Mary Peltola

Alaska held its Rube Goldberg primary Tuesday, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski will advance to the November elections along with Donald Trump-backed crackpot Kelly Tshibaka, who considers the results “the first step in breaking the Murkowski monarchy’s grip on Alaska.” Yeah, OK, it’s true that Murkowski’s father is Frank Murkowski, a former senator and full-term-serving governor. However, Murkowski didn’t inherit her seat. She won it outright, even through a write-in campaign in 2010. Queen Elizabeth’s son couldn’t pull that off and it’s much easier to spell “Charles."

Murkowski is as independent as you get with the Republicans, not another fascist rubber stamp for Trump. She voted to convict Trump in his second annual impeachment and supported Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s confirmation. She still finished (narrowly) ahead of Tshibaka by about three points. Democrat Patricia Chesbro and an as-yet-to-be-determined fourth candidate will also appear on the November Senate ballot. Instead of splitting the vote in Tshibaka’s favor, Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system should likely ensure Murkowski holds her seat in the November election, but we can expect that Trump will waste more time attacking Murkowski, whom he’s called a “disloyal and very bad senator.”


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Regrettably, we still have to think about Sarah Palin for a while longer. She also advanced to the November ballot along with Democrat Mary Peltola and Republican Nick Begich. The fourth-and-final spot is too close to call.

So, there’s both a special election to fill the late Rep. Don Young’s term, which ends in January, and the general election for the full term. However, it looks as if Peltola, who’s a Democrat and everything, could win the special election. This woman you just heard about has a five-point lead over the 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor, but in fairness to Sarah Palin, she was the 2008 vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor. It’s more a handicap than a help.

It’s almost a miracle Palin finished second considering her own in-laws campaigned against her. Jim and (not Tammy) Faye Palin hosted an election eve party for their former daughter-in-law’s Republican opponent, Nick Begich.

This is either peak pettiness or the logical recognition that Palin is unfit to hold political office.

According to Alaska’s straightforward ranked-choice voting rules, if no candidate tops 50 percent, the candidate in last place is kicked to the curb, and voters’ second choices are distributed amongst the remaining candidates. Eventually, someone wins. This process won’t start in the special election to replace the late Young until August 31 when overseas ballots arrive.

FiveThirtyEight wrote that "if Begich finishes third, a fair number of his voters might flock to Peltola. Despite having Trump’s endorsement, Palin remains an unpopular figure in Alaska after her tumultuous governorship, even among Republicans (64 percent of likely voters in the poll had a negative opinion of her).”

Peltola winning the special election would help her tremendously in the November general election, when she’d run as the incumbent. Peltola, a member of the Yup'ik people, has served in the Alaska House of Representatives for 10 years. She’s a straight-up Democrat who believes in climate change and supports a public option. And she’s currently winning this shit!

Here’s some sweet background about campaign rivals Peltola and Palin.

She and Ms. Palin have had a warm relationship since the two were expectant young mothers when Ms. Palin was governor and Ms. Peltola was still serving in the State Legislature. At a candidate forum hosted by The Anchorage Daily News, Ms. Palin even pointed to Ms. Peltola when asked who she would rank second on the ballot. On Tuesday, Ms. Peltola said Ms. Palin had texted her that morning to wish her well and remind her to dress warm.

Awww ... but seriously, we hope Peltola remembers to wear a sweater while beating the stuffings out of Palin.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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