As far as we were concerned, the results in Alaska were basically a done deal at least a week ago. But the AP and other outlets refused to make the call(s). Is there a mathematical reason for that? Or are they just not as familiar and comfortable with Ranked Choice Voting? In any event, it's all over now. With 100% of the votes received and processed, the various media are now "projecting" winners. If the process is complete and there aren't any more ballots, it sounds more like "reporting" the winners to us, but what do we know?
The new governor of Alaska is the same as the old governor, as Mike Dunleavy (R) has won reelection with 50.3% of the vote, easily outpacing Democrat Les Gara (24.2%) and nonpartisan candidate Bill Walker (20.7%), along with a bunch of minor candidates. You might wonder why the vote is split multiple ways when RCV is supposed to produce a final, head-to-head round. And the answer is that they don't bother processing the ballots when the result isn't going to change. When one candidate is over 50% on round 1, he or she wins and it's over.
In the other big races, on the other hand, it was necessary to play the process all the way out. And that being done, we now know Alaska will also be keeping its senior senator. As we and everyone else guessed, pretty much all of the people who voted Democratic in the first round of that contest had Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) as their second-place choice. So, the Senator ended up beating Donald Trump's handpicked candidate, Kelly Tshibaka (R), pretty handily—54% to 46%.
And continuing the "let's not change sled dogs mid-mush" theme, Alaskans also decided to keep their at-large representative. Rep. Mary Peltola (D) cruised to victory by about the same margin as Murkowski, 55%-45%. Clearly, she has real staying power. As much staying power as her predecessor Don Young? Maybe, maybe not. Check back with us in 2071, which is how long she'd have to hang around to equal his tenure. The last candidate standing against Peltola was, of course, Sarah Palin. As a devout Christian, Palin believes in eternal life. And maybe she'll get it. But even if she does, that probably still won't be enough time for her to win another election, because voters just aren't buying what she's selling anymore.
With Alaska in the books, there are just two House races that are uncalled: The Lauren Boebert (R)-Adam Frisch (D) contest in Colorado (which Frisch has already conceded) and the John Duarte (R)-Kevin Gray (R) tilt out in California. In both cases, the Republican leads by less than 0.5% with 95%+ of the vote reported. And in both cases, a recount is likely coming down the pike. (Z)