Alaska Congressional Election Attracts PredictIt Traders, Sarah Palin Leads, Santa Claus Sixth
Voting ended Saturday in Alaska’s special primary for its lone congressional seat in Washington. The early results show Sarah Palin will be one of four candidates to advance to the August election to fill the seat formerly held by the late US Rep. Don Young (R).
Palin has been the favorite to win the primary, which attracted 48 candidates – including Santa Claus – from across all parties. With nearly 109,000 ballots tabulated, Palin has 32,371 votes, or 29.8% of the vote. She held a 10.5% lead over second-place candidate Nick Begich III.
Since online trading market PredictIt started selling shares for the primary on May 31, Palin’s shares have not dipped below 71 cents. Initial vote tallies became public Saturday night, and shares for the former governor and Republican vice presidential candidate were trading at 99 cents as of Sunday afternoon.
Winning shareholders get $1 for each share.
Palin is the likely top vote-getter for the primary, although according to the Anchorage Daily News, the results may not be official for a couple of weeks, since the primary was done by mail. Ballots postmarked by Saturday would still be counted.
Run-Off Trading Neck and Neck
While Palin was the heavy favorite in the Alaska primary, the special run-off election is a different story.
As of Sunday afternoon, Begich, another Republican whose grandfather was a Democratic congressman representing the state 50 years ago, was trading slightly higher at 49 cents per share to Palin’s 48.
That market has seen more than 428,000 shares traded. That’s more than eight times the size of the primary market. Traders exchanged more than 13,500 shares on Saturday, according to PredictIt.
Others expected to make the four-candidate run-off include independent candidate Al Gross and Democrat Mary Peltola.
Santa Claus Needs a Miracle to Advance
One candidate not expected to make the final cut is the jolly old man himself, or at least someone who legally changed his name to Santa Claus in 2015.
Turns out this Santa Claus, according to his campaign website, is a two-term councilman and the current mayor pro tem in the Alaskan city of North Pole – yes, you read that right. This North Pole is located just southeast of Fairbanks.
Santa Claus is an independent, progressive, democratic socialist, and “shares many of US Senator Bernie Sanders’s positions,” his campaign website stated. “He is a long-time advocate for child health, safety, and welfare.”
Other stances taken by Claus include endorsing Medicare for all and supporting the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, which seeks to reconcile federal laws with state laws that allow for recreational or medicinal marijuana usage.
While Claus openly campaigned for the congressional seat, he said that he would not accept or seek out contributions. There’s no indication of whether he would accept letters and wish lists from kids.
Through the results posted Saturday night, Claus had received 4,864 votes, or nearly 4.5%. That put him in sixth place, and less than 900 votes behind Tara Sweeney, who had 5.3% of the vote.
Peltola, currently in fourth place, had 8,101, or 7.5%, through Saturday night.
PredictIt offers a market on whether Claus would finish in the top four. While shares that he would advance traded for as much as 28 cents on Friday, they cratered to a penny by Sunday.
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