Trump-endorsed Sarah Palin advances to November election for sole Alaska House seat

The former vice presidential candidate has staged the Alaska House race as a grand return to politics after being out of elected office for more than a decade

Johanna Chisholm
Wednesday 17 August 2022 13:12 BST
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Sarah Palin, a former Alaska governor who has staged her race for the state’s open congressional seat as a revival of her political career after more than a decade spent out of elected office, will advance to the November general election.

Alaska, whose electorate approved a process being used for the first time in the state, has opted to do away with traditional party primary races in favour of ranked choice voting, which will instead send the top four candidates – regardless of political party – to the general election.

As of Tuesday morning, based on the votes tabulated, the House primary race in November will include Ms Palin, Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Nick Begich on the ballot. The fourth slot, however, remained too early to call.

The candidates are also competing in a special election to finish serving a two-year term for the seat formerly held by Don Young, who died in March. The winner for that special election, however, may not be known until at least 31 Aug.

Ms Palin, 58, who left elected office in the middle of her term as Alaska governor in 2009, has been cast by her Republican opponent Mr Begich as a quitter, while the firebrand conservative herself has relied on the backing of the self-proclaimed kingmaker Donald Trump.

In April, Ms Palin earned the endorsement of the former president whom she famously supported when he mounted his bid for the White House in 2016.

“Sarah shocked many when she endorsed me very early in 2016, and we won big,” Mr Trump said in April, shortly after Ms Palin launched her congressional campaign. “Now it’s my turn!” he added.

Ms Palin came to prominence in the late aughts after being cast as former presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election that saw Barack Obama and then-vice president Joe Biden ultimately winning the White House.

Mr Begich is vying for the same seat held by his Democratic grandfather, who held the seat until he was presumed dead after his plane went missing in 1972. He has the support of the Republican Party of Alaska and other prominent GOP members.

Also backing Mr Begich were Ms Palin’s own former in-laws, who on election eve, hosted a political fundraiser at their Alaska home in support of her GOP opponent.

In a statement released on Tuesday evening after advancing to the November election, Ms Palin called the results “the first test case of the crazy, convoluted, undesirable ranked-choice voting system”.

The Democratic candidate in the House congressional race, Ms Peltola, a former state legislator who most recently worked at a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon resources on the Kuskokwim River, has cast herself as a “regular Alaskan” and a consensus builder.

The general election for the Alaska at-large congressional seat will be held on 8 November.

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