • Toby Burke says:

      If you think Senator Dan Sullivan is conservative then there must be a new definition of conservative that I am not familiar with. Wake up, there are no conservatives in our Alaskan federal congressional delegation. And contrary to popular opinion there are very few conservative Alaskan voters. Alaska is NOT a conservative state. It’s electorate is as morally weak and corrupt and liberal as any electorate including the big “bad” states of California and New York. Face it, we are no better – just look at the parade of bums that have served our state over the last 50 years as senators and representative. We get the rulers we deserve. A weak, corrupt electorate elects weak, corrupt leaders.

    • Sally M Pollen says:

      That was a good article Donna Celia. My thoughts, for what they are worth, are that Sarah and Nick should get together and one of them agree to bow out of the race. It won’t be long until the ballots are printed so time is critical. Conservatives could defeat the RCV every time if they would agree that only the most-likely candidate to win be on the ballot. Its as simple as that..

  • Ed says:

    The Republican Party of Alaska needs to step in (quickly), and insist upon having ONE Republican candidate on November’s ballot. Flip a coin if need be! This needs to be determined (and happen) — BEFORE the election.

  • Toby Burke says:

    What’s going on here? Republican Sarah Palin garners the greatest number of votes of any Republican candidate and we are now repeatedly being told to abandon her and instead back the number two Republican candidate ? All because fairweather “never Sarah” republicans would rather see an ultra-liberal Democratic Biden stooge (Peltola) represent Alaska rather than Sarah Palin. Such insanity. And two supposed Alaskan republicans in short order advocate for such lunacy on the pages of the Alaska Watchman. Intead of advocating in favor of a “never Sarah” dictatorship, why don’t the both of you ladies and the rest of the ARP leadership give Mr. Begich a sobering visit and convice him to bow out ? And if he did not, would that not be proof enough that he REALLY IS working for the other side – to divide and conquer? In a sane universe that’s how it is supposed to work. But who says sanity and common sense should rule the day in today’s Alaska ?

  • M L Moore says:

    This whole issue is frightening. Palin is the clear choice, and should be endorsed by Alaska’s Republican Party. Somebody needs to explain to me why Begich is endorsed instead of Palin. Begich comes from a long line of Democrats and I don’t trust him, not to mention his lack of experience. He could have ran with the intent to be the spoiler, and to put a Democrat in office. Clearly, if he’s acting in the true interests of Alaskans and the Republican Party he would bow out, The alternative is unthinkable! BEGICH, BOW OUT!!!!!

  • Dean Bostwick says:

    It defies logic that anyone would suggest to vote for the second place Begich ahead of Palin. The Alaska Republican Party needs to get onboard with the voters as obviously Palin is the peoples choice because she got more votes than Begjch. She is also backed by Trump and will vote as a true conservative. I think alot of people forget how influential she was in the Tea Party movement. In closing I just want to point out that the same people supporting traitor Lisa Murkowski are the same people who I believe selected Nick Begich to run against Palin to split the vote. Those RiNO’s and democrats are very cunning, hence why we now have RCVoting!