Alaska voted, oddly

Alaska shakes the game up with a convoluted election process — it is a “top four” primary and “ranked choice instant run-off” special election general. Now, thanks to Washington and California, we have the practical nuances of top two primaries. Maine and San Francisco are giving us the practical nuances of Ranked choice instant run-off.

It strikes me that for the third party gadfly messenger, a top two basically shuts you out where a top four gives you one decent in — at least to canvass and campaign for a while — and a spot you have to at least prove yourself somewhat electorally.

Sarah Palin leads — a political comeback after a bizarre gubernatorial stint years’ back. Nick Begich follows, the Republican successor to a long time statewide Democratic Party dynasty — a good sense of partisan head winds I suppose. Al Gross follows, the “independent” Senate candidate who the state Democratic party threw their support behind. This is a lot of name recognition pushing the top three to the top. Behind them was the race for the fourth slot. It appears that the actual Democrat, Mary Peltola, made her way to the slot — a slight surprise — in an instant runoff situation Al Gross recall beating a campaign.

The big news is that Santa Claus, an elected politician — on the city council for the North Pole, Alaska — and one if them “Democratic Socialists” who pundits suspected may make it off of name recognition — is saddled to sixth place. I suspect the electorate thought it bad form — shady gimmicky name changer.

Most likely we are about to see Palin back — kick her around, I guess. It is as though she never left — popping up here and there to campaign for this and that candidate, and singing on a reality tv contest. I suppose the one thing on ranked choice is that if the majority Republicans do split a ticket, the minority Democrats will shift the third votes into Begich — but the splitting between Gross and Peltola adds that extra step which may not track a handful of votes fully through.

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