Tag Archives: Rep. Mary Peltola

Trump Endorses Alaska Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom for House Seat; Ciscomani Leads in Arizona; Rare Poll in IL-17; Five-Term Rep. Graves Won’t Run in LA-6

By Jim Ellis — Friday, June 21, 2024

House

Alaska Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R)

AK-AL: Trump Endorses Lt. Governor — The Alaska at-large district is the most Republican seat that a House Democrat holds. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) has won three congressional elections, largely through the state’s Ranked Choice Voting system. This year, the stage may be set for a similar conclusion. Businessman Nick Begich III (R), nephew of former Democratic US Sen. Mark Begich (D), ran against former Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in the special election when veteran Rep. Don Young (R) passed away, and for both succeeding regular terms. This year, while Palin is not running, Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom has joined the Republican congressional field.

Under the Alaska system, all candidates appear on the jungle primary ballot, and the top four primary finishers advance into the general election irrespective of political party affiliation. Former President Donald Trump announced his endorsement for Dahlstrom, the candidate who enjoys the national and state Republican Party leadership backing. With two strong candidates battling for the Republican vote, it is likely that Rep. Peltola will again finish first among the top four general election finalists. The question to be answered is whether she can reach the 50 percent mark. If not, Ranked Choice Voting then takes effect.

Begich says he will withdraw if Dahlstrom places ahead of him in the initial qualifying election on Aug. 20. Dahlstrom has yet to make a similar promise.

In the latest available published poll, though dated, from Data for Progress (Feb. 23-3/2; 1,120 likely AK-AL voters; online), Begich had a large 41-12 percent lead over Dahlstrom. In a head to head pairing against Rep. Peltola, the congresswoman and Begich tied at 50-50 percent. Once again, the Alaska at-large campaign is a race to watch.

AZ-6: Rep. Ciscomani Holds Comfortable Lead — An internal Public Opinion Strategies poll (May 28-30; 300 likely AZ-6 general election voters; live interview) for the Juan Ciscomani re-election campaign finds the freshman Arizona congressman holding a 50-39 percent advantage over former state senator and 2022 Democratic congressional nominee Kirsten Engel as the two prepare for a rematch from the campaign of two years ago.

The 6th District, which sits in Arizona’s southeastern corner, is politically marginal in nature but made more Republican in the 2021 redistricting plan. In the previous election, Ciscomani defeated Engel, 50.7 – 49.2 percent, a margin of 5,232 votes. The same survey finds former President Donald Trump leading President Joe Biden, but with a smaller margin than Rep. Ciscomani’s advantage, 49-45 percent. In 2020, Biden carried this region with the slightest 49.3 – 49.2 percent edge.

IL-17: Rare Poll is Published — If there is a competitive seat in the Illinois delegation, it is the far western 17th District, anchored in the Quad Cities, which freshman Rep. Eric Sorensen (D-Moline) now represents. Republicans nominated retired circuit judge Joe McGraw back in March. The 1892 survey research organization just released their polling data (released June 19; 400 likely IL-17 voters; live interview) and the results find Rep. Sorensen holding a 44-35 percent lead over McGraw.

The 17th was highly competitive prior to the last redistricting, but the legislative Democrats who drew the plan configured the 17th in a much different manner. The district configuration now resembles the form of a letter “C” beginning in the city of Rockford, then coming west to pick up the Illinois section of the Quad Cities, meaning the cities of Rock Island and Moline, and then turns east to include Galesburg, downtown Peoria, and the territory all the way to Bloomington. The FiveThirtyEight data organization calculates a D+4 rating for the post-redistricting 17th, but that number should realistically increase because of a new Democratic incumbent seeking re-election.

LA-6: Rep. Graves Won’t Run –– This year’s final chapter in the Louisiana redistricting saga perhaps has now been written. Earlier in this election cycle, a court struck down the Louisiana congressional map as a racial gerrymander because a second majority minority seat could be drawn and was not. Then the map was redrawn to transform the current 6th CD into such a district, but it stretched from Baton Rouge to Shreveport. Activists sued to get the map disqualified since it was similar to a draw the courts rejected in 1994 because the Constitution forbids race being a determining factor in drawing districts. Subsequently, the US Supreme Court issued a stay on that ruling, thus reviving the original redraw that created the state’s second majority minority seat.

Though there is likely to be a future challenge to the map, it appears evident that this will be the Louisiana congressional plan that prevails at least for the 2024 election. As a result, the odd man out on this draw is five-term Rep. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) who was left with the choice of running in a decidedly Democratic new 6th CD (Biden ’20: 59-39 percent) or challenging either Republican incumbents Julia Letlow (R-Start) or Clay Higgins (R-Lafayette).

Graves has now decided not to challenge either member, saying he does not wish to upset the Republican political apple cart for what could only be a short-term map. The litigation in this redistricting case is far from over, so Graves’ congressional career may not be ending, but only suspended.

With Rep. Graves leaving the House and state Sen. Michael Rulli (R) winning the OH-6 special election on June 11, it means there are now 50 open congressional seats, 25 from the Democratic column, and 24 from the Republican side, along with the newly created Alabama district through that state’s redraw. The open seat number will reduce to 49 when the vacant Colorado District 4 is filled in a special election on June 25.

Nebraska Moves to Change Electoral Vote Apportionment; Curious GOP Targeting in Alaska House Race; A Tie in CA-16?; Braun’s Lead in Indiana

Click on above map to go to interactive version. | 270towin.com

By Jim Ellis — Friday, April 5, 2024

President

Nebraska: Move to Change Electoral Vote Apportionment — With the support of Gov. Jim Pillen (R), a bill in the Nebraska unicameral legislature would change Nebraska’s electoral vote apportionment system, which allows each of the state’s three congressional districts to carry their own electoral vote and change the system to the more common winner-take-all option.

Nebraska and Maine are the two states where presidential candidates win two electoral votes for clinching the statewide vote and one each for every carried congressional district.

The move would help former President Donald Trump in this year’s presidential race, because he is a lock to carry the statewide vote but is the underdog in the Omaha-anchored 2nd Congressional District.

Though Republicans have a large majority in the ostensibly non-partisan state Senate, there is no guarantee the votes will be present to change the system. Doing so, however, would likely deliver an important electoral vote to the Trump candidacy.

House

AK-AL: CLF’s Curious Targeting — The Congressional Leadership Fund, the Republicans’ top House Super PAC, unveiled their first 20 targets for the upcoming general election. Nineteen of the supported candidates are not particularly surprising, but their choice in Alaska’s at-large CD does raise eyebrows. The CLF is supporting Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) in the top-four contest, even though published research finds that Republican attorney and former candidate Nick Begich fares better against incumbent Mary Peltola (D-Bethel).

In a recently released poll (Data for Progress; Feb. 29-March 2; 1,120 AK-AL likely voters), Lt. Gov. Dahlstrom trailed Begich by 25 points and was 34 points down to Rep. Peltola on the initial multi-candidate ballot test. Once the hypothetical Ranked Choice Voting rounds were simulated, Begich finished at parity with Pelota with each garnering an equal 50 percent share. Therefore, it is curious that the CLF is bypassing Begich to support a weaker candidate.

CA-16: An Apparent Tie — It appears that all votes have finally been counted in California’s open 16th Congressional District and the long anticipated result for the second general election qualifying position has apparently ended in a flat tie. Both San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) and Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) each have an unofficial 30,249-vote tally.

If this result becomes final both men will advance into the general election against former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (D) who long ago secured the first qualifying position. This would lead to a three-way general election among a trio of Democrats, a rarity in a top two jungle primary system. The eventual winner of this race succeeds retiring Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton).

Governor

Indiana: Sen. Braun Continues with Significant Lead — Crossroads Public Affairs, polling for the Indy Politics campaign blog, released a new survey for the upcoming open Hoosier State Republican gubernatorial primary scheduled for May 7. The survey (March 24-25; 500 likely Indiana Republican primary voters) sees US Sen. Mike Braun leading the primary field with a 33-11-11-10 percent margin over Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, businessman Eric Doden, and former Indiana Commerce Secretary Brad Chambers.

While still holding a strong lead, Sen. Braun’s advantage has decreased since the last published poll from Emerson College, which found him posting a 34-7-7-5 percent lead. Therefore, while the opponents have shown some collective gain in the past three weeks, the fact that the challengers are all so closely bunched will allow Sen. Braun to capture the gubernatorial nomination even if he only attains plurality support.

Conflicting Polls in Ohio; Boebert Won’t Run in Special; Ranked Choice Toss-up Result in Alaska; California General Election Becoming Clearer

By Jim Ellis — Monday, March 18, 2024

Senate

Ohio businessman Bernie Moreno (R)

Ohio: Conflicting Polls — Late last week, we reported on an Emerson College poll of the Ohio Senate Republican primary that posted state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) to a 26-23-16 percent edge over businessman Bernie Moreno and Secretary of State Frank LaRose, respectively. Now we see a Survey USA study (March 6-11; 1,241 registered Ohio voters; 533 likely Republican primary voters; online) that projects Moreno holding a 22-18-16 percent lead over Sen. Dolan and Secretary LaRose. The closeness of both polls suggests any of the three still has a chance to win this coming Tuesday.

House

CO-4: Boebert Won’t Run in Special — Colorado US Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Silt) announced late last week that she will not compete in the special election to replace resigning Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) but will remain in the race for the full term. Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams, who is himself a congressional candidate in open District 5, announced that he will be assembling a committee of party leaders and elected officials to choose a 4th District special election nominee within “the next several weeks.” Gov. Jared Polis (D) has already said he will schedule the special election concurrently with the state’s June 25 primary election. The Democrats have a selection committee of more than 200 members, and the party leadership says a special vote to choose their nominee will occur on April 1.

The move not to enter the special makes sense for Boebert. It is highly unlikely that she would be chosen as the committee’s nominee, since she currently represents another district. Therefore, if the congresswoman wins the regular primary election it is irrelevant as to who would hold the seat for the remainder of this term. Unless the special election winner also wins the regular primary on the same day, then said person will not compete in the general election.

AK-AL: New Poll Shows Ranked Choice Toss-up Result — A new Data for Progress survey (Feb. 23-March 2; 1,120 likely Alaska general election voters; web to text) finds a very tight impending at-large congressional race with no clear leader after several hypothetical rounds of Ranked Choice Voting. Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) leads the original field of businessman and former congressional candidate Nick Begich III (R), Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R), and Libertarian Chris Bye by a 44-35-10-2 percent break. In Ranked Choice Voting, the primary sends four candidates to the general election and the pollsters project these individuals would be the eventual finalists.

Since no one receives majority support in the initial round, RCV begins, and Bye is eliminated. In the second round, Rep. Peltola would lead 48-41-12 percent over Begich and Dahlstrom. This result would lead to Dahlstrom’s elimination. The third round finds Peltola and Begich in a dead heat at 50-50 percent. Though Rep. Peltola has a 10-point personal favorability spread, the best of all the tested politicians, it appears the electoral system makes this race a toss-up.

California: General Election Becoming Clearer — More vote totals are being released from the long California ballot counting process, and congressional general election matchups are now becoming cemented. In preparation for Tuesday’s special election to replace resigned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it is now likely that we will see a double-Republican regular general election between Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) and Tulare County Sheriff Mike Bourdeaux.

To the Democrats’ benefit in open Districts 30 and 31, Democratic-Republican general elections appear to be the final result. Such pairings would almost assuredly elect state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Burbank) to replace Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), and former Congressman Gil Cisneros (D) returning to the House to succeed retiring Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) also appears to be a certainty.

The closest race is occurring in open District 16 where Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Atherton) is retiring. Former San Jose Mayor Sam Riccardo (D) has secured the first general election position, but the battle for second place is still undecided. San Mateo County Supervisor and former state Sen. Joe Simitian (D) has yielded second place to Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell). The razor-thin margin is only 59 votes between the two according to the secretary of state’s official count. An unspecified number of ballots remain uncounted. District 16 will definitely send two Democrats to the general election, but the second finalist position is still undecided.

Ohio’s Moreno Endorsed by Trump;
NJ Polling Battles; Alaska’s Peltola Could Again Get Boost From RCV; Census Projections for 2030

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023

Senate

Ohio Senate candidate Bernie Moreno (R) gets Trump’s endorsement.

Ohio: Trump Makes an Endorsement — As has been expected for several months, former President Donald Trump, the leader for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, signaled his official support to one of the three major Republican US Senate contenders Monday. While a Survey USA poll earlier in the week (Dec. 8-12; 573 likely Ohio Republican primary voters; online) found businessman Bernie Moreno trailing both Secretary of State Frank LaRose and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) by a 33-18-12 percent margin, Moreno man did finish in first place for the Trump endorsement. Previously, two other surveys found Moreno holding a slight lead in the primary race.

The Ohio primary is scheduled for March 19, and promises to be a highly competitive nomination campaign. The eventual winner of the plurality election will face three-term Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in the general election.

New Jersey: Competing Poll Places Rep. Kim First — Though indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D) for now remains in the 2024 Senate race, the Democratic primary battle appears to be a contest between US Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) and the state’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy. Approximately a month ago, Public Policy Polling released a survey favoring Murphy for the party nomination by a large 40-21 percent spread.

Rep. Kim released his internal Breakthrough Campaigns survey Monday (Dec. 7-14; 1,004 NJ likely Democratic primary voters; live interview & text) that produced a virtual mirror-like result. This study found Rep. Kim leading Ms. Murphy, 45-22 percent. Sen. Menendez, as was the case in the PPP survey, languishes in single digits. The dueling wide discrepancy polls suggest the statewide Democratic primary will be an interesting one to chart. The New Jersey primary is scheduled for June 4.

House

AK-AL: New Polling Favorable for Rep. Peltola — Once again, Alaska’s Ranked Choice Voting system may re-elect at-large Democratic US Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) even though more voters select a Republican candidate. Under the state’s primary system, four candidates advance into the general election. If no candidate receives majority support in the November vote, Ranked Choice Voting takes effect.

The Remington Research Group conducted a new poll for Republican candidate Nick Begich III (Dec. 11-14; 672 likely Alaska primary voters; live interview) and the ballot test finds Rep. Peltola attracting 42 percent support. Begich follows in second place with 28 percent. Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom (R) is third with nine percent, while Libertarian Chris Bye, running on the No Labels ballot line, would secure the fourth position with seven percent of the prospective vote. If this were the actual vote totals, RCV would begin with Bye being eliminated and his second choice votes added to the aggregate.

Rep. Peltola has been successful in the Ranked Choice process in both of her elections. In this case, the RCV process would begin because no candidate reached the majority support level.

Census Estimates: Early Reapportionment Projections for 2030 — The Census Bureau released its 2023 population estimates and from that data, extrapolated congressional seat gain and loss estimates for the next census, which is seven years away. Obviously, much can change over that time period, but the projections suggest serious population movement. California appears headed to lose a whopping four seats, while Texas would gain four. The other prospective multi-seat gainer would be Florida at plus-3. Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah would each gain one seat.

In addition to California, the losing states would include New York (minus-3) and Illinois (minus-2) with Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, and Pennsylvania losing one seat apiece. Oregon is the biggest surprise in the loser column because they gained a seat in the 2020 reapportionment.

Since these numbers are all long-range projections, the gainers and losers are not equal, which will correct itself once the final apportionment is completed after the next census many years from now.

Alaska’s Begich Joins House Race; Congressional Map Redraw Ordered in NY; Qualifying Candidates in UT-2;
A New NH Gubernatorial Candidate

By Jim Ellis — Monday, July 17, 2023

House

Nick Begich III

Alaska: Begich Announces for House — Nick Begich III, who ran in the special at-large congressional election after Rep. Don Young (R) suddenly passed away, and then again in the 2022 general election announced that he will return to run again next year. He hopes for the opportunity of facing Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) one-on-one in the final Ranked Choice Voting round.

Both in the special and regular elections, Begich failed to reach second place, finishing third behind former Gov. Sarah Palin by three percentage points in each contest, while Peltola, coalescing the smaller Democratic base, was able to place first. For Begich to get the chance of facing Rep. Peltola in the final Ranked Choice round in 2024, the three finalists coming from the primary must hold the Congresswoman to less than a majority.

Though the Republican vote is much larger than the Democratic segment in Alaska, the GOP split has allowed Peltola to win the seat by attracting more second and third choice votes than did Palin. Begich will need a more united Republican Party behind him if he is to overcome Rep. Peltola. The AK-AL seat is the most Republican seat in the nation that sends a Democrat to the House. For the Republicans to hold their small House majority, the Alaska seat is fast becoming a must-win for them.

New York: Court Orders Cong Map Redraw — A lower appellate court last week sided with the Democratic lawsuit challenging New York’s court-drawn congressional map and ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission to begin a new re-mapping process. Republicans will then appeal to the state’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, which is the panel that made the original ruling that led to the creation of the current map.

Republicans gained seats on the current map; hence, the reason why Democrats are moving to replace the plan. It appears a final decision about whether we will see a new map for 2024 is undoubtedly months away.

UT-2: Two Candidates Qualify — The Utah Secretary of State announced late last week that the two special election congressional candidates who filed petitions to earn a ballot position have both officially qualified. Former state Rep. Becky Edwards and ex-Republican National Committeeman Bruce Hough both successfully submitted at least 7,000 petition signatures.

The pair will now join congressional legal counsel Celeste Maloy in a Sept. 5 special Republican primary election. Maloy prevailed in the pre-primary party convention. Doing so gave her an automatic ballot slot in the nomination campaign along with the official Republican Party endorsement. The last time Utah hosted a special election – 2017 in the 3rd Congressional District – the eventual primary winner, then-Provo Mayor John Curtis, did not win the convention. Therefore, it appears we may see a free-for-all campaign for the party nomination. The winner will face state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D-Cottonwood Heights) in the Nov. 21 special general election. The Republican nominee will be favored in a seat the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates as R+23. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington) is resigning the seat on Sept. 15 due to family considerations.

Governor

New Hampshire: Manchester Mayor to Run Statewide — Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig (D), who already announced that she will not seek re-election to her current position but gave broad hints that she would enter the 2024 governor’s campaign, formally announced her intention to run statewide late last week.

With Gov. Chris Sununu (R) sending clear signals that he is unlikely to run for a fifth two-year term, it is very likely that Craig will be competing for an open seat. There will be a Democratic primary, however. Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington announced her gubernatorial campaign in early June.

The Executive Council, unique to New Hampshire, is an elected five-member panel from districts to serve as a check on gubernatorial power. A majority of the Executive Council can veto state contracts and nominations. The Council also has the power to issue pardons. Because Gov. Sununu says he will make a formal decision about whether to run again later this summer, no Republicans have yet come forward as potential gubernatorial candidates.

Hill Harper Announces for Senate; Nevada’s Brown Will Run for Senate; Sen. Ted Cruz Picks Up Challenger; Jockeying in Alaska for House Seat

By Jim Ellis — Thursday, July 13, 2023

Senate

Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs

Michigan: Actor Announces for Senate — As expected, actor Frank Eugene “Hill” Harper (D), one of the stars of the “CSI: NY” and “The Good Doctor” programs, announced that he will compete in the open Michigan US Senate primary. He becomes the fourth major candidate, and third African American, in the Democratic primary. He joins US Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Lansing), Michigan State Board of Education president Pamela Pugh, and former state Rep. Leslie Love.

The crowded field likely plays well for the perceived leader, Rep. Slotkin. This primary will take a long while to unfold, however. The Michigan primary won’t occur until Aug. 6, 2024, and its competitiveness could tamp down the Democrats’ advantage in the general election. Though the party primary may well be more eventful considering Harper’s entry, Rep. Slotkin must still be rated as the favorite for the party nomination and to win the seat in the November election. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring after serving what will be four full terms.

Nevada: Republicans Score Candidate Prospect — In another move that has been expected for several months, disabled Afghan War veteran and 2022 Senate candidate Sam Brown (R) announced he will return to again compete in a Nevada US Senate race. This time, he hopes to capture the Republican nomination and challenge first-term Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen.

In ’22, Brown lost the party primary to former Attorney General Adam Laxalt, 56-34 percent, but raised an impressive $4 million-plus for his effort. Laxalt would then lose the general election to Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by fewer than 18,000 votes from more than 1 million ballots cast. Now, it appears that Brown has the inside track for the party nomination and would be an interesting candidate in the general election. A strong Brown candidacy could elevate Nevada into top-tier campaign status.

Texas: State Senator Enters Battle to Challenge Sen. Cruz — San Antonio area state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) announced Tuesday that he will enter the Texas Democratic primary, which will likely ignite a difficult nomination battle against US Rep. Colin Allred (D-Dallas) who announced his candidacy in early May. The eventual party nominee will then challenge two-term Sen. Ted Cruz (R) in the general election.

Sen. Gutierrez, who represents a legislative domain similar to that of US Rep. Tony Gonzales’ (R-San Antonio) congressional district in that it begins in the metro area and then stretches through most of west Texas toward El Paso, is a strong gun control advocate. Prior to defeating a Republican incumbent to win a Senate seat in 2020, Gutierrez had served six terms in the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Allred is reporting raising more than $6.2 million for his Senate effort after announcing his candidacy, but now will have to spend heavily just to win the party nomination in March. It is likely the beneficiary of what will be a hotly contested race between Allred and Gutierrez is Sen. Cruz. The Texas primary is scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

House

AK-AL: Nick Begich (R) Considering Another House Bid — Businessman Nick Begich III, whose grandfather was a Democratic congressman and uncle, Mark Begich, served as a Democratic US senator before losing to current Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, is again reportedly contemplating a run for the state’s at-large US House seat. He participated in the 2022 special and regular elections as a Republican, qualifying for the secondary election both times, but failing in Ranked Choice Voting.

Many observers believed he would be the strongest candidate against Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Bethel) who won both of those elections by outdueling Sarah Palin in the Ranked Choice rounds. Should Begich run in 2024, it is probable he would have a strong chance to end in the final round with Rep. Peltola. The at-large Alaska seat is now the most Republican congressional district in the country to send a Democrat to the US House.

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.