Tag Archives: Kelly Tshibaka

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.

Murkowski Takes Lead; Manchin Opponent Announces; Each Party Gains Seat in House

By Jim Ellis — Monday, Nov. 21, 2022

Senate

Alaska incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Murkowski Takes Lead — The Alaska ballot count slowly continues, and now with 87 percent of the projected vote recorded Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) has assumed the aggregate vote lead over Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka. According to this latest tabulation, Sen. Murkowski now has a 1,658-vote edge over Tshibaka.

The aggregate count, however, won’t likely end this election. Since the leading candidate will almost assuredly finish under the 50 percent majority mark – Sen. Murkowski now has 43.3 percent – we will then see the contest falling into the Ranked Choice Voting system. This, too, should favor Sen. Murkowski. Though Tshibaka is likely to receive more second-choice votes from the first eliminated conservative Republican candidate who has already endorsed her, Sen. Murkowski will receive many more from the second eliminated candidate, sure to be Democrat Pat Chesbro. At the end of this very long counting process expect Sen. Murkowski to be re-elected.

West Virginia: First Senate Announcement — West Virginia Rep. Alex Mooney (R-Charles Town) last week announced that he will challenge Sen. Joe Manchin (D) in the 2024 Senate race. He is the first such individual to announce for the next Senate election cycle in any state. In the 2022 election cycle, Mooney was paired with Rep. David McKinley (R-Wheeling) because West Virginia lost one of its three congressional seats in national reapportionment. In a tough Republican primary campaign, Rep. Mooney defeated Rep. McKinley, 54-36 percent, and went onto win the general election with 65 percent of the vote.

Back in August, Triton Research ran early ballot test questions pairing Sen. Manchin with several potential Republican challengers, including Rep. Mooney. In that pairing, Mooney led the senator 45-38 percent. Another potential Manchin opponent, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) who challenged him in 2008, indicates he is considering another Senate bid but said he is also looking at what will be an open governor’s race, a potential bid for what will now be Rep. Mooney’s open congressional seat, or simply to seek re-election to his current position.

House

CA-13: Closest Race Continues On — In what could end as being the closest race in the country when all the votes are finally counted, Republican agri-businessman John Duarte (R) has re-captured the lead over state Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) with 73 percent of the projected vote counted. Currently, Duarte has an 865-vote lead. Looking at the five counties in the newly created District 13 that stretches from the Stockton area border to the south of Fresno, the race is close in each place.

Though the outstanding vote total in San Joaquin County is the largest and a place that clearly favors Gray, the total vote is too low to make a substantial difference in the overall count. Therefore, if percentages for the two candidates remain consistent among the outstanding votes, Duarte could win a very close victory. Therefore, we can expect not only a long waiting period to arrive at a final count, but a recount and vote challenge period will almost certainly follow. This may be the last race in the country to be called.

CO-3: Rep. Boebert Projected; Dem Concedes — Though Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) may be the projected winner with just a 554-vote margin from a total vote count of 327,110, and Democrat Adam Frisch has conceded the race, the tabulation process may not be over. Because the race is within the .5 percent range that triggers an automatic recount under Colorado state law, we still may see a post-election proofing procedure after the final canvass even though Rep. Boebert has declared victory and Frisch conceded. At this point, however, with the Boebert projection, the Republican House total increases to 219.

CO-8: Democrat Caraveo Wins New Seat — Colorado’s new 8th District earned in national reapportionment was drawn as a 50/50 seat with the slightest Democratic lean, and that is exactly the way the election finished. Over the weekend, Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Eastlake) was projected the winner, claiming a 1,625-vote win from a total of 236,426 currently counted ballots, giving her a 48.4 – 47.7 percent victory over Weld County Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.

Because this margin is likely to remain beyond the .5 percent mandatory recount range, this win will soon be certified. The Caraveo victory brings the Democratic House total to 212 with four seats remaining outstanding.

Murkowski’s Lead Tenuous in Alaska; Blumenthal Gains Momentum in Conn.; Still a Tight Race in NH; More House News

By Jim Ellis — Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022

Senate

Alaska incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Sen. Murkowski’s Tenuous Lead — A new Alaska Survey Research organization poll (Oct. 19-22; 1,276 likely Alaska general election voters; text to online) forecasts a tight US Senate election between incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and former state Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R).

The actual vote is projected to break 41-39-16-4 percent with Sen. Murkowski leading Tshibaka, Democrat Pat Chesbro, and Independent Buzz Kelley. Such a result would eliminate the fourth-place finisher who has already withdrawn from the race and endorsed Tshibaka. The first RCV round would eliminate Chesbro by a closer 41-40-17 percent. The final RCV round between Sen. Murkowski and Tshibaka would then break the incumbent’s way, according to the ASR poll, 56-44 percent. Therefore, while Sen. Murkowski will likely not reach an outright victory in the actual vote, she is positioned to fare well under the ranked choice system.

Connecticut: Momentum for Sen. Blumenthal — Last week we saw a Fabrizio Lee & Associates survey that found Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D) lead over Republican nominee Leora Levy shrinking to 49-44 percent. Countering this data is a new survey from Connecticut based Quinnipiac University (Oct. 19-23; 1,879 likely Connecticut general election voters) that restores Sen. Blumenthal to a 56-41 percent advantage, similar to what the September Q-Poll produced. The latter data is more consistent with other polls of this race, suggesting that the Fabrizio Lee survey may be an outlier.

New Hampshire: Not Quite Over — Three recent pollsters find that the New Hampshire Senate race, one many Republicans conceded to Sen. Maggie Hassan (D) once retired Army Gen. Don Bolduc (R) won the Sept. 13 Republican primary, may not yet be clinched. The three pollsters, all surveying the Granite State electorate within the Oct. 17-23 period with sample sizes ranging from 600 to 727 likely New Hampshire general election voters, finds Sen. Hassan’s lead dwindling to between one and three percentage points.

Fabrizio Ward & Associates, Emerson College, and Insider Advantage, found respective 49-47 percent, 48-45 percent, and 48-47 percent results. Such results suggest this race is headed back to toss-up status.

House

AK-AL: Rep. Peltola’s Strong Lead — The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research organization poll (see Alaska Senate above), while projecting a tight result for Sen. Murkowski (R) sees the opposite trend for August special congressional election winner Mary Peltola (D-Bethel). The House poll suggests that Rep. Peltola has a chance to win outright opposite former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, businessman Nick Begich III (R), and Libertarian Chris Bye. Even if she does advance into the RCV round, it also appears that she would easily beat both Palin and Begich in one-on-one contests.

The ASR polling results find the initial vote cutting 49-26-21-5 percent for Peltola, Palin, Begich, and Bye, respectively. Obviously, the polling margin of error could mean that Rep. Peltola wins at this point since she is so close to the majority mark. Should Rep. Peltola fail to reach 50 percent, she would then likely advance to a final RCV round with Palin. The poll projects that the congresswoman would win the one-on-one pairing with 57 percent of the Ranked Choice Vote.

MN-1: Rep. Finstad Expands Lead — August special congressional election winner Brad Finstad (R-New Elm/Rochester) has jumped out to a nine-point lead in his re-match race with retired Hormel Corporation CEO Jeff Ettinger (D) according to a just released Survey USA poll (Oct. 20-23; 563 likely MN-1 general election voters). In what many believed to be a toss-up general election campaign, this study producing a 46-37 percent advantage for Rep. Finstad suggests that the race is clearly leaning to the Republican side.

Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending in Alaska; Walker Remains Above Attacks in GA; Polls in Nevada Show Some Flip-Flopping

By Jim Ellis — Friday, Oct. 14, 2022

Senate

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Alaska: Trump Attacks McConnell Over Campaign Spending — The media is covering comments former President Donald Trump is making over the Senate Leadership Fund’s campaign spending as it relates to the Alaska race featuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) and the ex-president’s endorsed candidate, Kelly Tshibaka (R). The SLF, an organization that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) former staff members and political allies control, is committing $9 million in media money to support Sen. Murkowski.

Trump attacks the group, and Sen. McConnell by name, for spending this money against another Republican instead of in places where GOP candidates are opposing strong Democratic incumbents such as Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Many agree with Trump’s assessment since, particularly in Arizona, more money is needed to counter Sen. Mark Kelly’s (D) huge financial edge.

Because of Alaska’s new electoral system, it is clear that the general election is coming down to a battle between the two Republicans, hence not endangering the Senate’s party division count.

Georgia: Attacks Not Destroying Walker — Republican Herschel Walker has been under intense attack recently in his Senate battle against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D), but several new polls, so far, suggest that the attacks about his personal life have not yet devastated his campaign.

A series of six polls were released in the past few days, and only one, from Survey USA, shows Sen. Warnock holding a substantial lead. Four of the six find the margin between the two candidates falling within a 1-3 percentage point margin. A total of four surveys, from The Trafalgar Group, Quinnipiac University, Emerson College, and Insider Advantage, conducted their studies between the Oct. 4-11 period. The other two, from the aforementioned Survey USA and the University of Georgia, polled between Sept. 25 through Oct. 4. The sample sizes range from 550 to 1,157 likely voters. S-USA is most out of line, showing Warnock up 50-38 percent. Quinnipiac sees the second largest Warnock edge, 52-45 percent.

The group of polls allows observers to arrive at two conclusions. First, Sen. Warnock leads the race. Second, Walker is still very competitive and remains within striking distance.

Nevada: Sen. Cortez Masto Rebounds in New Poll — After trailing in seven consecutive polls among likely voters, a new Suffolk University survey (Oct. 4-7; 500 likely Nevada voters; live interview) finds Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) pulling back in front of former Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), 46-44 percent.

Clearly, the cumulative result from these many polls is that both candidates are alive heading into voter decision making time. The bad sign for Sen. Cortez Masto is that she has failed to reach 50 percent support in the last dozen consecutive polls, dating all the way back to July. Such is a troubling indication for any incumbent.

Governor

Georgia: Conflicting Polls — From the myriad of Georgia Senate polling (see Georgia Senate above), two of the survey research entities released numbers for the Peach State governor’s race. Quinnipiac University (Oct. 7-10; 1,157 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview) plots Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) lead over former state House Minority Leader Stacy Abrams (D) at just 50-49 percent. The University of Georgia (Sept. 25-Oct. 4; 1,030 likely Georgia general election voters; live interview), however, sees a much wider Kemp advantage, 51-41 percent.

Nevada: Sheriff’s Edge — The aforementioned Suffolk University survey (see Nevada Senate above) that found Sen. Cortez Masto (D) reclaiming a small lead over her Republican opponent instead finds Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (R) holding a slight 44-43 percent edge over Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Just as in the Senate race where either candidate can win, such is also the case in the Silver State’s governor’s contest.

Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting System Favors Sen. Murkowski, Begich over Palin; Dr. Oz Closes On Lt. Gov. Fetterman in PA; CA-26 Race Tightens

By Jim Ellis — Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022

Senate

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska: Ranked Choices Favors Sen. Murkowski — The new Alaska Survey Research firm tested the Alaska Senate race, and we again see Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) having trouble distancing herself from challenger and fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka.

The ASR poll (Sept. 25-27; 1,282 likely Alaska general election voters; online) finds Sen. Murkowski leading Tshibaka only 41-39 percent on the ballot test question, with Democrat Pat Chesboro attracting 17 percent support, and Republican Buzz Kelley garnering a four percent preference factor. Kelley has already withdrawn as an active candidate and endorsed Tshibaka, but his name remains on the ballot as one of the four finalists from the Aug. 16 primary vote.

The Ranked Choice system then kicks in to put Sen. Murkowski well ahead in the final round. After Chesbro and Kelley are officially eliminated, Sen. Murkowski would top Tshibaka, 57-43 percent, once the second and third choice votes are added to the tabulation.

Pennsylvania: Movement Confirmation — Yesterday, as well as late last week, we reported upon a trio of surveys finding Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) coming within close range of Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) on the various ballot test questions. Fox News, Franklin & Marshall, and Insider Advantage found the Fetterman lead dropping to three and four percentage points.

Now, Emerson College has released their Pennsylvania statewide survey, the fourth coming to a similar conclusion within a constant time realm. The new Emerson study (Set. 23-26; 1,000 likely Pennsylvania voters; multiple sampling techniques) sees Dr. Oz coming within the polling margin of error, trailing Fetterman by only a 45-43 percent count.

House

AK-AL: Poll Finds Begich Passing Palin — The aforementioned Alaska Survey Research poll (see Alaska Senate above) also tested the state’s at-large US House District campaign and it discovered two significant data points. First, in the ballot test of the four candidates who advanced into the general election, businessman Nick Begich III now moves ahead of former governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin by two and three percentage points on the initial vote and first Ranked Choice Voting round.

The second finding is newly elected Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) would defeat either Begich or Palin even before getting to the second Ranked Choice round. According to the ASR poll, Rep. Peltola would achieve majority support, thus winning the election, once Libertarian Chris Bye, the fourth-place finisher, is eliminated from further competition.

CA-26: Poll Suggests New Race Bubbling to the Surface — A just-released OnMessage survey (Sept. 14-18; 400 likely CA-26 voters; live interview) surprisingly finds Rep. Julia Browley (D-Westlake Village/Ventura) leading Republican Matt Jacobs by only a 48-43 percent point spread. This poll, that even finds Jacobs leading among the self-described Independents 44-34 percent, is quite a change from the June 7 jungle primary results. In that election, Brownley topped Jacobs, 54-38 percent, with three other candidates sharing the remaining eight percent of the vote.

Whether Jacobs can become competitive to the point of unseating Rep. Brownley remains to be seen in a southern California district that President Biden carried 61-36 percent. For her part, Brownley has averaged 61 percent of the vote in her last three terms, but did have close calls in both her original 2012 election (53-47 percent) and 2014 (51-49 percent).

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General; Wyoming Rep. Cheney Loses Big

By Jim Ellis — August 17, 2022

Primary Results

Former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the Alaska special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district.

Alaska: Peltola, Palin Advance; Murkowski, Tshibaka to General — With just under 70 percent of the voting tabulated, and as expected by consolidating the smaller Democratic vote, former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D) is leading the special election race to fill the state’s at-large congressional district left vacant when veteran Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon) passed away in March.

Former governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin (R) holds a 5,266 vote lead over Nick Begich III (R) for the all-important second place position. Under Alaska’s new voting procedure, ballots postmarked yesterday have until Aug. 31 to reach the county clerk’s office and be tabulated. The extra time is important for the outlying rural areas to be included.

Second position is so important because the third-place finisher in this electoral situation, at this point that being Begich, will be eliminated and the Ranked Choice Voting process will begin. If Begich is eliminated, the ballots listing him as the first choice will be found and the second choice votes from only these ballots will be added to the process. The eventual winner will immediately be sworn into the House. All three of the aforementioned candidates also advanced into the regular general election.

Alaska republican Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka

Turning to the US Senate race, incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), running for a fourth full term, is first at this point in the counting process with 43.7 percent of the vote among 19 jungle primary candidates, and just ahead of former Alaska Director of Administration Kelly Tshibaka (R), who former President Trump long ago endorsed. Tshibaka’s current vote percentage is 40.4. It appears Democrat Patricia Chesbro (6.2 percent) is well-positioned to take a distant third place; vying for the fourth and final position are Republicans Buzz Kelley and Pat Nolin.

In the governor’s race, incumbent Mike Dunleavy (R) looks to have secured first position with 41.7 percent of the jungle primary vote among 10 candidates. Also clinching general election ballot slots are former state Rep. Les Gara (D) with 22.0 percent of the vote, and ex-Gov. Bill Walker (I) who so far has posted a close 21.9 percent. The final general election qualifying position appears undecided between two Republicans, Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R)

Wyoming: As Expected, Rep. Cheney Loses Big — Early in the counting process, it was clear that At-Large Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wilson/Jackson) would lose her US House seat to attorney Harriet Hageman, the candidate former President Donald Trump supported early.

The vote count was a landslide in favor of Hageman — 66-29 percent — who ran a measured campaign. Her theme was concentrating on serving the constituency while highlighting that Rep. Cheney used the position to fulfill her own political goals.

Incumbent Sen. Cheney carried only her home county of Teton, which houses the cities of Jackson and Jackson Hole, and southeastern Albany County; Hagman topped the vote totals in the state’s other 21 counties. Republican turnout overwhelmed that of the Democrats, 170,409 to just 7,233 ballots cast, suggesting that a large number of the latter party’s members did what Cheney asked them to do and crossed over to vote for her in the Republican primary.

The GOP turnout was up 58.7 percent compared to 2020, while Democratic participation was down 30.7 percent, providing more evidence that a significant number of Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Two years ago, Cheney won a contested Republican primary with 73.5 percent of the vote, and scored a 68.6 percent win in the general election.

Hageman will now face the new Democratic nominee, Native American community activist Lynette Grey Bull, the 2020 party standard bearer against Cheney. Hageman now becomes the prohibitive favorite to win the general election.

Senate

New Hampshire: Candidate Staked to Big Lead — St. Anselm’s College released the results of their quarterly poll of Granite State voters, this one taken a month before the state’s late primary election. This New Hampshire sampling universe (Aug. 9-11; 1,898 registered New Hamshire voters; 900 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters; live interview), as have those from two other St. Anselm’s 2022 polls, sees President Biden with an upside-down job approval rating. Biden registers 42:57 percent favorable to unfavorable status.

Republicans hold a three-point lead on the generic party vote questions, and 68 percent of the respondents believe the country is on the wrong track versus just 21 percent who believe America is headed in the right direction. Democrats have a clear advantage on the abortion issue by a 49-23 percent margin.

In the Senate GOP primary, retired general and 2020 Senate candidate Don Bolduc holds a significant 32-16-4-4 percent advantage over state Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem), former Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith, and investor Bruce Fenton, respectively.

House

NH-1: 2020 Nominee Mowers Leading in New Poll — The co/efficient survey research firm tested the upcoming Sept. 13 Republican congressional field in the state’s swing 1st District. New Hampshire’s eastern CD has defeated more incumbents than any seat in the country since the 2004 election.

In the Republican primary where candidates hope to challenge Rep. Chris Pappas (D-Manchester) in the general election, the survey (Aug. 13-14; 829 likely NH-1 Republican primary voters; live interview & text) projects 2020 nominee Matt Mowers to be leading the field with 31 percent support. Former Trump White House media aide Karoline Leavitt 16 percent, state Rep. Tim Baxter (R-Portsmouth) nine percent, and former news reporter and wife of ex-Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown (R), Gail Huff Brown, at eight percent preference. This district electorate will once again witness a highly competitive general election.

Primaries: Alaska Preview, Hawaii Wrapup; Oklahoma Special Election

By Jim Ellis — August 16, 2022

Primaries

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

Alaska — The long-awaited Alaska primary and special House election will be decided today, and the state’s unique top-four qualifying primary system will be put to its second test.

In the US Senate race, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is running for a fourth full term after being appointed to the seat in 2002 when her father, former Sen. Frank Murkowski (R), was elected governor.

The new top-four system virtually guarantees that the senator will advance into the general election, thus negating the potential of her again losing a partisan Republican primary as she did in 2010. In that year, she was able to win the general election after launching a write-in bid as an Independent.

This time, she faces another Republican challenger, one with former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Kelly Tshibaka, the former Alaska Director of Administration and Trump-supported candidate, is also well positioned to advance into the general election and may well have been a serious threat to the Senator in a traditional Republican primary.

A total of 19 candidates are on the Senate ballot: eight Republicans, three Democrats, and eight minor party and independent candidates. Of the three Democrats, two — ex-Seward Mayor Edgar Blatchford and former state Senate nominee Pat Chesbro — have previously won campaigns. It is probable that one of these two will also qualify for the general election simply because one will likely attract enough Democratic votes to place either third or fourth.

As is usually the case, polling is sparse in Alaska and we see no late breaking data. This is likely due to the large number of candidates and that a total of four will advance, thus making the primary vote less significant. In the field of four general election candidates, the Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) system will be used. Voters will assign a priority of 1-4 for the listed candidates. Should no one reach 50 percent, the last-place finisher is eliminated and the process continues until one candidate reaches majority support.

The RCV system is in effect today and will produce a winner among the three finalists in the US House special election campaign to succeed the late at-large Rep. Don Young (R-Ft. Yukon).

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate, now running for US House Representative

There are three finalists in this race because the original third place finisher, Independent Al Gross, the 2020 Democratic US Senate nominee, dropped out of the race after qualifying. This left 2008 vice presidential nominee and ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Party of Alaska officially endorsed contender Nick Begich III, whose grandfather, the late Nick Begich, Sr. (D), was the congressman prior to Rep. Young, and former state Rep. Mary Peltola (D).

It is likely that Peltola will finish first, consolidating the Democratic vote, but falling well short of majority support. Thus, the RCV system would then swing into action. The key position will be second, and all indications suggest that Palin and Begich are in a tight battle to avoid elimination. It is then probable that the surviving Republican will defeat Peltola in the second round.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is also on the ballot running for a second term. It is expected that Dunleavy, former Gov. Bill Walker (I), and ex-state Rep. Les Gara (D) will secure three of the four available general election ballot positions.

It will be an interesting night in Alaska, but results won’t likely be clear until well into Wednesday considering the significant time change and the counting delays often seen in the Last Frontier when tabulating votes from the remote rural areas.

Hawaii — Hawaii held its statewide primary Saturday, and the results produced no surprises.  In the defining Democratic primary, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, a physician, easily defeated former Aloha State first lady Vicky Cayetano and US Rep. Kai Kahele (D-Hilo) in a landslide 64-21-14 percent, respectively.  Green now becomes the prohibitive favorite to defeat Republican nominee, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, who scored a majority victory in the GOP primary.

In the open 2nd House District race, former state Sen. Jill Tokuda recorded a 59-25 percent victory over state Rep. Patrick Branco (D-Kailua) and four others.  She now becomes a lock to replace Rep. Kahele who risked his safe House seat for his long shot, and now proven unsuccessful, run for governor.  The Republican primary winner, with 83 percent of the vote, is 2020 GOP congressional nominee Joe Akana.  Two years ago, he lost to Kahele 58-28 percent in the general election, and is likely headed to a similar fate later this year.

Sen. Brian Schatz was an overwhelming winner in his Democratic primary, notching 94 percent of his party’s vote.  He will face state Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa), who won the Republican primary with a 41 percent plurality over four opponents.

Rep. Ed Case (D-Kaneohe) also easily won renomination in his 1st District Democratic primary, with an 84-16 percent landslide over progressive left challenger Sergio Alcubilla.

Democratic turnout overwhelmed that of Republicans.  With ancillary counting remaining, a total of 218,523 individuals voted in the Democratic primary versus just 59,006 who chose the Republican contests.

Senate

Oklahoma Special: Conflicting Polls, Same Leader — The Oklahoma Republican runoff election to advance into the November special election to replace resigning Sen. Jim Inhofe (R) will be decided on Aug. 23. We now see two recently released surveys, both projecting US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville) leading former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon but by varying degrees.

The most recent, from Battleground Connect (July 31-Aug. 1; 800 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) sees Rep. Mullin leading Shannon, 46-38 percent. Both men are viewed favorably. Rep. Mullin sports a 62:23 percent favorable ratio, while Shannon scores 48:15 percent, though fewer respondents know him well enough to form an opinion.

The Sooner Poll conducted for News Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. The sampling period was longer and the sample size smaller than Battleground Connect’s (July 25-Aug. 1; 383 likely Oklahoma Republican special runoff voters; live interview) and it produced an overwhelming advantage for Rep. Mullin, 63-35 percent. The Republican runoff winner will be favored to defeat former US Rep. Kendra Horn, who is the official Democratic Party nominee, in the November special general election.