By KIM JARRETT
THE CENTER SQUARE ASSOCIATE EDITOR
(The Center Square) — The unofficial results from a special election to replace U.S. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, show four candidates in the lead, but only three will appear on the Aug. 16 ballot.
Al Gross, who came in third in the special election with 12.6% of the vote, withdrew from the race, according to the Alaska Division of Elections.
Unofficial results released Tuesday show former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in the lead with 27% of the votes, with fellow Republican Nick Begich coming in second with 19.1%. Democrat Mary Peltola came in fourth with 10% of the vote.
State law prohibits elections officials from placing the fifth-place candidate on the ballot, elections officials said in a letter to Mr. Begich released to the media. State Rep. Tara Sweeney came in fourth with 5.9% of the vote.
“Because this withdrawal occurred less than 64 days before the election, Alaska law does not permit the fifth place candidate to advance,” said Gail Fenumiai, director of the division of the elections. “Any party that disagrees with these decisions should file suit immediately.”
The election was the state’s first under the new rank choice voting system. Four candidates, regardless of party, were scheduled to advance to an Aug. 16 special election ballot before Mr. Gross dropped out. The winner would serve out the remainder of Rep. Young’s term. Rep. Young died in March after serving as Alaska’s sole U.S. House of Representatives member for 49 years.