Dem 50
image description
Ties 1
GOP 49
image description

Murkowski Leads in First Round

Republicans, particularly Trumpy Republicans, don't like ranked choice voting because in races where a Republican is leading on the first round that candidate can ultimately lose as ballots are redistributed on subsequent rounds. They loudly complained about the Alaska special election for the House, which used RCV, because although Sarah Palin (R) got more first-place votes than anyone else, in the end, she lost.

The Trumpists were all set to whine about the Alaska Senate race between Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Trump endorsee Kelly Tshibaka (R). But then something happened. Murkowski pulled ahead of Tshibaka in the first round. With 98% of the votes now counted, Murkowski now leads by 0.4 points. If she holds that lead as the dog sleds haul in the last outstanding votes, then the Trumpists will have to find something else to whine about because if the race was simply most-votes-wins, then it would be over with Murkowski the winner. However, it is not over because Murkowski is far short of 50%, so there will be a second round in which Buzz Kelley (R) will be eliminated. But no matter how that goes, neither candidate will hit 50%, so a third round will be needed, in which Democrat Patricia Chesbro's votes will be redistributed. It is expected that roughly 100% of them will go to Murkowski and she will win.

The significance of this development is not that is will change the election result. Murkowski was always the favorite and still is. But what it does is make it impossible for Trumpists to blame their loss on the system. With or without RCV, they (probably) lost because the non-Trumpist got more votes. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates