Former Alaska Gov. and current congressional hopeful Sarah Palin speaks with attendees at a meet and greet event outside of Ginger’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Former Alaska Gov. and current congressional hopeful Sarah Palin speaks with attendees at a meet and greet event outside of Ginger’s Restaurant on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2022 Special Primary Election live updates: Palin takes early lead

As of 10 p.m., Sarah Palin, Nick Begich, Al Gross and Mary Peltola were in the top 4

Sarah Palin, Nick Begich, Al Gross and Mary Peltola — in that order — emerged as the early leaders of Alaska’s 2022 Special Primary Election per preliminary results posted by the Alaska Division of Elections on Saturday night. The four candidates emerged as the top vote-getters from a total candidate pool of 48, all of whom are vying to serve out the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term.

Preliminary results as of 10 p.m.:

  • Sarah Palin (R): 29.77%
  • Nick Begich (R): 19.31%
  • Al Gross (non): 12.47%
  • Mary Peltola (D): 7.45%

As of 10 p.m. on Saturday, 108,981 ballots had been counted, representing 18.56% of Alaska’s 587,174 voters.

Palin similarly took an early electoral lead on the Kenai Peninsula.

In House District 29, which covers the northern Kenai Peninsula and includes Hope, Nikiski, Cooper Landing and Seward, the Division of Elections has counted 4,044 ballots, representing about 24.8% of the district’s 16,294 registered voters. Palin took an early lead securing 44.15% of votes counted so far, followed by Nick Begich with 21.81%, Al Gross with 10.21% and Mary Peltola with 4.41%

In House District 30, which covers Kenai and Soldotna, the Division of Elections has counted 3,453 ballots, representing about 20.6% of the district’s 16,773 registered voters. Palin took the lead with 42.43% of votes counted, followed by Nick Begich with 22.77%, Al Gross with 8.53% and Tara Sweeney with 4.23%

In House District 31, which covers the southern Kenai Peninsula and includes Kasilof, Ninilchik, Anchor Point and Homer, the Division of Elections has counted 4,743 ballots, representing about 25.8% of the district’s 18,380 registered voters. Sarah Palin secured 34.43% of votes counted, followed by Nick Begich with 20.37%, Al Gross with 18.15% and Mary Peltola with 6.67%.

Among the candidates vying for Alaska’s at-large U.S. House seat were three Kenai Peninsula residents, none of whom were among the top four vote-getters, according to Saturday’s preliminary results.

Saturday’s preliminary results mark the beginning of the end of an unusual Congressional race in Alaska. In all, 48 candidates are vying for Alaska’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, which became vacant in March after the death of Young, who held the seat for 49 years.

As of around 8 p.m. on Friday, just over 126,000 ballots had been returned to the Division of Elections. In all, the division mailed out about 508,000 ballots. Voters were required to vote their ballot, provide an identifier and signature and get their ballot witnessed prior to sending their voted ballot back to the Division of Elections.

All ballots postmarked on or before 8 p.m. on June 11 will be counted. According to the Division of Election, the first ballot count will take place on June 11, the second ballot count will take place on June 15 and the third ballot count will take place on June 17. June 21 is the deadline to receive absentee ballots and on June 21 the final ballot count will take place.

Saturday’s preliminary results came as the State of Alaska was engaged in a legal back-and-forth over when the special primary results could be certified. As reported by the Associated Press, the Alaska Supreme Court on Saturday reversed a lower court order that may have extended the length of the special primary election, as the Alaska Division of Election has scheduled certification for June 25.

The now-overturned lower court ruling, which was handed down on Friday, said state elections officials could not certify the results of Saturday’s special primary election until visually impaired voters were given a “full and fair” opportunity to participate in the election.

Alaska’s 2022 Special Primary Election is the first to use a nonpartisan top four primary structure, under which the election’s top four vote-getters all advance to the special general election on Aug. 16, regardless of party affiliation. The special general election in August will be the first in Alaska to use ranked choice voting, under which voters can choose more than one candidate in ranked order.

Changes to Alaska’s electoral systems were approved by voters as Ballot Measure No. 2, which passed narrowly in 2020 with 50.55% of votes cast. That measure created an open primary system and ranked choice general election and aimed to increase transparency about the use of “dark money” — or campaign funding from undisclosed sources — in Alaska elections.

The ranked choice ballot shows a grid of bubbles, with one row for each candidate and one column for preference order. Voters fill in the bubble in the “1st Choice” column that corresponds to their first-choice candidate. Voters then move to the second column and fill in the bubble that corresponds to their second-choice candidate, and so on. Voters can rank up to four candidates, or just rank one, two or three candidates.

If a candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes, that candidate would be declared the winner of the election.

If no candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes, the candidate who received the least number of first choice votes is eliminated. Then, the voters who ranked the eliminated candidate as their first choice would have their second-choice candidate votes distributed to the remaining candidates. The process will continue until one candidate emerges with more than 50% of the votes.

Preliminary election results and more information about Alaska’s 2022 Special Primary Election can be found on the Alaska Division of Elections website at elections.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man found dead in lake, troopers report

State Troopers were notified of a deceased person floating in Browns Lake

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID hospitalizations, cases down from last week

The state reported no new resident deaths from COVID-19 this week

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
The Alaska Permanent Fund Corp. building in Juneau is scheduled to be the site where the board of trustees will select a new executive director on Monday, following the investigation into the firing of former CEO Angela Rodell last December being presented to state lawmakers on Wednesday.
Investigators: Permanent Fund CEO’s firing legal but departed from policy

Trustees acted legally, despite not following official policy, and governor didn’t influence decision

A fishing boat passes the Silversea cruise ship Silver Wind as the boat enters the Homer Harbor on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Finding refuge

Silver Wind is one of two cruise ships to visit since pandemic.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly candidates Dil Uhlin, left, and Jesse Bjorkman participate in a candidate forum at the Soldotna Public Library on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. Both candidates are running for the assembly’s Nikiski seat. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Nikiski assembly candidates talk borough issues at final municipal election forum

There are three candidates running for the assembly’s District 3 - Nikiski seat

Kenai Middle School Principal Vaughn Dosko gestures toward a cart used to provide school lunch services on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Security concerns and lunch lines

Safety upgrades, more space sought at Kenai Middle

Soldotna Montessori Charter School Principal John DeVolld explains Montessori materials in a classroom at Soldotna Montessori Charter School on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Soldotna Montessori maxes out

The relocation of Soldotna Montessori is included in a bond package on the Oct. 4 municipal election ballot

Engineer Lake Cabin can be seen in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Nov. 21, 2021. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, that $14.4 million of a larger $37 million package will be used to build cabins in the Chugach and Tongass National Forests. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Millions designated for cabins in Tongass, Chugach

$18 million is allocated to the construction and maintenance of cabins and historic buildings — of which $14.4 million is destined for Alaska

Puffin sits by a scratching tower in front of his main pad of buttons on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Nikiski, Alaska. Owner Geri Litzen says Puffin can communicate by pressing different buttons on the pad to form sentences. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Puffin with the buttons

Verbose Nikiski cat earns TikTok followers

Most Read