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Sarah Palin Poised for Comeback as She Leads Race for Alaska’s House Seat

A native of New York, Alina has a Bachelors degree in Corporate Communications from Baruch College and writes about human rights' related issues, politics, tech and society.
Published: June 14, 2022
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks during the "Climate Hustle" panel discussion at the Rayburn House Office Building on April 14, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Image: Kris Connor via Getty Images)

Former Alaska governor and Republican ex-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin may see a successful re-entry to politics, having finished in the top four of a 48-person special primary election held on June 11. 

Early projections have placed Palin, 58, as the favorite to win the state’s only U.S. House seat as she advances to August’s general election to potentially fill the position held by the late Rep. Don Young for the past 49 years. Young died in March at age 88. 

Palin became a household name when she joined John McCain as his running mate in the 2008 general election. She then quit her position as governor of Alaska, midway through her only term in 2009, and had largely stayed out of the political scene until now. 

Taking the lead

Initial results from Alaska’s Division of Elections have counted 108,729 votes out of 139,000 ballots already received. Early results showed support for Palin, who held 29.8 percent of the votes counted so far; fellow Republican Nick Begich III had 19.3 percent; independent Al Gross had 12.5 percent; Democrat Mary Peltola with 7.5 percent; and Republican Tara Sweeney had 5.3 percent. 

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In sixth place, a candidate from the North Pole running under the name Santa Claus — a self-described “independent, progressive, democratic socialist” — accounted for the last 4.5 percent of the votes, with a total of 4,864. 

Following the primary, which narrows the initial 48 candidates to four, a general election slated for Aug. 16 will decide who becomes Alaska’s representative in Washington D.C. 

Palin’s nearly 30-percent lead in the initial showing comes in spite of an April poll suggesting that the majority of Alaskans had less-than-positive views of their former governor. 

That poll, conducted by the Remington Research Strategies for Must Read Alaska, found that only 37 percent of likely voters had a favorable view of Palin, while 51 percent viewed her negatively.

‘America is at a tipping point’

Speaking with the Anchorage Daily News, Palin said she was looking forward to “fixing this country by responsibly developing Alaska’s God-given resources,” and highlighted conservative talking points related to gun rights, abortion and a “desire for a smaller government.”

“Rep. Don Young left very big shoes to fill and you can’t send a rookie player to a varsity championship and expect results,” she said, adding that her experience advocating for Alaska on the “national and international stage” will be an invaluable skill set for the House position. 

“America is at a tipping point,” she said, underscoring that she sees the country on a downward trajectory. “As we’ve watched the far left destroy the country, I knew I had to step up and fight for America’s solvency and sovereignty,” Palin said. 

Palin — described in a June 12 New York Times report as having “tapped into a similar anti-establishment, anti-news media vein of the Republican Party” as previous U.S. President Donald Trump — received his endorsement to run for Alaska’s House seat this April. 

Palin’s positions

In a statement released on June 11 after Palin emerged as the state’s lead contender, her campaign echoed her sentiment about America being on the precipice.

“We need to focus on policies that will make life better for the regular Joes out there who can’t afford to fill their gas tanks and are struggling to feed their families because of Joe Biden’s hyperinflation,” the statement quoted Palin as saying. 

In addition to “responsible development” of Alaska’s natural resources, Palin says she will also focus on “getting runaway government spending under control, protecting human life, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, and restoring respect for individual liberty and the Constitution.”

A CNN report says that Palin will likely be joined in the general election by fellow Republican candidate Nick Begich III — the grandson of former Democratic Rep. Nick Begich, whose plane disappeared in 1972 over Anchorage as he flew with then-House Majority Leader Thomas Hale Boggs (D-La). 

Boggs was in Alaska at the time to campaign for Begich’s re-election. The downed Cessna 310C plane was never found. 

Also predicted to join in the special election will be independent Al Gross — an orthopedic surgeon who previously lost a Senate race in 2020 — and said he would caucus with Democrats if he ran again.