Alaska Republican House candidates Sarah Palin and Nick Begich continue to attack one another while urging voters to “rank the red” to ensure the GOP wins in the state’s ranked-choice vote.
Democrat Mary Peltola won an August special election under the new system despite winning just 40% of the preliminary vote, a concern both Palin and Begich hope to avoid in November.
“I had to swallow my pride, because here I am saying, ‘These are the cards that we’ve been dealt,’” Palin said, according to Alaska Public Media. “This is the rule of the road now. We have ranked-choice voting, and until that’s gone, we have to rank the red.”
Palin previously encouraged voters to choose only one candidate in the state’s August special election to replace the late Rep. Don Young. The move proved harmful for the party, with both GOP candidates seeking to improve in the general election that will determine the state’s House member for the next two years.
Begich and Palin have now both asked supporters to vote for their Republican opponent as the second person on their ballot in the effort to return Alaska to conservative leadership.
The August special election saw Peltola receive 40%, Palin 31%, and Begich 28% in the first round. Since no single candidate received at least half of the votes, the top two candidates remained, with the second-place votes added from those who chose Begich as their first choice. Peltola then defeated Palin 51.5% to 48.5%.
In addition to Palin, Begich, and Peltola, Libertarian Chris Bye will also join the November ballot.
“I am running because both primary political parties have run this nation into the ground. They both have forsaken Freedom and Liberty by transitioning away from governance and towards activism and corporate protectionism,” Bye said in his response to Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey.
The Alaskan race could also have a key impact on the balance of power in the House. Democrats currently hold the majority with a slight advantage, but numerous polls predict a red wave of GOP wins that could flip the lead to Republicans.
The Daily Wire previously reported that Begich had called for Palin to drop out of the general election campaign after the special election loss to unite Republicans. Palin replied in a news conference shortly after the request to argue that she never retreats.
“He keeps calling me a quitter,” Palin said during the news conference outside her Wasilla home. “Now he wants me, the one who is clearly the only true conservative in this race who can win, he wants me to quit! Now that’s the real joke. Sorry, Nick. I never retreat. I reload.”
Alaska voters approved ranked-choice voting in 2020, with the August primary as the first time the system was used in a House race.