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Joaqlin Estus
ICT

1 p.m. AK, Aug. 17

In the special election to fill the remaining months in the late Don Young’s seat in Congress, Mary Peltola, Yup’ik and a Democrat, shows a lead of 6 points over Sarah Palin and almost 10 points over Nick Begich, both Republicans. That’s with 96 percent of the vote in.

Peltola has 58,614, or 38.05 percent of the votes. Sarah Palin has 49,190, or 31.93 percent, and Begich has 43,968, or 28.54 percent of the votes cast, as of 11:50 a.m. AK time.

In the primary general election for the House 2-year term, Peltola has 54,865, or 35.18 percent of the vote, followed by Palin with 48,609, or 31.17 percent, Begich at 41,815 26.81 percent and former Department of Interior Special Assistant for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, Inupiaq, Republican, with 5,744 or 3.68 percent of the vote

In the primary general election for the U.S. Senate, Lisa Murkowski, Republican, held her lead with 68,603, or 44.14 percent of the votes cast in her favor. Following her is Kelly Tshibaka, Republican, with 61,972, or 39.87 percent of the vote. Third is Patricia Chesbro, Democrat, with 9,612 or 6.18 percent of the votes.

Earlier story:

A Yup’ik woman is in the lead to fill out the term in Alaska’s sole Congressional seat with 80 percent of the vote counted.

Votes are being tallied in both a special election and a primary in a regularly scheduled election in Alaska. The special election is to fill the remaining months of the late Congressman Don Young’s term.

Mary Peltola, who is Yup’ik, is in the lead in the special election. Peltola, a Democrat and former state legislator, has 38.38 percent of the votes. Former Republican governor and Trump-backed candidate Sarah Palin has 32.59 percent. Republican businessman Nick Begich has 29.03 percent.

However, ranked choice voting could put either Palin or Begich in the lead once second choice votes are counted. As FiveThirtyEight news election analyst Nathanel Rakich commented, second choice votes may favor Peltola.

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“With only a few points separating Palin and Begich for second place, that’ll be a really important race to watch as more votes are counted in the coming days, Rakich said. If Palin finishes third, she’ll be eliminated and her support will probably overwhelmingly go to Begich, likely leading to his election. But if Begich finishes third, his support will probably split more evenly between Palin and Peltola, possibly pushing Peltola over 50 percent if she is close enough.”

Second choice votes get counted if no one candidate takes a majority, or 50 percent plus one, of the votes.

(Related: Organizers, state face hurdles to getting out Alaska Native vote - Indian Country Today)

(Related: Will the Native vote count in Alaska? - Indian Country Today)

The primary in the general election will decide who fills the next two-year term of Alaska’s sole Congressional seat. The Associated Press projects Peltola (35.05 percent), Palin (31.4 percent), and Begich (26.92 percent) will move forward to the general election in that race. Former Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, Inupiaq, took 3.57 percent of that vote.

Final results won’t be decided for two weeks, as mail-in ballots get counted.

Former president Donald Trump had backed Palin in the House race. His favorite in the U.S. Senate race is also in second place, after Republican Lisa Murkowski.

Murkowski took home 43.73 percent of the votes against Trump-backed candidate Kelly Tshibaka, who got 40.39 percent of the votes. Trump opposed Murkowski as one of the 10 Republican senators who voted for his second impeachment.

Numbers are per the Division of Elections count at 1:55 a.m. Aug. 17.

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