The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is seen on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

The Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is seen on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Peltola, Begich confirmed for chamber forum

Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce will host the special general election candidates

Central peninsula residents will be able to pose questions to candidates vying for the late U.S. Rep. Don Young’s seat in Congress next week at a forum hosted by the Kenai and Soldotna chambers of commerce.

Two special general election candidates — Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Nick Begich III — will attend the joint luncheon next Wednesday to answer questions. Republican Sarah Palin is not yet registered to attend.

Brett Perry, the executive director of the Kenai Chamber, said Monday that the forum will be an opportunity for the community to address the candidates directly.

“If you want your voice heard, come out and attend,” he said.

The state’s lone U.S. House of Representative seat was left vacant after Young — who held the position for 49 years — died on his way back home to Alaska in late March.

Of a total of 48 candidates looking to take Young’s place, Begich, Peltola, Palin and independent candidate Al Gross advanced to the special general election in June. A few weeks later, Gross announced he was withdrawing from the congressional election. Begich, Peltola and Palin are continuing to campaign for Alaska’s House seat.

This is also Alaska’s first year with its new ranked choice voting system, which was narrowly approved by voters in 2020.

According to the Alaska Division of Elections, to win the general election a candidate must receive over half of the first-choice votes. If no one wins over 50% plus one vote of the first choice-votes in round one, the election enters round two.

In round two the candidate with the least number of first-choice votes is eliminated. The ballots of the people whose first-choice candidate was eliminated are then redistributed to their second-choice selection. The vote redistribution process continues until only two candidates remain, and the one with more votes wins.

At next week’s forum, candidates will have the opportunity to respond to pre-submitted constituent questions from a moderator over lunch. The public will not have the chance to ask questions to the candidates directly on the day of the event, Perry said, unless they choose to stay longer after the luncheon concludes.

Perry said registration for the event indicates there will be a fair number of people in attendance. He also said the chamber is planning on more candidate forums for other races this election season.

To register for the U.S. House special election luncheon forum, visit the events tab on the Kenai Chamber website. The event, which includes a catered lunch, costs $15 for chamber members and $20 for nonmembers. Submit questions ahead of time via email to info@kenaichamber.org.

The 2022 Special General Election will be held on Aug. 16.

Early in-person voting will take place at various places on the Kenai Peninsula: Homer City Clerk’s Office, Kenai City Clerk’s Office, Seldovia City Clerk’s Office, Seward City Clerk’s Office and Soldotna Prep School from Aug. 1-15.

Applications for mail-in ballots must be received by the Division of Elections 10 days before the election. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before election day to count for the special general election.

Write-in candidates for the U.S. House seat include Libertarian Chris Bye, independent Robert Ornelas, and Democrat Ernest Thomas, according to the Division of Elections.

For more information, visit https://www.elections.alaska.gov/.

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Spencer McLean and his daughter, Emma McLean, show their support for Proposition 3, through which a new CES Station 1 would be constructed in Soldotna, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blustery weather, average turnout mark municipal election day

Up for consideration this year were city council, board of education and assembly seats, as well as a handful of propositions affecting borough schools, emergency services and legislative representation

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander sits inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ostrander to leave City of Kenai in January

Ostrander has served as the city manager since 2017

Melanie Hardin, right, greets the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees before her interview for the APFC’s executive director’s job Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Juneau, (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Permanent Fund board picks new executive director

Trustees work overtime selecting from three candidates after interviews Monday

A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Libraries host haunted houses, scary storytimes, seasonal crafts

It’s all about Halloween at Kenai and Soldotna libraries

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Most Read