Since the primary for the special election to replace Don Young in Alaska is the only race taking place today, we’ll have the results (such as they are) updated here throughout the night. And the fact that the race includes Trump endorsee and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, it should hold at least some interest. But due to recent changes in Alaska’s election laws, the first thing you should know about this evening’s primary results is that you will almost certainly not know the winner(s) by the end of the night. The primary is being conducted largely by mail and ballots don’t have to be received until June 21st, so the counting will be going on for a while. (It sort of makes you wonder why they would bother calling it an “election” day under these rules.)
There also won’t be anyone coming anywhere near 50% of the vote today, so there won’t be any solid indicators of the eventual winner in August. There are 48 candidates on the ballot. The majority won’t get more than a comparative handful of votes, but the four with the most votes will move on to the general election on August 16th. Three of them seem to be safe bets according to recent polling. Sarah Palin will almost certainly make the cut, but her recent approval numbers in Alaska are well underwater at 36/59. Also expected to move forward is Nick Begich III, the grandson of a former congressman and part of an Alaskan political dynasty. The last one with a solid base is Al Gross, a fisherman, and physician. There are several contenders in the running for the fourth slot.
The most interesting possibility for that slot is a man literally named Santa Clause who is from the city of North Pole, Alaska. The novelty alone might get him onto the final ballot. He bills himself as a Democratic Socialist in the pattern of Bernie Sanders.
Even if Palin makes it to the general election, her chances will likely be diminished because of the other change to the state’s election laws. Alaskans ruined their process as other states have by adopting ranked-choice voting. So even if Palin manages to finish first, None of the other three candidates’ voters are likely to have her listed as their second choice. Under this system, it’s looking increasingly as if Begich may have the best shot as voters’ ballots are moved to their second and then third choices. We should know in a week or so whether or not Santa’s sleigh will carry him all the way to August.
Below you will find the results, automatically updated as they are posted. Good luck, Alaska. You’re going to need it.