Politics

Draaaa-maaaaa! Todd Palin’s Family Is Supporting the Republican Running Against Sarah Palin for Congress.

Side by side head shots of Palin, who is wearing a red blazer, and Begich, who is wearing a gray coat over a blue shirt.
Palin and Nick Begich, who is supported by other Palins. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images and Ash Adams for The Washington Post via Getty Images.

Polls closed Tuesday night in the special election to replace the late Alaska Rep. Don Young in the House, and Sarah Palin’s comeback effort to win a seat in Congress is in decent shape. With 70 percent of votes reported, she’s leading the other Republican in the race—Nick Begich—32 percent to 29.

This suggests Palin has a shot of passing Democrat Mary Peltola, who’s currently leading all candidates at 38 percent, when the state’s ranked-choice runoff votes are tabulated, a process which starts Aug. 31. (Elections officials aren’t beginning immediately because they’re waiting for mail ballots from overseas to arrive. Confusingly, Peltola/Palin/Begich are also competing in the regularly scheduled House election in November—the winner of the special election runoff will only serve until January.)

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Begich isn’t out of it either, though. A software entrepreneur and scion of a family that’s been involved in state politics for many years, he’s running as a conservative, but a slightly less bombastic one than Palin. Relatedly, keen-eyed local observers may have noticed something unusual about the venue at which he spoke to supporters and a number of national reporters on election night: It was the Wasilla home of Jim and Faye Palin, who are respectively the father and stepmother of Sarah Palin’s ex-husband Todd.

Draaaaaaaaamaaaaa!!!!!!

Well, sort of. As Insider notes, Faye Palin is a registered independent, and she’s been involved in local politics before; she said in 2008 that she was still considering voting for Barack Obama even after her then-daughter-in-law was chosen as John McCain’s running mate. (The elder Palin is known to be pro-choice.) Her stepson and Sarah Palin have been divorced for more than two years, and Todd has not commented on the divorce at any length publicly or made any salacious allegations against Sarah via the legal system. Jim, Faye, and Begich also all share a prior connection to Alaskan utility providers MTA and MAE.

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That said, Begich has sprinkled a little bit of spice in the race …

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… but perhaps not as much as one might expect given some of the more colorful incidents in the Palin family’s past. (Examples include Todd Palin Crashes a Snowmobile, Bristol Palin Gets Involved With a Sexy Local Ne’er-Do-Well, and Sarah Palin Spontaneously Quits Her Job as Governor Because She Is Tired of Responding to Ethics Complaints.) The highlight of Must Read Alaska’s writeup of the Begich party is its note about Faye Palin serving “moose sausage” to guests. (Not surprisingly, wildlife is an issue in the race: Peltola, the Democrat, is described in Alaska Public Media’s writeup of results as “a salmon advocate.” As in, that is her listed profession.)

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For her part, Sarah Palin told the New York Post in April that she began dating former NHL hockey player Ron Duguay when she was in New York City for the trial of her libel case against the New York Times. (A jury ruled against Palin in the matter, but she could potentially pursue it further in appeals court.) According to the Post, she appreciates that Duguay respects the United States’ “freedoms and private enterprise” despite his French Canadian origins. Todd Palin, she says, has been spending a lot of time in “the lower 48” with a romantic partner of his own. Everybody wins, except, for now, Nick Begich. And the moose.

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