And then there were three. Excerpt:
The dust has settled in Alaska’s special U.S. House race, with the three final candidates meeting for two forums on Sunday and Monday before they scattered across the state to begin another chapter in a campaign that has continued to surprise and sometimes confound voters and election officials.
“Every day seems to be a new chapter of this race. We don’t seem to even get two consecutive days of the same chapter,” said Mary Peltola, the Democratic candidate who is facing Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich.
The three candidates used the forums — one hosted virtually by the Alaska Black Caucus and the other held in-person by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce — to draw attention to their differences while still praising one another repeatedly.
“I’m very, very thankful that we have great candidates up here,” said Palin, a former governor and vice presidential candidate making her return to Alaska politics after a 13-year hiatus. “You guys have good choices, kind of can’t go wrong.”
Energy – especially gas prices – will be a big, big factor in the general elections this November, and on that ground, there seems to be little daylight between the three candidates:
Begich said, “We need to start unlocking energy production with the United States,” and “Alaska has a huge role to play as it related to our energy security.”
Palin said her goal is “to win the war against President Biden’s anti-energy independence agenda” and that “Alaska needs to be tapped into.”
Peltola said, “We’ve got to be developing positive relationships with other members of Congress in order to impress upon them the importance of Alaska’s oil and gas resources.”
Mary Peltola, of course, should she win the seat – unlikely, I should think, but not impossible – she will be badly hampered in her pro-Alaskan energy hopes by her own party, while either of the other two candidates would be among the mainstream of the GOP on this issue.
And, of course, it’s maybe a special election, but it’s still an election, and the candidates are all politicians. Promises and policy statements grow as fast as Alaska fireweed springs up along the roadsides this time of year. I do think energy will be a, if not the issue. Abortion isn’t that much of a much here; abortion access is already a matter of law in Alaska, and I don’t see too much talk about overturning that pre-Roe law. Gun control is a non-starter in the Great Land, and I’m not seeing much talk about that. West Virginia v. EPA could end up being a significant issue, but it will remain to see what happens in that quarter.
And, of course, all of this is just setup for November. Alaska’s politics don’t figure all that much on the national scale, sadly; but whoever wins this special election and gets that brief stint in the Imperial City gains a big advantage for November.