Wyoming and Alaska held primaries yesterday. Pollsters in Wyoming had the direction of the Liz Cheney-Harriet Hageman race for Wyoming’s at-large House seat right. Cheney was going to lose. But was she going to lose by nearly 40 points? Pollsters vastly understated the magnitude of Cheney’s pending loss. She was not merely repudiated. She was crushed. Hageman beat her by more than a 2-1 margin (below, via RealClearPolitics).
Cheney was planning for her political future as anti-Trump hero long before the polls closed. She has millions of dollars stashed in a PAC that she will put to some use. However, she seems to me a woman without a party (assuming she doesn’t want to switch parties). She is on a mission that might profitably be continued as a talking head on CNN or MSNBC.
I previewed Alaska’s open Senate primary here yesterday. Only 67 percent of the votes have been tabulated so far, so the outcome remains “murky,” but perhaps a little less “murky” than I anticipated. Incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski was well served by the open “nonpartisan” primary. She appears to be well-positioned to win the four-way ranked-choice election that is to be decided in November. Kelly Tshibaka is the preferable candidate by far. We encourage our friends in Alaska to rank Tshibaka vote for Tshibaka and leave the other choices blank. When the shouting is over Alaska’s open primary/ranked-choice system should be relegated to the ashcan.
Alaska also held a special election to fill Alaska’s the at-large seat left vacant by the death of Don Young. The special election is subject to the ranked-choice arrangement. No candidate appears to have cleared the 50 percent plus 1 first-choice bar for election. Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich III are running second and third, respectively, to Democrat Mary Sattler Peltola in first-choice votes that have been tabulated so far.
According to the Anchorage Daily News story, “the winner won’t be known until the last ballots are counted later this month.” The story adds: “With two weeks to go until ballot counting is complete in the special election, the race will be determined by the number of voters who ranked more than one candidate in the state’s first ranked choice vote.”
In the votes counted so far, Peltola, Palin and Begich are also running in that order in the open primary for the seat that will be on the ballot in November. They will all be on the ballot and subject to the ranked-choice arrangement. What a rotten system.