Sarah Palin Opponent Exits House Race

She'll face 3 others in the August special election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 15, 2022 10:48 PM CDT
Updated Jun 21, 2022 12:03 AM CDT
Sarah Palin Advances in House Election
Sarah Palin, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, Thursday, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

(Newser) Update: Al Gross, an independent running for Alaska's only US House seat, said late Monday that he is ending his campaign, the AP reports. Gross in a statement said it was “with great hope for Alaska’s future” that he has decided to end his campaign. He said there are two “outstanding Alaska Native women in this race who would both serve our state well, and I encourage my supporters to stay engaged and consider giving their first-place vote to whichever of them best matches their own values.” His campaign said he was referring to Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Tara Sweeney. Peltola was in fourth place in the June 11 special primary and Sweeney was in fifth. The top four vote-getters in the special primary advance to a special election in August in which ranked choice voting will be used. Gross was in third, behind Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich. Our original story from June 15 follows:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich, and independent Al Gross have advanced to the August special election for Alaska's only US House seat. Palin and Begich, both Republicans, and Gross, an orthopedic surgeon, were among 48 candidates in last Saturday's special primary for the seat, which was left vacant following the death in March of Republican Rep. Don Young, who had held the seat for 49 years, the AP reports. The top four vote-getters in the special primary advance to a special election, set for Aug. 16, in which ranked choice voting will be used. The winner of that race will serve the remainder of Young’s term, which ends in January. State elections officials were releasing additional vote counts on Wednesday, the first day since the special primary in which counts were conducted. Additional counts are planned for Friday and next Tuesday.

With 132,730 votes counted, Palin had 28.3%, followed by Begich with 19.3%, and Gross with 12.8%. Democrat Mary Peltola had 8.7% and Republican Tara Sweeney, 5.5%. The election was unusual in that it was conducted primarily by mail. It also was the first election under a system approved by voters in 2020 that ends party primaries and institutes ranked voting for general elections. Palin touted endorsements from a number of national figures, including former President Trump. Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, is making her first bid for elected office since resigning as governor partway through her term in 2009. She released a statement on election night, saying she was grateful to her supporters “who voted to make Alaska great again!” She said she looked forward to the special election so that she could “highlight our ideas for fixing this country by responsibly developing Alaska’s God-given natural resources, getting runaway government spending under control, protecting human life, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, and restoring respect for individual liberty and the Constitution.”

Begich comes from a family of prominent Democrats, which includes uncles Mark Begich and Tom Begich, who have both held elected office. His grandfather, Democratic Rep. Nick Begich, held the seat he is currently running for before he disappeared on a flight to a campaign fundraiser in 1972 and was later declared dead. The elder Begich won that election posthumously. Gross unsuccessfully ran for US Senate in 2020 with the endorsement of state Democrats.

(Read more Sarah Palin stories.)

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