First, the House special election. As of this writing, the first round of tallying in our new (stupid) ranked-choice voting is in, and shows Democrat Mary Peltola leading with about 38%, Sarah Palin with 32%, and Mark Begich at 29%, give or take. Now, that’s not as good for Democrat Peltola as it would seem, because next we go to the second round, which will eliminate Begitch and toss the Begitch voters second choices into the ring – presumably, most of them will go to Palin. If that’s true – and one should never underestimate the fickleness of the electorate – that casts Palin well over the 50% margin for the win. Down side: That second round won’t happen until August 31st.
We really need to re-think this whole process.
Bear in mind that there is still a primary for the November election for this same House seat, which is Alaska’s only House seat. We have a “jungle” primary now, again a stupid idea. In this primary the top four vote-getters proceed to the ranked-choice general election. Again, Peltola has about 35%, to Palin’s 31%, Begitch’s 27%, and in a distant fourth, Republican Tara Sweeney with less than 4%. Again, when we come to the (idiotic) ranked-choice general, the same assumptions apply.
But look at those two House elections, special and regular. In both cases, the GOP candidates are rolling in with about 60% of the vote. It’s probably a safe guess that most of the Republicans who selected Begitch for their first choice will pick Palin over Peltola for their backup pick, which lands Sarah Palin in the House of Representatives, where I predict she will arrive with a large splash.
Now, on to the Senate. Here things are a little disappointing, as I was hoping to see a quick knockout for GOP squish Lisa Murkowski, but no such luck; as of this writing she holds a narrow lead, 44% to challenger Kelly Tshibaka’s 40%. All other candidates are in single digits. What happens now is that the top four vote-getters go to the ranked-choice general, which to be honest will be a contest between Murkowski and Tshibaka. And that’s the rub: Murkowski still gets a lot of crossover votes from Anchorage and Juneau Democrats who know that the Dem candidates won’t win in red Alaska.
As I’ve said before, Alaska is a red state, but it’s not a red state in the sense that Alabama or Idaho are red states. Alaskans, at least outside Anchorage and Juneau, are pretty much “leave me the hell alone” types, leaning as much or more libertarian than conservative. But we do have those blue dots in the state, and as in so many other states, those blue dots are population centers. We also have the huge but sparsely populated remote areas which tend to vote blue, the only reason I can think of for that being the siren song of Free Shit.
So that’s where we are. Were I to offer my honest opinion on our first run at the ranked-choice and jungle primary systems, I’d describe it as an utter cluster-fuck. What can be done about it remains to be seen.
Check back around the first of September, True Believers, at which point we’ll know more.