Republican Sweeney plans to withdraw from Alaska House race

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Republican U.S. House candidate Tara Sweeney said Tuesday she plans to end her campaign, saying she does not see a path to victory or to raise the resources needed to be successful in the November general election.

Sweeney was positioned in fourth place after last week's U.S. House primary as elections officials continued to count ballots. But she was far behind the top finishers, Democrat Mary Peltola and Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich, who were already poised to advance to the November general election.

An elections process approved by voters in 2020 calls for the top four vote-getters in a primary to advance to the general election, in which ranked choice voting will be used.

Tiffany Montemayor, a spokesperson with the state Division of Elections, said if a candidate who advances from the primary withdraws 64 or more days before the general election, the fifth place candidate would advance instead.

“The Division will determine the candidates for the general election ballot after the primary results are certified and the September 5 withdrawal deadline,” she said by email.

Peltola, Palin and Begich also were the three candidates competing in last week's ranked choice special election that will determine who serves the remainder of the late U.S. Rep. Don Young's term, which ends early next year. The results of that election aren't expected until Aug. 31.

Sweeney finished fifth in the June special primary but did not qualify for the special election after the third place finisher, independent Al Gross, withdrew. Gross' name was not on the special election ballot but elections officials and the courts determined he withdrew too late for Sweeney's name to appear.

Sweeney announced shortly before the Aug. 16 special election that she had filed as a write-in candidate for that race.

Sweeney, in her statement Tuesday, said she would file paperwork to withdraw from the House race but did not say when. She did not say if she would endorse anyone.

Her campaign manager, Karina Waller, said Sweeney's statement would be the only one issued by the campaign Tuesday.

“This race is vitally important to Alaska’s future,” Sweeney said. “We must ensure the best representation possible is in place as Alaska’s only voice in the House of Representatives. I look forward to working with a true Alaskan willing to carry forward the legacy of Don Young while serving in Congress.”

Meanwhile, Democrat Pat Chesbro advanced to the November general election in Alaska's U.S. Senate race and Republican Charlie Pierce advanced in the race for governor after the Division of Elections released more vote totals Tuesday.

Chesbro, a retired educator, joins Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in advancing in the Senate race. The fourth spot remained to be called.

Pierce, mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, joins Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, independent former Gov. Bill Walker and Democrat Les Gara in advancing in the race for governor.