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May 19, 2022

Welcome to our politics newsletter!

I’m Liz Ruskin and I’ll be your host for this weekly endeavor. 

As the name Alaska At-Large suggests, we’ll focus on the statewide races on the ballot this year. At the moment I’m consumed with the special election for U.S. House.

A race with 48 contenders is a wild way to test Alaska’s new election system, which starts with a pick-one primary and ends with a ranked choice voting general election. The first story below is about the angst among Democrats and liberals that none of their candidates will make it through the open primary.

The angst, I think, is a byproduct of the new way we’re picking our candidates. In our traditional election system, Democrats (like all established parties) had a reserved spot on the general ballot. Now they don’t. We've got candidates of all parties elbowing each other to finish in the top four so they can advance to the general.

Lefties need not despair just yet. Every political analyst and numbers-cruncher I talk to says a primary shutout is not likely. 

But no one really knows, right? We’ve never done this before. It’s one of the reasons this is just a fascinating time to observe Alaska politics.

Another story I’ve highlighted is by Nat Herz at the Anchorage Daily News, about the wealth disparity among the candidates. So many gems in there could be their own story.

It references Republican Nick Begich III’s stake in a “family publishing house.” That’s the business his father founded, EarthPulse Press. It publishes Nick II’s conspiracy accounts about the HAARP antenna farm in Gakona, which the author says can control minds. You might think there’s a limited audience for such exotic material, but, as we’ve previously reported, Nick III disclosed that he earned between $100,000 and $1 million last year from his 17% stake in the publishing business. Who knew? The personal financial disclosures candidates have to file are a revelation. 


A bit about me: I’m normally the Washington, D.C. correspondent for Alaska Public Media, but for election season I’ve come back to Anchorage. I grew up here and have an old house downtown that I’m smitten with. It feels great to be home, especially in time to plant flowers and tend my lawn.

Wondering why you received this newsletter? It may be because you subscribed directly (thank you!) or it may be because you signed up for one of our other newsletters and we thought you’d like this one, too. To keep getting Alaska At-Large, make sure you’re signed up here. I hope you stick around.

Please send me your suggestions, story ideas and news tips.

- Liz Ruskin

Follow me on twitter: @lruskin

To keep getting our Alaska At-Large newsletter each Thursday subscribe here.

Recent election coverage:


Split: Alaska liberals fear a shutout in 48-way race for US House

There’s an angst gnawing at Alaska’s liberals. They fear a split will put four conservatives on the ballot.



They voted for her once, but even among these Trump fans in the Mat-Su, Palin’s star has dimmed

As Sarah Palin's celebrity grew nationally, her image at home suffered.



Some of Alaska’s US House candidates are millionaires. Another is paying off student loans.

Newly filed financial disclosures reveal huge wealth disparities that are shaping the special election for the state’s sole U.S. House seat.



If you enjoy our coverage of the 2022 elections, please consider

donating to continue to make journalism like this possible

at Alaska Public Media. Click here to give.

Meet the US House candidates:


To help Alaskans sort through their dozens of choices in the upcoming special election, we asked each candidate why they’re running and why voters should pick them.


Read more election coverage at

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