Alaska moderates see success in legislative primary results

Alaska moderates see success in legislative primary results

Published August 18, 2022
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For Fairbanks Democrat Sen. Scott Kawasaki, primary election night was a novel experience. This is his eighth election, but he’s never outperformed the leading Republican at a primary election and has always had to come from behind in November.

As long as absentee ballots are postmarked on or before Election Day, they can keep arriving into the Division of Elections until the end of August and be counted, but for now, Kawasaki is leading by 100 votes over his nearest challenger, conservative Republican Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly.

Matherly said he was very pleased and humbled by the preliminary primary election results. And he noted that Republican Alex Jafre, who is running in third place with 316 votes, may have split conservative voters.

Under Alaska’s new election system, the top four vote getters from each primary race advance to November’s ranked-choice general election, regardless of party affiliation. All but one legislative contest had fewer than five candidates, erasing some of the drama of a traditional primary. But some candidates said the primary amounted to a revealing opinion poll in their races.