JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Republican U.S. Senator from Alaska Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, her GOP rival who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, moved on from Tuesday’s primary, while Republican Sarah Palin, seeking a return to elected office after more than a decade, was among the candidates running in November’s general election in the race for Alaska’s only seat in the House.
Murkowski had expressed confidence that she would move on and earlier today told reporters that “what matters is winning in November”. Tshibaka called the findings “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s hold on Alaska.”
A Murkowski has held the Senate seat since 1981; before Lisa Murkowski, who has served in the Senate since the end of 2002, it was her father, Frank Murkowski.
In a voter-approved electoral process used for the first time in elections in Alaska this year, party primaries have been scrapped and preferential-choice voting is used in general elections. The top four voters in a primary race, regardless of political affiliation, must qualify for the general election.
It was too early to call the other two spots in the Senate race.
In the House primary, Democrat Mary Peltola, Palin and Republican Nick Begich qualified for the November election. It was too early to call fourth place. The winner of the November race will be elected for a two-year term.
Peltola, Begich and Palin were also in a special election to serve as the remnant of the late Representative. Don Young’s term, which ends early next year. Young died in March. The special election was the first chance for voters to vote ranked in a statewide race. The winner of the special election may not be known until at least August 31.
The special election was on one side of the ballot; the other side contained primary races for the United States Senate, United States House, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, and legislative seats.
Palin, in a statement late Tuesday, called it “the first test case of the crazy, convoluted and unwanted priority voting system.”
Begich, a businessman from a family of prominent Democrats, came down hard on Palin during the campaign, seeking to cast her as a glory-seeker and a quitter; Palin resigned during her term as governor in 2009.
A narrator in one of Palin’s commercials calls Begich a “negative Nick” and says that Palin wants to serve in Congress “to carry the torch of Don Young”.
Peltola, a former lawmaker who recently served on a commission whose goal is to restore the salmon resources of the Kuskokwim River, described herself as an “ordinary Alaskan” and a consensus builder.
In the race for governor of Alaska, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy advanced, as did former Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, and Democrat Les Gara. It was too early to call fourth place.
Dunleavy and her running mate, Nancy Dahlstrom, said in a statement that “this is just the start of the ride. We’ll be digging into all the numbers as they come in over the next few days to figure out where we need to shore up our campaign, and we look forward to reaching all Alaskans and winning their vote by November.
Walker runs with Heidi Drygas and Gara with Jessica Cook.