Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin leads the field of 48 candidates in a special primary for the state’s sole congressional seat, according to a preliminary vote count on Sunday.
The top four candidates in the race will advance to the special election in August. Ms. Palin has won nearly 30 percent of the vote so far; Nick Begich, the scion of an Alaskan political dynasty, has 19.3 percent; Al Gross, a surgeon and commercial fisherman who ran for Senate two years ago, has nearly 12.5 percent; and Mary S. Peltola, a former state legislator, has about 7.5 percent.
Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich are Republicans, Mr. Gross is not affiliated with any party, and Ms. Peltola is a Democrat.
The special election was prompted by the death in March of Representative Don Young, a Republican who was first elected to the House in 1973. The election is to fill the remainder of Mr Young’s current term.
The special election will be held on August 16, which is also the day of Alaska’s primary game for the 2023-2025 House term. So, voters will see the names of some candidates twice on one ballot: once to determine the outcome of the special election and once to elect candidates for the fall general election for the full two-year term.
For Ms. Palin, the race is a political comeback. As Senator John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential race, Ms. Palin lost to a Democratic ticket that Joseph R. Biden Jr. political expert. Ms. Palin had tapped a similar Republican Party anti-establishment, anti-news media vein that later cemented Donald J. Trump’s unexpected rise to the White House in 2016.
The results announced on Sunday are preliminary and could change in the coming weeks as more ballots are processed and counted.
Alaska is a sparsely populated state, with two US senators but only one representative in the House. That small population is spread across an area larger than Texas, California, and Montana combined, with about 82 percent of the state’s communities not served by roads.
Counting the ballots can be a challenge.
Every voter in the state was given a ballot, starting April 27, and the ballots were due back on Saturday. In about two weeks, at least three more rounds of preliminary results will be announced by state officials before the results are certified.
Alyce McFadden reporting contributed.