Tag Archives: jungle primary

DeSantis Trails in New Poll; Sen. Casey Expands Lead in PA; A Pastor Looks to Run in CA-41; Defeated Gov Candidate Interested in MD-6 House Race; Washington State Gov Candidate

By Jim Ellis — Monday, May 15, 2023

President

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)

Florida: DeSantis Trails in New Poll — A National Research, Inc. survey of Florida Republican voters (May 8-9; 500 likely Florida Republican primary voters; live interview & text) for the first time found Gov. Ron DeSantis trailing in his home state. According to these results, which the DeSantis Super PACs will undoubtedly soon counter, former President Donald Trump has taken a 42-34 percent lead over Gov. DeSantis, with no other candidate even reaching three percent. A total of 16 percent claim to be undecided in the early part of the presidential race.

This poll again underscores Trump’s current strength in the party primaries. The trend could change, however, when Gov. DeSantis officially begins his national campaign.

Senate

Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey Expands Lead — Susquehanna Polling & Research returned a new Keystone State survey (May 2-8; 700 likely Pennsylvania voters) testing the upcoming US Senate race. Though former hedge fund CEO and 2022 Senate candidate David McCormick (R) is not yet an announced candidate, he was the only person tested against Sen. Bob Casey. The ballot test yielded the incumbent a stronger twelve-point lead, 53-41 percent. The previous published poll, from Franklin & Marshall College in early April, projected a 42-35 percent Casey edge.

House

CA-41: Party Switcher Enters Race Against Rep. Calvert — Pastor and San Jacinto City Councilman Brian Hawkins is looking to make a second run for Congress, but it will be in a different district and under a different party banner. Rev. Hawkins was the Republican nominee against Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Indio) in the new 25th District last November. He drew 42.6 percent of the vote. Now, however, he has popped up in District 41, wanting to run as a Democrat in hope of challenging veteran Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona) in next year’s general election.

Already declared under the Democratic label is Lake Elsinore City Councilman Tim Sheridan, but the potential candidate the area politicos are watching is 2022 nominee Will Rollins (D) who held Rep. Calvert to a 52-48 percent victory. Most believe Rollins will return and be favored to advance into the general election with the congressman. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the 41st District as R+7. Former President Donald Trump carried the seat with a bare 50-49 percent margin over current President Biden.

MD-6: Defeated Gov Candidate Showing Interest in Open House Race — Former state Delegate Dan Cox (R), who was not much of a factor in the 2022 Maryland governor’s race in losing to author Wes Moore (D) by a 65-32 percent margin, said this week that he may have interest in entering the open 6th District congressional race that includes his home city of Frederick. Former state Delegate Neil Parrott, also from Frederick and who lost the last two congressional races against incumbent Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), is also looking at a third run.

Both men come from the right wing of the Republican Party. This means they could split the primary vote, thus allowing a more moderate candidate who would likely fare better in the general election to claim the party nomination. With Rep. Trone vacating the seat to run for the Senate, this open seat will attract national attention in what promises to be a hotly contested battle for the House majority.

Governor

Washington: Second Candidate Announces — State Land Commissioner Hilary Franz (D) became the second announced gubernatorial candidate after three-term incumbent Jay Inslee (D) made public his intention not to seek re-election next year. Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) was first to take such action, indicating that he filed an “exploratory committee.” Since Washington election law does not recognize exploratory committees, he is officially considered a candidate.

The Washington all-party jungle primary is scheduled for Aug. 6, 2024. The top two finishers, possibly a pair of Democrats, will advance into the general election.

Presidential Data Points; Williamson Challenges Biden; Dems Look for Cruz Challenger; Slotkin’s Senate Track; Wilson to Announce for Louisiana Governor’s Race?

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, March 2, 2023

President

Former President Donald Trump; Florida Gov. Ron Desantis

Emerson College Poll: National Data Reveals Interesting Underlying Points — Emerson College is reporting the results of their latest national survey (Feb. 24-25; 1,060 registered US voters; interactive voice response system & online panel) and while some of the results are consistent with other polling – former President Trump leading Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP field by a wide margin nationally; President Biden upside-down on the job approval question (44:50 percent) – other data points are proving more interesting.

First, in the general election ballot test, Trump records a 46-42 percent edge over President Biden nationally, which is one of his better polling showings. Second, in contrast to several other recent national polls, the 476 tested Democratic primary voters give overwhelming support, 71 percent, to President Biden as the 2024 party nominee. Interestingly, a whopping 85 percent within the youngest segment, those aged 18-34, are supportive of this position. Third, while Trump records a 55-25 percent national lead over Gov. DeSantis, the latter manages to gain among Hispanics, college educated Republican voters, GOP voters over 65, and Midwest respondents when compared with Emerson’s January poll.

Marianne Williamson: Biden’s First Dem Challenger Emerges — Author Marianne Williamson (D), who ran for President in 2020 but fared very poorly in that year’s Democratic nomination campaign, said she will formally announce her 2024 national campaign on Saturday. Williamson will not become a major factor in the race, but could earn some delegates in New Hampshire if the state fails to adhere to the Democratic National Committee schedule and, as a result, President Biden decides not to enter the state’s primary. Otherwise, a Williamson campaign will be a non-factor.

Senate

Texas: New Democrat Potential Candidate Emerging — Democratic leaders have been attempting to recruit a strong opponent for Sen. Ted Cruz (R) as he seeks a third term next year, and most of the early speculation has centered around former HUD Secretary, presidential candidate, and ex-San Antonio mayor, Julian Castro, and US representative and former NFL football player Colin Allred (D-Dallas). With neither man so far jumping into the race, statements from Texas Democratic Party chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, as reported in the Daily Kos Elections blog, suggest that outgoing Houston mayor and former veteran state Rep. Sylvester Turner may be moving toward becoming a candidate.

Democrats are expected to make a run at Sen. Cruz, but in a presidential election year with the turnout model almost assuredly favoring the eventual Republican presidential nominee the future Democratic candidate will be in a decided underdog position.

Michigan: Rep. Slotkin’s Senate Track — Three-term US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), as expected for weeks, formally announced that she will run for the Senate next year. In December, four-term incumbent Debbie Stabenow (D) announced that she will retire at the end of this Congress. Rep. Slotkin, one of the more prolific fundraisers in the House, is already perceived as the favorite for the Democratic nomination and the general election.

Though there was much activity right after Sen. Stabenow announced that she would step down, only one elected official, Michigan School Board member Nikki Snyder (R), has actually declared her candidacy until Rep. Slotkin made her intention known.

While Rep. Slotkin has the inside track to the Democratic nomination and may not even face a significant intra-party opponent, several Republicans are still contemplating whether to run for the open Senate seat. Among them are former gubernatorial nominee Tudor Dixon, US Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), and former Reps. Fred Upton, Mike Rogers, and Peter Meijer.

Prominent Michigan politicos who have said they will not run for the Senate include Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D), Attorney General Dana Nessel (D), Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D), US Reps. Haley Stevens (D-Birmingham) and John James (R-Farmington Hills), and state Senate Majority Whip Mallory McMorrow (D-Oakland and Wayne Counties).

House

CA-12: First Open-Seat Candidate Emerges — Bay Area Rapid Transit Board member Lateefah Simon (D) became the first individual to announce her candidacy for California’s new open 12th District, which encompasses the cities of Oakland and Berkeley. Twelve-term Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) is leaving the House to run for the Senate.

The 12th, a coalition majority minority seat, is the most Democratic district in this bluest of states. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates it D+77, while the Dave’s Redistricting App partisan lean finds a 89.7D – 8.3R spread. Therefore, two Democrats advancing to the general election in what is expected to be a crowded all-party qualifying election field is a virtual certainty.

Potential candidates include state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), Assemblywomen Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), former Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (D), and several local officials.

Governor

Louisiana: Democrats Uniting — While the candidate filing deadline for this year’s Louisiana governor’s race is still more than five months away, Democrats appear to already be uniting behind one candidate. Shawn Wilson is the outgoing state Secretary of Transportation who will be resigning from office on March 4. His official gubernatorial announcement will come soon after. Gary Chambers (D), who ran against Sen. John Kennedy (R) last year and was viewed as a potential candidate now says he will not run and is lining up behind Wilson. Term-limited Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has already given his tacit endorsement to Wilson.

All of this likely means Wilson will surely advance into the general election runoff. Republicans will split their votes, thus ensuring that no candidate will reach the 50 percent mark in the Oct. 14 all-party jungle primary. The top two finishers will advance into the Nov. 18 general, meaning Wilson will await the outcome of a tight GOP gubernatorial nomination contest. Republicans will be favored to convert the Louisiana governorship, but Democrats are clearly doing their best to correctly position themselves for the autumn election.

Challenger Emerges in Texas;
Top Dem Declines to Run in Louisiana;
SCOTUS Redistricting Action in NC; Rep. Jackson Lee to Run for Mayor?

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023

House

Army veteran Kyle Sinclair (R)

TX-28: New Rep. Cuellar (D) Challenger Emerges — Army veteran Kyle Sinclair (R), who lost 68-32 percent against Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) in Texas’ 20th District last November, announced he is moving to the 28th District to challenge veteran Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo). The congressman’s most serious vulnerability is in the Democratic primary; however, as illustrated in his 2022 victorious race for renomination decided in a May runoff by just 311 votes. We can expect to see more political action next year in this CD that stretches from San Antonio to the Mexican border.

Governor

Louisiana: Dem Chair Won’t Run — Though candidate filing for the Louisiana governor’s race doesn’t close until Aug. 10, the open-race field is already winnowing. At the end of last week, Louisiana Democratic Party chair Kate Bernhardt announced that she will not become a gubernatorial candidate after considering the possibility of entering. The top candidates appear to be Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), state Treasurer John Schroder (R), and state Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D). Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term. The state’s jungle primary is Oct. 14, 2023, with a runoff on Nov. 18 if no contender receives majority support in the first election.

States

North Carolina: State Supremes Schedule Action — The North Carolina state Supreme Court is sending clear signals to the US Supreme Court over the state’s election and redistricting law challenges. Before departing at the end of their term in January, the former NC Supreme Court panel, with a 4D-3R majority, declared the state Senate map a partisan gerrymander and overturned the NC voter identification law. On Friday, the new 5R-2D court announced it will hear arguments to overturn those rulings in the middle of March.

The move is significant since SCOTUS is considering the North Carolina political gerrymandering case and will rule before July 1. The state court, however, potentially taking action on similar cases before the US Supreme Court ultimately decides, could allow the latter panel simply to yield to the state’s decisions. At the end of the process and regardless of which court sets the final parameters, it is probable that we will see a complete redistricting of the North Carolina political boundaries before the 2024 election.

Cities

Houston: Rep. Jackson Lee Considering Mayor’s Race — Reports are emanating from Houston that veteran US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Houston) is conducting citywide polling to determine her chances in the open mayor’s race scheduled for November of this year. Incumbent Sylvester Turner (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

At this point the leading contender appears to be state Sen. John Whitmire (D), who was first elected to the legislature in 1972. He served 10 years in the state House of Representatives before moving to the state Senate in 1982. He is Texas’ longest-serving state senator.

If no candidate receives majority support on Nov. 7, a runoff between the top two finishers will be scheduled. The mayor’s race is non-partisan in that candidates’ party affiliations are not listed on the ballot. Other major candidates are City Councilman Robert Gallegos, former city councilwoman and 2020 US Senate candidate Amanda Edwards, and Houston Metro Board Member Chris Hollins.

Ricketts Selected to Replace Sen. Sasse; CA-30 Race Already Rolling; Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Gov.

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Jan. 13, 2023

Senate

Former Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts selected to replace Sen. Ben Sasse.

Nebraska: Gov. Pillen Tabs ex-Gov. Pete Ricketts for Vacant Senate Seat — Sen. Ben Sasse (R) has officially resigned his seat in order to assume his new duties as president of the University of Florida, and new Gov. Jim Pillen (R), as expected, chose former Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) as the interim replacement. Ricketts will serve until the next general election in 2024. The seat is next in-cycle for a six-year term in 2026.

Gov. Pillen wanted to pick a senator who would commit to serving a long while in order to build seniority for the state to compliment two-term Sen. Deb Fischer (R) who is seeking re-election in 2024. Therefore, Ricketts committed to running both in 2024 and 2026. Senate-Designate Ricketts will be sworn into office when the Senate next convenes on Jan. 23.

House

CA-30: House Race Already Rolling — California Rep. Katie Porter’s (D-Irvine) move to declare for the Senate even before incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) announces her retirement has already set off a chain of reaction. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) says she will announce once Sen. Feinstein makes her retirement public. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) looks to be doing the same. In anticipation of the latter jumping into the Senate race, Los Angeles School Board member Nick Melvoin (D) announced yesterday that he will run for Schiff’s House seat.

Governor

Louisiana: Rep. Graves Considering Gov Race — Saying, “I think that the sentiment out there in the public for another candidate in this race is absolutely extraordinary,” Louisiana US Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) confirmed that he is still considering whether to run for governor later this year, and promises a decision in the next few days. The open gubernatorial field has changed drastically with both Sen. John Kennedy (R) and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser (R) declining to become candidates.

Graves was first elected to the House in 2018 and easily re-elected in 2020 and 2022 with 71 and 80 percent of the vote, respectively. He would not have to risk his congressional seat to run for governor in this odd-numbered year election. Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), state Treasurer John Schroder (R), and Department of Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson (D) presently appear to be the leading contenders.

The candidate filing deadline is not until Aug. 10. The jungle primary is scheduled for Oct. 14. If no one receives majority support in the initial vote, the top two finishers will advance to a Nov. 18 runoff election. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) is ineligible to seek a third term.

Mississippi: Elvis’s Cousin Announces for Governor — Mississippi Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley (D), a second cousin to the late music legend Elvis Presley, announced that he will compete for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in a quest to challenge Gov. Tate Reeves (R) later this year. Presley was elected to the Public Service Commission in 2007 after serving seven years as mayor of Nettleton, a town of approximately 2,000 residents. He is the first person to become an official 2023 opponent to Gov. Reeves. Secretary of State Michael Watson is a potential Republican primary challenger.

Candidate filing closes Feb. 1. The statewide primary is set for Aug. 8 with a runoff date on Aug. 29 for those races where no candidate achieves majority support in the initial vote. The general election is Nov. 7.

Murkowski Re-Elected, Peltola Wins Full Term in Alaska; CA-13 is The Last Outstanding Race to be Called

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski Re-Elected — Over the Thanksgiving break, we saw several more races called. The complete results came in Alaska where the final tabulations, including the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) rounds, were released and contests decided.

As expected, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) was re-elected after nipping former State Administration Director Kelly Tshibaka (R), 43.4 – 42.6 percent in the aggregate vote, a margin of 1,914 votes. In the first RCV round, with fourth place finisher Buzz Kelley’s (R) votes being distributed, the race became even tighter, with Sen. Murkowski’s lead reduced to only 44.5 – 44.3 percent, a spread of just 339 votes. 

The final result was easily predictable, and one could argue Sen. Murkowski really won her re-election when people voted to change the state’s election system in 2020. Initiated with support from the senator’s political organization, the hybrid jungle primary/Ranked Choice Voting system allowed Sen. Murkowski to skip what was her most vulnerable election, a partisan Republican primary. With four people now automatically advancing into the general election, the partisan nomination phase within the traditional election cycle was in effect eliminated. In 2010, Sen. Murkowski lost the Republican primary, but was re-elected when she won a write-in Independent campaign in that year’s general election.

House

AK-AL: Rep. Peltola Wins Full Term — After winning the August special election through the Ranked Choice Voting system to replace the late Alaska Rep. Don Young (R), at-large Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has now clinched a full term after the state’s preliminary final vote count was released the day before Thanksgiving. The end result was predictable, especially when Rep. Peltola easily placed first in the aggregate count, with a 49-26-23 percent margin over former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) and businessman Nick Begich III (R).

The first round of Ranked Choice Voting, which eliminated distant fourth-place finisher Chris Bye (Libertarian), almost put Peltola over the top. In this round, against both Palin and Begich, Rep. Peltola scored 49.2 percent of the adjusted vote. This result meant eliminating Begich, who was the third-place finisher. The third RCV round easily went to Rep. Peltola, who defeated Palin on a 55-45 percent tabulation. The Peltola victory increases the House Democratic Conference to 213 members as compared to the Republicans’ 221 with one California race remaining outstanding.

CA-13: The Last One Outstanding — We now have 434 US House races projected and the final partisan division count comes down to the end result from California’s new 13th Congressional District in the Fresno area. This post-election period could go on for some time.

The aggregate count, with a projected 96 percent of the votes recorded, although these estimates have not proven particularly reliable throughout the California counting process, gives Republican agri-businessman John Duarte a 593-vote lead over state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). The county with the largest outstanding vote at a 90 percent estimated recorded figure, is Stanislaus, which slightly favors Gray.

Depending upon this last outcome, the Republican House majority will be either 221-214 or 222-213. Another Speaker vote for California Republican Kevin McCarthy could also be critical in relation to how that internal race unfolds on Jan. 3.

We can expect further days before a preliminary count is revealed, and it is likely we will see a long period of vote challenges from both sides prior to final certification of a winner. The California election certification deadline is Dec. 16.

Governor

Alaska: Gov. Dunleavy Re-Elected Outright — One race that did not need a Ranked Choice Voting round was the Alaska governor’s contest. Incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) won a second term in the aggregate count, scoring 50.3 percent of the vote against three other candidates.

In a distant second place was Democratic former state representative Les Gara who posted 24.2 percent of the vote, while former Gov. Bill Walker, again running as an Independent, followed. The latter man recorded 20.7 percent of the aggregate popular vote. In the final general election qualifying position was Republican former Kenai Borough Peninsula Mayor Charlie Pierce who managed to secure only 4.5 percent of the vote.

Gov. Dunleavy, who faced an aborted recall effort early in his tenure, is the first re-elected Alaska chief executive since Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles won a second term in 1998.

Not So Close in Maryland; Sen. Murray Pulling Away in Washington; de Blasio Out in New York

By Jim Ellis — July 21, 2022

Primary Results

Maryland: Not So Close — Though polling was suggesting that several close races would be present on the Maryland primary ballot, it appears none materialized Tuesday night. Approximately 40 percent of the Democratic ballots and 20 percent of the GOP’s tallies still remain to be counted, and it will be several days until we see final totals, but the margins from the various races are such that they are unlikely to reverse any finishing order.

It appears that author and anti-poverty activist Wes Moore will win the Democratic gubernatorial primary. At this writing, he has almost a full 10-percentage point lead over his closest rival, former labor secretary and ex-Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, with state Comptroller Peter Franchot now a distant third.

Claiming the Democratic nomination makes him a prohibitive general election favorite against Donald Trump-backed state Delegate Dan Cox (R-Frederick) who clinched the Republican primary over former state Commerce Department Secretary Kelly Schulz. Assuming a November win, Moore will become Maryland’s 63rd governor and first African American to hold the post. He would replace term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is ineligible to run again because of the state’s term-limited law.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen was a landslide Democratic primary winner as expected. He will face Republican activist and home-building contractor Chris Chaffee in what should be an easy re-election run for the incumbent.

US Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Bowie) also was easily nominated as the Democratic candidate for attorney general in another race polling projected as trending close. Rep. Brown has so far claimed approximately 60 percent of the vote against retired district judge Katie Curran O’Malley (D), wife of former governor and presidential candidate Martin O’Malley.

Tuesday night’s competitive US House races saw the open 4th District going to ex-Prince Georges State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, who surprisingly easily defeated former US Rep. Donna Edwards (D). The ex-House member, who served nine years after winning a special election in 2008, was attempting a political comeback after losing the 2016 US Senate Democratic primary to Van Hollen.

In the 6th District, State Delegate and 2020 Republican nominee Neil Parrott easily defeated journalist Matthew Foldi who attracted support from Gov. Hogan and other key GOP leaders. Parrott will again challenge Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), but now in a district that is more favorable to a Republican candidate.

Senate

Washington: Sen. Murray Pulling Away — For the second time in a matter of days, a poll finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) re-establishing a strong lead in her 2022 re-election effort after earlier surveys were projecting a tight race. Elway Research (July 7-11; 400 registered Washington voters; live interview & text) projects Sen. Murray to be holding a 51-33 percent lead over veterans advocate and former nurse Tiffany Smiley (R). The result is almost identical to the Survey USA poll that was conducted during the same period. The S-USA data found a 53-33 percent Murray advantage. The confirming Elway result suggests the two pollsters are detecting a positive response to the recent Murray ad blitz.

House

NY-10: de Blasio Out — After two released polls from progressive left survey research firms found him stuck in low single digits for his US House run, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has ended his congressional effort. In a video message thanking people for their help and support, de Blasio indicated that since it is clear the people of the new 10th District prefer a different direction, it is time that he found a different way to serve. Therefore, de Blasio says he will exit elective politics.

Though the former city chief executive won two terms as New York’s mayor, he met a similar fate in short-lived bids for president and governor. With 100 percent name identification according to both Data for Progress and Justice Research, de Blasio managed a preference factor of only five and three percent in the two polls.

Redistricting

Ohio: State Supreme Court Strikes Again — Continuing the fight between the Ohio Supreme Court and the Buckeye State legislature, the high court again struck down the enacted congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, once more on a 4-3 ruling, and mandated that the plan be re-drawn for the 2024 election. It is likely that the US Supreme Court will issue a ruling on partisan gerrymandering at some point next year, which may make the Ohio decision moot. This ruling does not affect the 2022 election cycle, which will be run under the plan that the court just struck down.

States

Missouri: No Top Four — The grassroots organization attempting to convert the Missouri primary system into a Top-Four jungle primary format a la Alaska, has failed to qualify for the November initiative ballot. Though the group recruited more than 300,000 signatures, they failed to reach the mandated number of verified petition signatures in each of the state’s eight congressional districts. The organizers vowed to mount a similar effort for the 2024 election.

The Top-Four system, used only in Alaska and for the first time in the 2022 election cycle, features a jungle primary that includes all candidates on the same ballot. The top four candidates then advance to the general election regardless of party preference and vote percentage attained. Once the four general election finalists are determined, the system converts to Ranked Choice Voting System, where voters prioritize their candidate choices from 1-4. Contenders are eliminated once one reaches the 50 percent mark.

Alaska Rep. Young’s Passing Yields Chaotic Special Election Process

By Jim Ellis

Alaska’s At-Large Congressman, the late Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon)

March 22, 2022 — On Friday, the Dean of the House of Representatives, Alaska’s At-Large Congressman Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon), passed away in an airplane flying back to his home state. The congressman, who was first elected in a 1973 special election, served in the House for 49 consecutive years, or just 14 years less than the time Alaska has been a state.

The congressman’s full and colorful national political career even began in an unusual way. As a sitting state legislator, he ran for Congress in 1972, opposite at-large Rep. Nick Begich (D). Less than a month before the election, however, Rep. Begich and then House Majority Leader Hale Boggs (D-LA) went down in a plane crash on a tour through the Last Frontier. With Boggs legally declared as missing, though it was imminently clear that all perished in the crash, he still defeated Young in the 1972 regular election.

Upon certification of Rep. Begich’s death, Don Young then won the succeeding special election in early 1973. He would never lose again. Coming full circle, Rep. Young’s 2022 opponent would likely have been Nick Begich III (D), the late congressman’s grandson.

While best wishes and remembrances for and about the congressional icon are coming from throughout the country, a potentially chaotic replacement process lies before the state’s governor to direct, and then for those who choose to become candidates.

Under Alaska law, a special election must be conducted to fill an electoral vacancy no less than 60 and no more than 90 days after the position is officially vacated. In this case, Young passed away on March 18. Therefore, at least the initial election must occur during the period between May 17 and June 16.

Because the state is changing its election procedure, much is unclear. An Alaska Department of Law spokesperson stated in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News that the agency personnel will review the applying statutes and prepare an advisory report for Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R).

In 2020, Alaska voters passed an initiative to change the state’s primary system. Thus, the state will now use a jungle primary format. Three other states, California, Louisiana, and Washington have jungle primaries, but in all of those places the top two finishers advance into the general election or post-election runoff. Louisiana holds its jungle primary concurrently with the regular general election so that a leading candidate with a percentage greater than 50 is elected outright.

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