Primary Election 2022 live blog
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Election Day has arrived for residents across the state of Alaska, and polls are open for voters to cast their choice of candidates in several key races. This live blog is where Alaska’s News Source team will be posting breaking updates, election results and more throughout the week.
Aug. 18 - 1 p.m.
Two days after Election Day, leading candidates continued to maintain their advantages as vote-counting steadily continues.
As of Thursday, the Associated Press has called many races, including statewide races for the U.S. House and Senate positions.
In the open primary race for U.S. House that will ultimately be decided in November’s general election, the AP has called the race for the top three finishers; Democrat Mary Peltola and Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III. Republican Tara Sweeney currently holds the fourth-most votes and appears likely to advance to November’s ranked-choice voting election with the other three.
In the open primary race for U.S. Senate, the AP has called the race for Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Tshibaka, who have collectively garnered about 84% of the total vote statewide. Democrat Patricia Chesbro and Republican Buzz Kelley trail behind in third and fourth place, respectively. Chesbro has 6% of the vote and Kelly currently has around 2%.
AP has called the race for three candidates in the governor’s race, as Republican incumbent Mike Dunleavy, nonpartisan Bill Walker and Democrat Les Gara have combined to take 85.8% of the vote.
AP has yet to call the race for the fourth and final name, Republican Charlie Pierce, who currently has 10,574 votes, almost 4,500 votes more than his closest pursuer, fellow Republican Christopher Kurka.
Aug. 17 - 1 p.m.
Leading candidates from Tuesday’s primary and special election increased their leads in Wednesday’s latest vote tally update.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Republican Lisa Murkowski increased her lead over Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka by an additional 1,568 votes, pulling ahead by a margin of 68,603 to 61,972 votes. Murkowksi holds 44.1% of the vote.
“Alaskans made it clear they want a Senator who puts Alaska first, always. Seniority matters. Honesty matters and understanding the needs of Alaskans and being able to deliver on those needs matters,” Murkowski said in a statement to the media. “My opponent relied on falsehoods, outside backing -- from the former President to extreme, activist organizations -- to try and deceive Alaskans on who can best deliver for the state, and we still prevailed.”
In the special election race for U.S. House, Democrat Mary Peltola padded her lead by an additional 836 votes, moving ahead of Republican challenger Sarah Palin by a margin of 58,614 to 49,190 votes. Third-place challenger, Republican Nick Begich III, has 43,968 votes.
As it stands currently, Alaska’s ranked-choice elimination process would need to be used, since Peltola leads with less than 50% of the total vote. The question remains on how many votes Peltola and Palin would get once Begich is eliminated, should the standings maintain the same ranks.
Peltola also maintained her lead in the primary race that will ultimately be decided in November. The Democrat grew her lead by 697 votes, and leads by a margin of 54,865 to 48,609 votes, accounting for 35.1% of the tally. Palin has 31.1% and Begich currently has 26.8% in that race.
In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy maintained his dominant grip on the race with 64,565 votes, or 41.7% of the tally. Former Gov. Bill Walker, running as a nonpartisan candidate, took over second place from Democrat Les Gara. Walker leads Gara by just 223 votes, and has 22.10% of the tally compared to Gara’s 21.96%.
The Associated Press has called the race for Dunleavy, Walker and Gara. The top four finishers in the primary will advance to November’s ranked-choice general election. Republican challenger Charlie Pierce is currently in position to grab up the fourth spot with 10,563 votes, almost 4,500 more than the next candidate, Republican Christopher Kurka.
In a statement to the media, Walker and his running mate Heidi Drygas celebrated the numbers by declaring themselves as finalists in the November election.
“Heidi and I are going to win the general election because we are running to represent every single person in our state — whether we are their first choice or not,” Walker said in the statement. “As a unity ticket that is setting aside our respective partisan roots, we are the only team with the ability to win support from voters who want common sense solutions and leadership. With the primary election done, we remain on track to build a broad coalition that will ultimately defeat the incumbent governor and get our state back on track.”
Aug. 17 - 8 a.m.
As of Wednesday morning, Democrat Mary Peltola held a lead of around 8,500 votes over Republican Sarah Palin in the special election to fill the remainder of the late Don Young’s term, and Palin leads fellow Republican Nick Begich III by more than 5,000 votes.
In the primary election that will be decided in November, Peltola also leads with over 35% of the vote, a current margin of 53,342 votes to 47,783 votes for Palin. Begich currently has 40,972 votes in that race. Republican Tara Sweeney currently sits fourth with 5,427 votes, well clear of fifth place in the rankings. The top four vote-getters in the primary advance to November’s general election, which will be ranked-choice.
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski garnered 43.7% of the votes as of Tuesday night, leading her closest challenger — Republican Kelly Tshibaka — by a vote margin of 66,288 to 61,225. Tshibaka collected just over 40.3% of the total tally.
Seeking a second term, Gov. Mike Dunleavy currently holds a massive lead over the next closest gubernatorial candidates. Dunleavy received 63,178 votes — almost 30,000 votes more than former Gov. Bill Walker. Walker received 21.92% of votes, only slightly ahead of Democrat Les Gara with 22.04%.
Aug. 16 - 10 p.m.
The first batch of preliminary results has been released by the Alaska Division of Elections.
Democrat Mary Peltola currently leads Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich in the race to finish out the rest of the late Rep. Don Young’s term. The special general election is the only election conducted on Tuesday that used ranked-choice voting. Peltola held a lead of more than 5,000 votes over Palin, and Palin leads Begich by more than 4,000 votes.
In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski garnered 42.68% of the votes as of Tuesday night, leading her closest challenger — Republican Kelly Tshibaka —by 1,465 votes and slightly more than 1%.
Seeking a second term, Gov. Mike Dunleavy currently holds a massive lead over the next closest gubernatorial candidates. Dunleavy received 49,768 votes — over 24,000 votes more than former Gov. Bill Walker. Walker received 21.58% of votes, only slightly ahead of Democrat Les Gara with 21.55%.
Preliminary results in primary elections for the Alaska House of Representatives and Alaska Senate races can be found on the Division of Elections Website.
Aug. 16 - 5:30 p.m.
Sign wavers have been out on Alaskan streets supporting their candidates of choice all day, and polls remain open for the next three hours. Watch below for interviews with key candidates.
Tuesday’s numerous elections also include the regular primary election for U.S. House, and statewide elections for the Alaska House of Representatives and the Alaska Senate in all but one district statewide. Alaska is using ranked-choice voting for the first time in the special general election, which was enacted after passing as a ballot measure in 2020. Maine is the only other state that has utilized ranked-choice voting in statewide elections.
Aug. 16 - 12 p.m.
Candidates get out for last-minute campaigning
Up for grabs Tuesday are three key races — the special ranked-choice election that will determine who will finish serving the term of the late Rep. Don Young, who died suddenly in March while traveling home to Alaska, the primary “pick-one” election for one of Alaska’s two U.S. Senate seats, and the gubernatorial primary.
Voting locations are open today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday morning, candidates and their supporters were seen holding signs out on busy street corners in Anchorage, hoping to garner some last-minute support.
Tuesday is the first time that Alaskans will be using ranked-choice voting, a system that residents voted to use in 2020. The ranked-choice system will only be used for the special general election contested between the three U.S. House candidates — Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III, and Democrat Mary Peltola — as well as six other certified write-in candidates.
Here’s how the ranked-choice voting works — to win outright, a candidate needs at least a 50% majority of the votes. If there’s no majority, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who selected the eliminated candidate as their first choice will have their second-choice votes tabulated.
The primary election for U.S. Senate is a pick-one election — meaning voters will choose just one name on their ballot — being contested between multiple candidates, with the two leading contenders being Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka, the latter of which who has been publicly endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Republican Tara Sweeney announced this week that she plans to run as a write-in candidate, two months after missing out on the special primary election that dropped all but the top four candidates from the ballot.
The governor’s race is headlined by Republican incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who is facing 10 other challengers on the official ballot.
This article has been updated with additional information.
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