A group of about 100 people clustered outside of Ginger’s Restaurant in Soldotna on Saturday, waiting to meet Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor, who is one of 48 people vying for Alaska’s vacant U.S. House seat, stopped by the Peninsula Center Mall for a meet-and-greet.
“We were just talking about how instrumental the (Kenai Peninsula) is when it comes to our nation’s sovereignty and our solvency,” Palin told attendees, many of whom held signs or wore buttons reading “Sarah for Alaska.”
Palin, a former Republican vice presidential candidate whose bid for Congress has already secured an endorsement from former U.S. President Donald Trump, said Saturday that it is “pivotal” that the Kenai Peninsula be allowed to access its own resources. Palin’s visit to the peninsula came days after President Joe Biden canceled an oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet.
“It’s pivotal that the Kenai Peninsula is allowed to access responsibly our resources and to not let some far-off faceless bureaucrats and politicians in D.C. tell us, as Alaskans, what we can and can’t do with (our) God-given natural resources,” Palin said.
Palin, who took time Saturday to sign autographs and take photos with attendees, said Alaska needs someone in Congress who “has nothing to lose.”
“What more can they do to me?” Palin said.
Clayton and Janet Phillips were both in attendance Saturday to show their support for Palin. Clayton said he’s supported Palin since she served as governor and that he disagrees with claims that she abandoned Alaska when she stepped down as governor.
“I will not ever have a negative thing to say about somebody that wants to improve,” Clayton Phillips said. “I feel bad for people that actually think that she just abandoned us, because I don’t think that was the case.”
Janet Phillips said she and Clayton do event fundraising for Kelly Tshibaka, who is running for the Alaska U.S. Senate seat currently held by Lisa Murkowski, and said she thinks Tshibaka and Palin would make a good team in D.C.
“Out of all the ones that are running for Congress, I think Kelly and Sarah would work very well together,” Janet Phillips said.
Alaska’s by-mail special primary election will be held June 11; the Alaska Division of Elections will begin mailing ballots to voters April 27. The special general election will be held Aug. 16, concurrently with the state’s regular primary election.
For the June 11 special election, 48 candidates filed to run for the seat and will appear on Alaskans’ primary ballot. Voters will vote for one candidate. The top four vote-getters will move on to the special general election in August.
The special general election in August will be a ranked choice election. Ranked choice voting allows voters to choose more than one candidate in ranked order. Voters can rank up to four candidates, or just rank one, two or three candidates.
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.
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.
The special primary election will be a by-mail election, which the Alaska Division of Elections has said underscores the need for voters to verify that their mailing address is correct. The division will begin mailing ballots on April 27. People must be registered to vote by May 12 to vote in the special primary election.
Voters can check their voter registration information at myvoterinformation.alaska.gov or by calling a regional office. Voters can change their address online at voterregistration.alaska.gov. The Anchorage regional office can be reached at 907-522-8683.
Sample ranked choice ballots are available on the Alaska Division of Elections website.