Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has won one of four spots in the November general election for the state’s major congressional seat, NBC News Projects, and is keeping her hopes for a political comeback alive.
She will be joined in the fall vote by Republican Nick Begich, the eponymous grandson of a former Democratic Representative who held the seat, Democrat Mary Sattler Peltola, a former state legislator, and Republican Tara Sweeney, a former Assistant Secretary for Native American Affairs. in the Interior Department.
In the all-party Senate primaries, Senator Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka — Republican rivals locked in one of former President Donald Trump’s grudge matches — will advance to the general election alongside Democrat Patricia Chesbro, NBC News projects . It was too early to call the fourth finisher in that match as well.
A separate special election Tuesday to mark the remaining months of the late Rep. Don Young — a race that also includes Palin, who has former President Donald Trump’s endorsement — is too early to call. That contest is the first in the state to use rank-based voting, and NBC News expects no candidate to win a majority of the vote in the first round. The results are not expected to be fully tabulated until later this month.
Palin, the 2008 Republican nominee for vice president, finished first in an unbiased primary in June to secure one of four spots on Tuesday’s special election ballot. She faced Begich and Peltola. Al Gross, an independent who finished third in the June primary, later withdrew, leaving three candidates behind.
In ranked choice elections, voters identify their first choice on ballot papers and then rank the other candidates in order of preference. If no candidate obtains a majority of the first-choice votes on the first count, the election moves to an immediate runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the votes cast for that candidate are rescheduled for the voter’s second choice. The process repeats until a candidate has achieved a majority.
Tuesday’s special election will decide who completes Young’s term. Tuesday’s primary will determine which four candidates will run for a full two-year term on the big seat starting next year.
Young, the longest-serving Republican in congressional history, died in March.
Palin has been criticized for leaving her term as governor prematurely and embracing her political celebrity after the 2008 campaign.
“I get it. Sarah Palin is famous,” said a small business owner in an ad from Begich. ‘But come on? US Congress?’