By KIM JARRETT
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – Monday was the last day for candidates to withdraw from Alaska’s November election and Republicans Nick Begich and Sarah Palin are staying in the race for the state’s sole congressional seat.
Ms. Palin criticized Mr. Begich’s decision to stay in the race, saying he split the Republican vote and allowed Democrat Mary Peltola to win the unexpired term of the late Rep. Don Young.
“If Begich cares about the people of Alaska and the Republican Party to which he professes to belong, then he should accept reality – take the loss like a real Alaskan man – so that Republican voters can coalesce behind their preferred candidate and reclaim Alaska’s only seat in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Ms. Palin said in a press release last week that also called Mr. Begich a “three-time loser.”
Mr. Begich did not issue a formal statement but posted a quote from a Newsweek article on his social media.
“Polls suggest that if Begich was to earn enough votes so that Palin is eliminated in the second round, instead of him, he would win comfortably over Peltola in November” the article said.
A July poll from FiveThirtyEight showed that Mr. Begich would beat Ms. Peltola by eight points but Peltola would prevail over Palin by five points.
Ms. Peltola, Ms. Palin, Mr. Begich, and Libertarian candidate Chris Bye earned enough first-place votes in the August primary to advance to the November election.
This is the first year that Alaska has used ranked choice voting.
If no candidate receives a simple majority, the candidate with the fewest votes will be eliminated, and voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice have their votes redistributed to their second choices.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski faces two challengers from her own party. Kelly Tshibaka, who is backed by former President Donald Trump, and Buzz Kelly advanced to the November ballot. Also on the ticket is Democrat Patricia Chesbro.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy was the top vote getter in his bid for a second term. He will face former Gov. Bill Walker, who is running as an independent, fellow Republican Charlie Pierce, and Democrat Les Gara in November.