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Sarah Palin to advance to Alaska special House race in August

Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin leads a field of four candidates projected to advance to Alaska's special House election in August. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin leads a field of four candidates projected to advance to Alaska's special House election in August. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

June 12 (UPI) -- Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is among a group of candidates projected to advance to Alaska's four-person special House race in August.

Palin, launching her first political campaign in the state since resigning as Alaska governor in 2009, has garnered 30% of the vote. Republican Nick Begich III, the grandson of former Democratic Rep. Nick Begich was second with 19% of the vote and nonpartisan Al Gross, a surgeon who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate as an independent in 2020, was third with 12%.

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It remained unclear Sunday who the fourth candidate to advance to August's special race would be with 108,981 of the nearly 140,000 of the votes counted in the election that was conducted through mail-in voting.

Democratic former State Rep. Mary Peltola was in fourth place as of Sunday morning with 7% of the vote, trailed by Republican Alaska Native leader Tara Sweeney with 5%, independent Santa Claus -- born Thomas O'Connor -- at 4.5% and energy lawyer Jeff Lowenfels with 4%.

Final results of the election could still be days away as election officials will accept ballots up to 10 days after election day if they are postmarked by June 11.

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The vote marked the state's first use of open primaries and ranked-choice voting, adopted through a ballot measure in 2020.

In August, voters will rank the four remaining candidates in order of preference.

If a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, they will win the race, if no candidate gets a majority the candidate who receives the least votes is eliminated. This process continues until one candidate wins a majority or until two candidates are left.

The winner of the election will serve out the remainder of Republican Alaska Rep. Don Young's term after he died at the age of 88 in March. He had served since 1973.

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