In closely watched Alaska U.S. Senate and House races, outcomes will take 2 weeks to be determined(2 more weeks, kek)
November 10, 2022
The nation's eyes are on the U.S. Senate and House races in Alaska, but anyone wanting to know the outcome will have to be patient.
Defending their seats are two high-profile women. In the Senate is Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump – and who has been the target of ire from Trump and from hard-liner conservatives. She trailed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka by a small margin, 42.7% to 44.4% of the first 216,000 votes counted. But Murkowski was narrowing that gap and was in position to surpass Tshibaka later in November, when the ranked choice tabulation is expected to transfer most of Democrat Pat Chesbro's votes to Murkowski. Chesbro had 9.5% of the votes through early Wednesday.
In the House is Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola, who won an August special election to fill out the remainder of the late Don Young's term, becoming the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress. She led Republican opponent Sarah Palin and Nick Begich in the vote count early Wednesday, with 47.1% to 26.6% for Palin, 24.3% for Begich and 1.7% for Libertarian Chris Bye.
As is common in Alaska elections, results from rural Alaska regions – strongholds for both Murkowski and Peltola – will be slow to arrive. And under the state's new ranked-choice voting system, full results will not be tabulated by the Alaska Division of Elections until Nov. 23.
Despite the necessary wait, Murkowski said before results were announced that she felt good about her reelection prospects.
"I am extraordinarily confident with our campaign and where we are, in a winning position, and I fully expect that Alaskans will speak loudly, they will speak clearly about the values that they endorse. And I'm feeling extraordinarily optimistic about Alaskans returning me to the United States Senate," she said at a news conference held at her Anchorage campaign headquarters.
She was also optimistic about what she said is a positive example that Alaska, with its new ranked choice voting system and its history of cross-party coalitions, is setting for the nation.
"I hope that others are looking at what Alaska has just gone through, what we're finishing up now, with a recognition that things do not have to be so polarized," said the senator, who is supporting Democrat Peltola, a longtime friend and ally. "I'm hoping that Alaska once again opens the eyes of people around the country about, perhaps, a better process."
Murkowski said Alaska taught the nation a similar election in 2010, when she won as a write-in candidate.
Tshibaka, Murkowski's Trump-endorsed Republican challenger, said she also feels "excited and confident" about the race outcome, even though it will not be known for weeks.
"I'm excited because a couple of nights ago a guy told me he's voting for me because he doesn't want to be a pawn in the D.C. game anymore," said Tshibaka, who was with supporters waving signs Tuesday afternoon at the busy Midtown Anchorage intersection of the Seward Highway and Northern Lights Boulevard.
"I think we're going to get the ultimate checkmate this election and it'll be the first time in a while that the pawns, if you will, the regular people, actually get to decide for themselves, despite all the influences and all the dark money and all the power that came in to try and buy our Senate seat, I think we the people still run our country. And that's what's going to happen in this election," she said.