After the late republican Rep. Don Young passed away, Alaska voters will now determine who takes his House seat to finish out the last few months of his term. Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin is currently leading the race and some predict that she will win the House seat during the special election.
Palin is currently leading the race ahead of two other well known candidates in former democratic Rep. Nick Begich and nonpartisan surgeon Al Gross, both of whom have also advanced to the general election.
Come August Alaskan voters will rank four candidates to determine who will take the rest of Don Young’s House seat. Young held the seat for decades but passed away in March of this year.
This is the first time Alaska will use open primaries and ranked choice voting since the system was implemented after a ballot measure in 2020.
NBC News explained the system:
Alaskans cast ballots for single candidates in an open, nonpartisan primary race. The top four vote-getters advance to the general election, in which voters rank four candidates in order of preference. Any candidate who gets more than 50 percent of the vote wins the race. If no one gets a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is eliminated, and ballots cast for the eliminated candidate are recast for voters’ second choices. The elimination and retabulation process continues until only two candidates are left. The candidate with the most votes wins.
This abrupt race and new system has brought dozens of candidates out of the shadows giving nontraditional candidates the opportunity for success.
It is currently unclear who will take the fourth seat in the special election. The race has 48 candidates, one being a Democratic socialist member of the City Council of Alaska whose legal name just happens to be Santa Clause.
The open primary gives non-traditional candidates a much better chance at success, given that the outcome of this special election could be shocking.
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