Tag Archives: Kelly Tshibaka

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.

Alaska Senate: A Re-Emergence

By Jim Ellis

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate

Aug. 4, 2021 — The Alaska Survey Research firm released a new Alaska Senate poll finding Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) improving her standing, but an even more drastic potential development has surfaced.

The poll (July 11-21; 947 registered Alaska voters, online) shows Sen. Murkowski posting her best numbers of the year, leading former State Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka (R), 36-27 percent. Tshibaka, already the candidate who the Alaska Republican Party and former President Donald Trump have officially endorsed, was leading the senator in earlier published surveys (Change Research: May 22-25; 1,023 likely Alaska voters, Tshibaka 39-19 percent. Cygnal: released March 29; 500 registered Alaska voters, Tshibaka 34-19 percent).

In the July ASR poll, state Sen. Elvi Gray-Jackson (D-Anchorage) and former Senate nominee Joe Miller (R/Libertarian) trailed the two leaders with 19 and 18 percent, respectively. Under Alaska’s new top-four primary system, all four of these candidates, however, would advance into the general election.

In even better news for Sen. Murkowski, the ASR poll tested her against Tshibaka in a head-to-head match-up and the incumbent would defeat the challenger, 55-45 percent. The bad news for Murkowski is the new Alaska voting system will not allow for such a pairing. Beginning with the 2022 election, all candidates run on a jungle primary ballot in the Aug. 16, 2022, nomination contest and the top four contenders, regardless of percentage attained will advance into the general election. Therefore, testing for a one-on-one ballot test should no longer be applicable in analyzing the Alaska electoral system.

Beyond the poll, a new development could be on the Alaska political horizon. Over the weekend, former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, addressed a group of evangelical Christian leaders. Asked if she would run for the Senate, Palin retorted, “if God wants me to run for the US Senate next year, I will.” She then, however, scolded the leaders saying, “I would say you guys better be there for me this time, because a lot of people were not there for me last time.”

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Poll: Murkowski Trailing Badly

By Jim Ellis

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R)

June 10, 2010 — A new Alaska statewide political survey suggests that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is in serious danger of losing her coming re-election campaign.

Change Research, polling for the 314 Action Fund, an organization committed to electing more scientists to public office, conducted a study of the Alaska electorate and found incumbent Sen. Murkowski, who is looking to win a fourth full term, (R) faring poorly.

The poll (May 22-25; released June 9; 1,023 likely Alaska voters, online) tested Murkowski against announced Republican opponent Kelly Tshibaka, the former Alaska Commissioner of Administration, Dr. Al Gross, the 2020 Senate Democratic nominee who lost 54-41 percent to Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan, and John Wayne Howe of the Alaska Independence Party.

In 2020, Alaska voters adopted a new ballot procedure initiative that changes the state’s nomination system into a unique “top four” jungle primary. This means the four candidates attracting the most votes in the initial election all advance into the general election.

With Sen. Murkowski having trouble within her own Republican Party, this system prevents her from again facing a closed partisan primary like the one she lost in 2010, since it is difficult to fathom she or any other incumbent failing to even place fourth in a primary election. In the year she lost re-nomination, Sen. Murkowski was able to quickly rebound and win as a write-in general election candidate.

While the top-four system likely helps Sen. Murkowski, the new general election system may not play to her favor. After the top four candidates qualify, the ranked-choice voting system takes effect to decide the general election. This means voters will rank the candidates from 1 through 4.

Once the fourth place finisher is determined, assuming no one has reached 50 percent, those voters who rank the fourth place finisher as number 1 have their ballots retrieved and their second choice is added to the remaining totals. This process continues in rounds until one candidate secures majority support.

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Major Senate Moves

By Jim Ellis

April 14, 2021 — With the Senate tied 50D-50R, and every 2022 campaign potentially meaning a change in majority status, we already see serious political moves being made or at least considered. This week began as being particularly active.

In the Last Frontier State of Alaska, 2020 Independent/Democratic nominee Al Gross, who opposed Sen. Dan Sullivan (R), confirms that he is considering challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) next year. The state’s new top four jungle primary system would virtually guarantee that both Sen. Murkowski and Dr. Gross would advance into the general election should both decide to run. For her part, Sen. Murkowski has not yet formally declared her 2022 political intentions, but she is expected to seek re-election.

Dr. Gross lost to Sen. Sullivan, 54-41 percent, despite exceeding the incumbent’s fundraising totals by almost a 2:1 margin. The Independent/Democrat spent over $19.5 million as compared to Sen. Sullivan’s expenditure total of $10.1 million. A total exceeding $27.2 million was expended from outside organizations, over $18 million of which aided Dr. Gross’ campaign.

Already announced is Republican former State Administrative Director Kelly Tshibaka; a Cygnal research firm survey of 500 Alaska registered voters taken in late March actually found her leading both Sen. Murkowski and Dr. Gross. The ballot test broke 34-19-18 percent in favor of Tshibaka with Sen. Murkowski and Dr. Gross significantly trailing. Under the new primary system, however, all three of these contenders, and a fourth candidate, would advance into the general election.

Former Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker, who lost the 2020 US Senate Democratic primary to party nominee Amy McGrath in a close 44-42 percent result, has filed an exploratory committee for purposes of assessing his chances against Sen. Rand Paul (R) in a 2022 campaign.

Booker was literally outspent 10:1 in the Democratic primary, as McGrath hauled in more than $20 million even before advancing into the general election. She never figured on having to spend so much to defeat her intra-party opponent, however. Booker was able to maximize his political base in Louisville and with the African American community statewide to pull within 15,149 votes of McGrath with more than 544,000 people casting ballots in the primary election.

Sen. Paul won his 2014 re-election campaign with a 57-43 percent margin over Lexington-Fayette Urban County Mayor Jim Gray (D), which is the second largest municipality in Kentucky. National Democrats were high on the Gray campaign at its outset, but the race never materialized in what became a landslide Republican election year.

Reports emanating from North Carolina suggest that former Gov. Pat McCrory (R) could declare his Senate candidacy as early as today. McCrory was elected governor in 2012 with a 55-43 percent margin but would lose his attempt at re-election by just 10,263 votes from more than 4.7 million ballots cast, or less than a quarter of a percent.

Largely entangled with the infamous North Carolina bathroom bill that became a national story, the governor could not steer himself clear of the controversy and fell to then-Attorney General Roy Cooper (D). McCrory had previously run for governor in 2008, losing to incumbent Bev Perdue (D) by just three percentage points. Prior to running statewide, McCrory served 14 years as Charlotte’s mayor.

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