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Midterm elections roundup: Primary results and a special waiting game

NBC News logo NBC News 8/17/2022 Bridget Bowman and Ben Kamisar

The results in most of last night’s top contests are in, except for Alaska’s special election to serve the rest of the late GOP Rep. Don Young’s term, thanks to the state’s new ranked-choice voting system. 

NBC’s Decision Desk projects that none of the candidates, who included former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich and Democrat Mary Peltola will win a majority of votes in the first round, meaning ranked choice voting will be used to determine the winner later this month. 

But there are clear results in other races we were watching last night. Remember in Alaska, the Top 4 vote-getters in the primary advance to the general election. 

Here are the latest vote counts from NBC’s Decision Desk:

Alaska Senate: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (44%) and her Trump-backed GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka (40%), will advance to November, along with Democrat Pat Chesbro (6%). With 67% of the expected vote in, it’s still not clear who will take the fourth spot.

Alaska Governor: GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy (42%) led the rest of the field by a sizable margin. Dunleavy, and will advance to the general election, along with former Democratic state Rep. Les Gara (22%) and former independent Gov. Bill Walker (22%). The fourth candidate is still unclear. 

Wyoming Secretary of State: State Rep. Chuck Gray (49%), who initially challenged Cheney but switched to the Secretary of State’s race and had Trump’s endorsement, won the GOP primary. He has previously said the 2020 election was stolen.

Alaska's At-large District special election: Just 67% of the expected vote is in so far, but Peltola (38%), the Democrat, led the field, Palin (32%) and Begich (29%) not far behind. The winner will be determined by ranked-choice voting later this month.

Alaska's At-large District: The candidates competing for a full term in Congress are set, though. In the primary so far, Peltola (35%) again led the field, followed by Palin (31%), and Begich (27%). Republican Tara Sweeney (4%), an Alaska Native woman who served as assistant secretary for Indian Affairs and was Young’s campaign co-chair, nabbed the fourth spot. 

Wyoming's At-large District: With 99% of the expected vote in, Hageman (66%) easily defeated Cheney (29%).

Hageman’s victory remarks, per NBC’s Megan Lebowitz: “Right now we have the most dangerous and the most destructive administration in U.S. history. President Biden and the radical Democrats are solely responsible for record-breaking inflation, for record-breaking illegal immigration, record-breaking human trafficking, record-breaking drug running and record-breaking energy costs. The wreckage, the wreckage that we are seeing is not by accident, but by design.”

Elsewhere on the campaign trail…

Alaska Senate: Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told NBC’s Ali Vitali Tuesday, before the polls closed, that if the GOP decides to “be the party of one individual,” then it will “leave behind a lot of Americans.” 

Iowa Senate: Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley booked about $1.8 million in ad buys starting in late September, per AdImpact. 

Pennsylvania Senate: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is out with a new ad where he says Washington insiders are “lying about me to take the heat off themselves.” 

Rhode Island governor: Democratic Gov. Daniel McKee narrowly leads a new Roger Williams/WPRI 12 poll ahead of his gubernatorial primary with 28 percent, with Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea in second with 25 percent and former CVS executive Helena Foulkes with 14 percent. 

Arizona Secretary of State: CNN reports that Republican Secretary of State nominee Mark Finchem had a list on his Pinterest account called a “Treason Watch List” as well as “pins of photos of Barack Obama alongside imagery of a man clad in Nazi attire making a Nazi salute.” 

Indiana's 2nd District: Dean Swihart, the husband of the late Rep. Jackie Walorski, is endorsing former Walorski staffer Rudy Yakym to succeed her

New York's 12th District: Before her member-on-member primary, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney criticized her top rival, Rep. Jerry Nadler, to NY1 by floating the prospect Nadler won’t serve his full term. (Nadler has pledged to serve the full two-year term.)

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