By KIM JARRETT
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is still trailing another Republican in her bid for reelection, according to the latest results from the Alaska Division of Elections.
This is the state’s first election using ranked choice voting where voters pick their top candidates regardless of party. If no one wins 50% of the first-place vote in the first round of tabulations, the last place candidate is eliminated and his or her second place votes are tabulated. This continues until a candidate has more than 50%.
Sen. Murkowski has 42.8% of the first-place votes to 44.2% cast for Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican who had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, according to the latest results, which indicates the Senate seat will likely remain red. Democrat Patricia Chesbro has 9.5%.
Democrat U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola is still leading her Republican competitors, including former Gov. Sarah Palin, who is also endorsed by Mr. Trump. Rep. Peltola has 47.3% of first-place votes. Ms. Palin has 25.6% while Republican Nick Begich has 24.2%. Libertarian Chris Bye received 1.7% of first-place votes.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy has enough votes to win right now but it will be days before he can be officially declared the winner.
“As of right now, he is winning with over 50% and if it stays that way, we will not run tabulation for that race,” Tiffany Montemayor, public relations manager for Alaska Division of Elections, told The Center Square. “The deadline for us to receive absentee ballots is Nov. 23 and we’ll count until then and run tabulation at 4 p.m. that day.”
Gov. Dunleavy has 52% of the first-place votes. His nearest competitor is Democrat Les Gara with 23%. Former governor Bill Walker, who ran as an independent, has 20% of first-place votes and Republican Charlies Pierce has 4.6%.