Alaskan Independent candidate for House of Representatives Al Gross has chosen to withdraw from the race and has encouraged voters to vote for one of the two Indigenous Alaskan women who are running for the seat—Democrat Mary Peltola, Yup’ik, and Republican Tara Sweeney, Inupiaq.
He said in a press statement:
"It is with great hope for Alaska’s future that I have decided to end my campaign to become our state’s next Congressman."
"There are two outstanding Alaska Native women in this race who would both serve our state well, and I encourage my supporters to stay engaged and consider giving their first-place vote to whichever of them best matches their own values."
"Thank you for your support."
Gross didn't come right out and say that his withdrawal was an attempt to prevent former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin from being elected but his timing and words encouraging voters to support other candidates indicate it was likely a factor.
In the time since Gross' decision to drop out of the race, Alaskan elections officials have ruled Sweeney cannot be listed on the ranked choice ballot for the special election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Representative Don Young—who served as Representative for Alaska's at-large district for 49 years, because she came fifth in the vote count.
Sweeney has said that she will not challenge the election officials' decision.
Karina Waller, manager of Sweeney's campaign, said in an interview:
"We made the decision that this is not a candidate fight."
"This is on the ranked choice voting procedures that the voters approved, and ... this is not our fight."
Mary Peltola seems to have a lot of support on Twitter:
Some Twitter users praised Gross for his decision.
While others were concerned about the effects of his dropping out on the state's new election system.
Many voiced concern that Sarah Palin might soon become a member of Congress.
Alaska's special election will take place August 16, 2022.