There's lots of intrigue in Alaska's special election, where former Gov. Sarah Palin and fellow Republican Nick Begich III are in close contention to advance to an instant runoff against Democrat Mary Peltola.

There's no more confusing House race in the country than Alaska, where two Republicans with famous names — former Gov. Sarah Palin and software businessman Nick Begich III are vying against Democrat Mary Peltola in an August 16 special election under the state's newly installed ranked-choice, instant-runoff voting rules. And by the way, a 22-way all-party primary for the full term is also playing out on the same ballot.

In the first round of voting on June 11, Palin finished first in the top-four jungle primary with 27%, Begich came in second with 19%, independent candidate Al Gross came in third with 13% and Peltola advanced in fourth with 10%. But days later, Gross dropped out of the August 16 runoff, throwing his support to Peltola. A state judge subsequently ruled that the fifth-place finisher, Republican Tara Sweeney, was ineligible to advance to the runoff.

Both parties'

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